NBA Finals Game 1 review: Reining in Steph Curry and a Celtics fourth quarter fight
The Boston Celtics stunned the Golden State Warriors in the fourth quarter of Game 1 of the NBA Finals – beating the favorites 40-16 at Chase Center on Friday to take a 0-1 road lead.
The Celtics were chasing a Warriors team making their sixth NBA Finals in eight years. Trailing by 12, they became the first team to overturn a double-digit lead early in the fourth quarter and claim a double-digit victory. The Celtics will face Game 2 again at Chase Center before the series heads to Boston for Games 3 and 4.
Curry’s Hot Start
One of the major criticisms of Steph Curry’s career has been his failure to win a Finals MVP award. His three titles came courtesy of Andre Iguodala winning the FMVP in 2015 and then Kevin Durant winning back-to-back honors. But on his return to the NBA Finals since 2019, Curry immediately seemed in the mood to shoot.
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When Curry is on the court, no three-point record is ever safe. In Game 1, the Warriors point guard dropped six three-pointers on the Celtics – an NBA Finals record. But most of those shots were open looks that had more to do with the Celtics’ defensive rotations not catching him effectively.
Steph and the @warriors are the best team in the NBA to beat the Switches… but the @celtics are the best switching defense in the NBA!#NBACourtOptix powered by Microsoft Azure breaks down this potential key to find out who wins the 🏆 pic.twitter.com/2MRTpWr128
—NBA (@NBA) June 3, 2022
An indication of how close this series is is how Boston has managed to overcome wave after wave of Curry’s long-rangers. At the end of the first quarter, the Celtics only led by four points.
Celtics keep pace
In the second quarter, the away team got their rotations back on track and managed to do a much better job defending Curry. The result – he went from 21 points in the first quarter to none in the second.
One of the key aspects of the game was the quality of Boston’s shooting on Friday. The Warriors’ defensive rotations meant that Jayson Tatum would often have the chance to return the ball to Al Horford or Marcus Smart on the perimeter.
Steph Curry’s record 34 PTS in Game 1 puts him in first place in our rankings and earns him the #NBAFantasy player of the night.
🏀 34 PTS, 5 REB, 5 AST, 3 STL, 7 3PM pic.twitter.com/4DdOvWosyC
— NBA Fantasy (@NBAFantasy) June 3, 2022
Most NBA teams would take a chance on an opposing team’s center taking a loosely contested three-point shot. But Horford continued to make them, as did Smart. Derrick White also poured in with some key three-pointers and the trio finished the game making 15 threes from 23 attempts.
“I felt like the guys kept finding me every time. Also, Derrick White hit some hard punches there as well,” Horford said in the post-match press conference. I was just getting the looks, knocking them back. That’s it.”
Back to the fourth trimester
Although the Warriors are constantly keeping the board going and managing their lead, Boston has had one last run in them. Down 12 points with the fourth quarter to come, Boston dug deep. They went 15-for-22 from the field – six-of-ten on two-point shots and 9-of-12 from behind the arc and wiped out the Warriors at both ends of the field. They scored 40 and held a Championship-caliber team to just 16 points in the final quarter to take the win.
—NBA (@NBA) June 3, 2022
It’s the fourth time in this playoffs that a team has dropped nine three-pointers in a quarter and all four have fallen to either the Celtics or the Warriors.
Whether it was Curry, Draymond Green or coach Steve Kerr, everyone agreed that it was a huge fourth quarter that changed everything in Game 1. answered all year, how we react in the playoffs after a loss,” Curry said in the postgame press conference.
“So learn a lot from that fourth quarter, obviously they shot a lot. It looked like they didn’t miss until the start of the fourth. When you have a team that just finds a bit of momentum like they did and they keep shooting, it’s hard to regain that momentum.
Game 2 is scheduled to take place on Monday, June 6 at Chase Center in San Francisco at 5:30 a.m. IST.