NBA Finals 2022 gives a backbreaking barrage of 3-pointers that leaves the opponent in helplessness and leaves them searching for answers from a higher power. Every time the ball splashes past the goal with no resistance from the rim, the bench players celebrate with deserved arrogance. A scoring run that has you examining the record books, unable to believe that something so terrible has ever happened.
That was supposed to be the story of the Golden State Warriors’ return to the top level of the basketball universe in the first-ever NBA Finals game at Chase Center.
Instead, the Boston Celtics embarked on an extraordinary fourth-quarter run, powered by lights-out shooting and pinpoint ball movement, to win Game 1 120-108 in San Francisco, suffocating what had been an electric sellout crowd.
Midway through the first quarter, Golden State’s unbelievable narrative was already being written. Stephen Curry was on an unstoppable tear that only he is capable of, going 6-for-8 from 3-point range en route to 21 points in the first half. With little over two minutes remaining in the second half, the Warriors used a trademark third-quarter run to turn a two-point halftime deficit into a 15-point lead.
Over the last eight seasons of Warriors basketball, a 38-point third quarter has been a knockout blow for many an unfortunate opponent. It would be an understatement to say Boston responded in the NBA’s 75-year history.
In the fourth quarter, the Celtics outscored Golden State 40-16, a feat made all the more remarkable by their 9-for-12 3-point shooting, which they rained down on the Bay Area and its fans. They made seven straight 3-pointers at one point, the latest one by Al Horford giving his team a six-point advantage that seemed insurmountable at the time due to the imbalance of momentum.
4 Takeaways from Celtics’ Shocking 2022 NBA Finals Game 1 Victory over Warriors
- The Celtics beat the Warriors
The typical roles were flipped, and the result came as a complete surprise: the Celtics hit 51% from deep and made seven 3s to start the fourth. Taking on the Warriors. In the face of Curry and Klay Thompson. This was a case of identity theft. The Warriors’ heads are still spinning from the turn of events. Ours, as well.
It’s probably unrealistic to expect the Celtics to shoot like that again, or even produce this much productivity from their role players as a group. However, they did exactly that in the Finals for a game that they stole. It usually takes one stolen game to win a championship.
Were the Celtics meant to fall and surrender, take their medicine, and lay it up to… inexperience in this game, against a Warriors squad that knows June basketball by name?
What you saw in the NBA Finals was the fierce response of a team that had previously performed under bright lights. A club that had just finished two seven-game series, had won a pair of elimination road games along the way and wasn’t afraid or concerned about “experience” in the Finals because, as coach Ime Udoka emphasized, this was simply another postseason game between the lines.
- It was not all bad for the Warriors
Curry, after all, is on a mission to capture his fourth championship and his first Finals MVP award. Wasn’t that clear from how he started the game and, to some extent, how he ended it?
Curry doesn’t have a long list of outstanding Finals performances, which is why he doesn’t have the MVP trophy. Curry scored 21 points in the first quarter as the Celtics used a drop coverage and went under screens for whatever reason, leaving Curry with open looks. This postseason, he was on track to finally get a 40-piece (he came six short, though).
- Tatum might comeback
However, if his playoff tendency holds, the ball will come back to him on Sunday.
That is something that the Warriors should be concerned about. They must expect a big Game 2 comeback after losing a game with Tatum misfiring (3-17 FGs). Tatum has been outstanding this postseason, though he has had a few mishaps, going 5-for-16 against the Nets in one game, 4-for-19 against the Bucks in another, and 3-for-14 against Miami in another.