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NBA Finals: Yet Another Q3 Implosion for the Celtics

The Golden State Warriors needed some sort of a fiery response to the shenanigans of their opponents, Boston Celtics, in Game 2 of the 2022 NBA Finals, and they did just that. The six time NBA Champions used a 35-point third quarter to secure a 107-88 victory over the Celtics on Sunday night, evening the series at one game apiece.

Series tied 1-1. 🍿 — Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) June 6, 2022

What Went Wrong for the Celtics? When the Warriors held the Celtics to only 14 points in the third quarter, Stephen Curry went off. Golden State coach Steve Kerr had one word to describe Curry’s performance in the third – “breathtaking.” “Steph was breathtaking in that quarter. Not just the shot-making but the defensive effort. He just doesn’t get enough credit for his level of conditioning, physicality and defense,” Kerr said.

Steph did it all to help the Warriors even the series in Game 2 💪 — SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 6, 2022

The Dubs also deserve some accolades here for some of the adjustments they made in the game. Not only was the switching more frequent and more focused, individual defenders also guarded their yard. Draymond Green took the Jaylen Brown assignment and did well, which allowed Klay Thompson—who struggled with Brown the game before—to matchup with Horford. Gary Payton II also played 25 minutes after not appearing in Game 1, and his on-ball defense helped disrupt Boston’s perimeter attack. With the inability to collapse the defense and force scrambles as they did in Game 1, the Celtics were not able to create the easy shots from deep that propelled them to victory. Turnovers! Turnovers!! Turnovers!!! Quite a lot went wrong for the Celtics, but head coach Ime Udoka is taking issue with one particular problem: turnovers. Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart were the biggest culprits, combining for half of the team’s turnovers with nine; but it was not just the duo that fumbled the ball, the rest of the starters were not any better as Jaylen Brown and Al Horford had two each.

The Warriors outscored the Celtics 35-14 in the 3rd quarter. The +21 is their best point-differential in any quarter in the Finals in franchise history. Boston had more turnovers (5) than field goals made (4) in the 3rd quarter. — ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 6, 2022

Taking care of the ball has been a struggle  for some part of the playoffs, and it bit the Celts once again on Sunday as they got blown out by the Warriors, ending up to commit 18 turnovers as the Dubs led by as much as 29 points in the contest. Evidently, it showed in Game 1 that they definitely have what it takes to take down the Warriors. However, they can not get anything going if they do not have the ball on their hands. Game On! More turnover variance and fouls should be expected as the Finals progresses, but there are still moves on the board for Boston moving forward and the Celts can try to get back on track in Game 3.

With both teams still figuring out their best combos, expect more shifts as the series heads East.

The Warriors took a page out of the Celtics’ book for Game 2; they played with physicality. Boston knows it has to match Golden State’s aggression or risk another poor performance like Game 2. 📚 @ByJayKing — The Athletic NBA (@TheAthleticNBA) June 6, 2022
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