Celtics

‘We’ll be fine’: Draymond Green, Steve Kerr dismiss concerns following Celtics’ Game 1 comeback over Warriors

The Celtics outscored the Warriors, 40-16, in the final quarter to take a 1-0 lead.

The Warriors' bench went from jubilation in the third quarter to dejection in the fourth quarter of Game 1. Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Golden State was 12 minutes away from going up 1-0 in the NBA Finals.

The Warriors dominated the third quarter of Game 1, outscoring the Celtics 38-24. But the Celtics had a fourth quarter for the ages, scoring 40 points to the Warriors’ 16 to pull out a 120-108 win to take Game 1.

Boston’s historic fourth quarter wasn’t necessarily propelled by its two stars, either. Sure, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown contributed. However, it was Al Horford (11 points on 4-for-4 shooting), Derrick White (six points on 2-for-2 shooting), and Marcus Smart (six points on 2-of-2 shooting) that scored the final 23 points for the Celtics in the win.

In the quarter, that Celtics’ trio combined to go 6-for-6 from 3-point range. Horford, White, and Smart actually combined to make 15 of the Celtics’ 21 3-pointers on Thursday night.

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Those three aren’t exactly knockdown shooters (Horford shot 33.6 percent from deep during the regular season, White shot 30.6 percent, and Smart shot 33.1 percent). With that in mind, Warriors coach Steve Kerr didn’t seem overly concerned by his team’s fourth-quarter collapse.

“Well, give them credit. I mean, they made 21 threes,” Kerr said. “They were moving the ball really well, and they had us on our heels. They made a good push to start the fourth, and they kept that momentum going.

“It’s going to be tough to beat Boston if they are making 21 threes and they are getting combined 11 from Horford and White. Those guys, give them credit. They knocked down every big shot in the fourth quarter. Boston was — just played a brilliant quarter. They came in and earned the win.”

Warriors star forward Draymond Green felt similarly about the Celtics’ fourth-quarter scoring burst.

“We’ll see. We’ll figure it out, watch some film,” Green said on the Celtics making their open shots. “But they’ve got guys that put pressure on the rim, so you’re going to have to rotate and help. We’ll have to figure out where our next rotation is coming from and do it. They made 21 3s and Marcus Smart, Al Horford, and Derrick White combined for 15 of them (shrugs). Those guys are good shooters but…they were 15-for-23. My math is right? 15 for-23 from those guys, eh, so, we’ll be fine.”

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Not only was the fourth quarter a bad one for the Warriors defensively, but it was also just as bad for them offensively, too. Golden State shot 7-of-17 from the field, turning the ball over four times in the fourth.

While the stats don’t look bad, they played at their worst on the offensive end at the worst possible time. Golden State didn’t score for nearly five minutes after Boston tied the game up, 103-103. Klay Thompson’s bucket with 1:09 remaining cut the Celtics’ lead to 117-105, proving to be far too little, far too late.

Kerr thought his squad was just flat-out defeated on both ends in the fourth.

“I thought we had a couple turnovers, a couple bad possessions offensively, and they just pounced. They took advantage of every opportunity and moved the ball,” Kerr said. “Like I said, you make five, six threes in a row in the fourth quarter, and that’s tough to overcome. We’ll watch the tape and see what we can do better.

“My gut reaction, what I just witnessed, they came in and played a hell of a fourth quarter, and you have to give them credit. It’s pretty much as simple as that.”

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Green was some of the reason for the Warriors’ poor offensive play. After he checked back into the game with 5:08 left, Green missed the only shot he took (a 31-foot 3-pointer), committed two turnovers, missed both free throws he took, and committed three fouls to foul out of the game.

The Warriors entered Game 1 with nearly a week’s rest. Green doesn’t think that the rest hurt him and his team, citing the lead they had at the end of the third quarter.

“No, I think that they stayed within striking distance and they made shots late,” Green said. “We’ll be fine. We’ll figure out the ways we can stop them from getting those 3s and take them away. So no, I don’t think it was a rhythm thing. We pretty much dominated the game for the first 41, 42 minutes. So, we’ll be fine.”

Now, the Celtics hold home-court advantage after taking Game 1 on the road. That might not mean too much though after winning one game as the Warriors have won a road game in every playoff series since Kerr became their head coach in 2014.

Green’s holding his hat on the Warriors’ prior road dominance as a reason to believe Golden State isn’t in a bad spot.

“I mean, whether you win every game at home, you still want to win one on the road. And our history, we’ve always won one on the road,” Green said. “So, you know, it’s just nothing to panic about. It’s the first team to win four games, not the first to win one. So I think that’s where the confidence comes from, just understand that.”

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“Yeah, I missed some bunnies. My 3s felt good,” Green added on his 2-for-12 shooting performance. “You know, I’ll continue to stay aggressive. They will fall. You know, tonight, they didn’t.”

Game 2 is on Sunday night in San Francisco.

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