The Golden State Warriors’ definition of “answer” was against the Boston Celtics in Game 2 of the NBA Final on Sunday night. After dropping the first game of the series in front of their own fans due to poor performance in the fourth quarter, the Warriors were well aware that they needed to recover quickly, and that’s what they did.
The game was very close in the first 24 minutes, but in the third quarter, the Warriors kicked it to a climax and got some serious division. Golden State beat Boston 35-14 that quarter, and they never looked back. They won 107-88 and tied the series 1-1.
Stephen Curry led Golden State with 29 points, six rebounds and four assists, while Jordan Pool added 17 points to the bench. As a team, the Warriors forced 18 Boston turnovers and they scored 33 points on those turnovers. In the end it was a big factor.
Jason Tatum accelerated the Celtics with 28 points and six rebounds, but his production was not enough as only the other two Celtic players scored double figures. Now, the series shifts to Boston for Games 3 and 4. Here are the biggest takeaways from Game2.
Regression is a tough mistress
When Boston made 45 for 21 from behind the curve in Game 1, it was less than what inspired Tremond Green. “They scored 21 3s and scored 15 runs along with Marcus Smart, Al Harford and Derrick White,” Green Said. “Those guys are good shooters, but why did they join …. 15-for-23 from those guys? E. We’ll be fine.”
He had a point. Green dropped most of Cam 1 from Harford to focus on assist-defense, but in Cam 2, he set a new tone with his first possession. Green played Harford so aggressively that he forced a jump-ball.
Boston still managed a 10-off-19 start from behind the arch, but finished 3-for-14 in the second half. In Game 1, Harford and Smart combined to score 44 points. In Game 2 they got four points. In fact, despite the junk time, Jason Todd and Jaylan Brown combined for more than half of Boston’s points (45 out of 88). . The role players who beat Boston in Game 1 went cold in Game 2.
There will be a middle ground here. Every team in NBA history has fallen somewhere between those two peaks so Boston is better than the deep and 10-of-19 worse than the 3-of-14. But with the exception of White and the occasional Grand Williams, the Warriors were very aggressive in hunting down Boston snipers. In that sense, the number of 3-pointers created by Boston does not tell the story here. It is true that in Game 2 the Warriors kept the Celtics for 12 fewer attempts (33 against 45). The Celtics have no counter. Thus they could not reach 90 points.
We are beginning to find out who these teams really are
Tonight is the perfect example of why the rotations get smaller and smaller as the playoff series progresses. The Celtics would love to play the four great men. Robert Williams III plays with injury, Al Harford is now 36 years old. Whatever Daniel Thes gives them will be greatly appreciated. The Celtics managed to score 12 points in the seven minutes he played in this game. The moment he decided to play drop-coverage against Stephen Curry must have been the moment Ime Utoka decided to knock him out for the rest of the series.
Steve Kerrin’s expressions were forced on him. Andre Igudola was ruled out of Game 2 due to a knee injury. Game1, 25 allowed him to deliver Gary Baton II, which was a DNP-CD. Not coincidentally, the Celtics made 18 sales in Game 2, five more than they did in Game 1. Statistically, this is a very predictable development. Baton made 3.3 more turnovers per 100 possessions than he would have played without in his regular season minutes. Incidentally, this is the exact difference between Boston’s playoff successes and failures. The Warriors had a turnover of 33 points in Game 2, 18 more than the Celtics. The game was won by 19 points.
The problem with extended baton minutes is that Boston have little interest in defending him around. Payton compensates for it in other ways. He was a brilliant cutter and nuclear athlete, but Golden State still had to pay for the gap in other ways, especially considering Green’s limitations as a shooter, as they tried Nemanja Bijelica, whose defensive weaknesses seem to have been greatly overstated. He took his own place against Luca Tonsic in the last round, and he excelled against Boston in Game 2.
It tends to go to the final, after two games against each other, the Warriors and the Celtics now seem to have a good idea of which players can survive in this series and by whom. Boston seems to have landed in eight locations: Tatum, Brown, Smart, Harford, White, Britshart and two Williams. Golden State has eight varieties of its own: Curry, Green, Baton, Clay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, Kevon Looney, Otto Porter Jr. and Jordan Poole. Tonight slot number. At 9 p.m., Bijelica put forward a compelling argument. Ikudola’s record can be handed to him. But the days of punishing the Golden State fire seem to be over. From this point on, we can only see the best players these teams offer.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Thompson
In Game 2, Clay Thompson shot 4 for 19 off the field. It was a tough night, but an unusually bad night. Thompson has scored less than 40 percent off the field in 15 of his 32 regular season games. He throws a stink in a series later this season, and even if the full-game state lines look decent, he will often have to save the worst first half into a better second half.
Thomson is not a train wreck. The peaks are higher than ever. His 32 points to close Mavericks were vintage clay. He still has nearly 20 points per game in the postseason. But the Warriors expect a second consistent score. Jordan Poole is not there yet and fought in Game 1. Andrew Wiggins started slowly for the final. Now, curry makes almost everything for the Golden State. Thompson is not exactly a high-use ball handler, but if the fighters at least make open shots depending on him and make some of his own appearance, the offense will run much smoother.
He could not against Boston’s star defense in the final, so far in the series, he has shot only 30.3 percent off the field. The Warriors will be waiting to stop Boston tonight, but Thompson will not win three more games with a shot. Their championship hopes have relied on a better version of him appearing more often than worse, but on a night-to-night basis, the Warriors have no idea what they are going to get.
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