Warriors’ dominant third quarter too much for the Celtics to overcome in Game 2

The series is tied 1-1.

Jordan Poole's buzzer-beater capped off a tremendous third quarter for the Warriors in Game 2.

The Warriors came out to play again in the third quarter of the NBA Finals. In Game 2 though, they performed even better, making sure that a Celtics comeback wasn’t possible.

Golden State turned its two-point halftime lead to a 23-point lead entering the fourth, outscoring Boston 35-14 during the third quarter. There were a pair of things that encapsulated just how bad the quarter was for the Celtics. On offense, they turned the ball over five times, which was one more than the number of shots they made in the quarter (four).

The other thing came at the very end of the third quarter. After the Warriors forced another stop, Jordan Poole got the ball and pulled up from 39 feet to drain a 3-pointer as the quarter expired, putting the Celtics in an 87-64 hole entering the fourth.


The Warriors continued their strong play in the opening minutes of the fourth, going on a quick 6-0 run that caused Celtics coach Ime Udoka to pull his starters for the night. The Warriors remained in control to win 107-88.

Jayson Tatum had a fine night offensively, scoring 28 points while making 6-of-9 3-pointers. But he didn’t have much help. After scoring 26 in Game 1, Al Horford only had two points in Game 2. Marcus Smart scored just two points, too, and had five turnovers. After his 13-point first quarter, Jaylen Brown was just 1-of-11 from the field for the rest of the game.

The Celtics still hold home-court advantage after taking Game 1. They head home for Games 3 and 4, with the first of those two games taking place on Wednesday.

Here’s everything that happened in Game 2.

Fourth quarter

6:46: The Warriors still have a few key players out on the court, including Draymond Green. The Warriors star forward has a technical already and four in these playoffs as six technicals force a one-game suspension. Grant Williams appears to be baiting Green a bit, which might be the only interesting thing left to watch in this game.

9:24: Derrick White, Payton Pritchard, Aaron Nesmith, Grant Williams, and Daniel Theis are in for the Celtics. Barring a major run, we’ve probably seen the last of their starters until Game 3.


10:45: Brutal start for the Celtics in the fourth. They forced Jordan Poole to miss a 3, but Gary Payton was at the right spot to get the putback. Tatum missed a tough shot driving inside, which led to a Poole pullup shot. Then, Horford slipped and turned the ball over, giving the Warriors an easy two points. They lead 93-64 and now the Celtics wonder if it’s time to wave the white flag.

End of the third quarter: Warriors 87, Celtics 64

If the quarter already wasn’t bad enough for Boston, it got much worse in the final minutes.

Daniel Theis was picked on by the Warriors when he entered the game, with him giving up a pair of buckets in pick-in-roll situations. In one offensive possession, he appeared unaware that the shot clock was set to expire after gathering a Derrick White airball.

But the Celtics keep turning the ball over and haven’t found easy chances to score. After the Warriors made their last stop of the quarter, Jordan Poole sank a 3-pointer from near halfcourt.

Unless the Celtics catch fire and the Warriors puke all over themselves, this is set to be a 1-1 series heading to Boston.

2:08: The Warriors are having another strong third quarter. The big difference tonight is that they’re closing this one strong. Golden State is in the midst of an 11-0 run, with Curry draining two straight 3-pointers to extend its lead to 79-62.


5:46: Brown’s shot selection has been really questionable tonight. Since his hot start in the first quarter, he’s just 1-of-11 from the field, shooting unnecessary turnarounds on multiple occasions.

Al Horford missed another point-blank shot and the Warriors call timeout to gather themselves. They lead 68-56.

6:47: Celtics coach Ime Udoka was really upset with the lack of a call on Smart and Curry jostling for position for an inbound play and gets T’d up.

6:55: Curry draws a pair of fouls on the same possession, one on Brown and another on Smart along the sideline. The fouls send the Warriors into the bonus for the rest of the quarter.

7:37: Golden State’s starting to get what it wants on offense. Curry made a stepback 3-pointer, Thompson scored on a fastbreak layup, and Wiggins drew a foul on Robert Williams driving to the basket. Golden State holds a 65-54 lead.

8:14: Al Horford’s had a rough go of it tonight. He posted up Klay Thompson but wasn’t able to get by him. Draymond Green came over for a double, causing Horford to miss wildly. Horford remains scoreless.

9:21: Right after I said each team look sluggish, the Warriors turned it on. Kevon Looney slipped open for a backdoor dunk. Then, they forced a trap along the sideline to get Jaylen Brown to commit a turnover. That led to Klay Thompson getting open on some off-ball action on the wing and finally making a 3.

The Warriors are up 59-52 and Ime Udoka calls for time before the third quarter Warriors make their mark.


9:54: Both teams have been really sloppy to start the half, with each side just scoring a 2-point basket. Robert Williams looks unhealthy and Tatum just grabbed his right shoulder again.

Halftime thoughts:

  • Jayson Tatum the scorer made his mark in the first half. He already has 21 points and made 5-of-7 3-pointers. Golden State’s had Gary Payton on him for a fair amount of the possessions and Tatum just shot over him.
  • Both teams have had some sloppy moments with the ball. Boston has 11 turnovers while Golden State’s missed several point-blank, wide-open layups. After a 61-point first quarter, buckets were hard to come by, partially because of each team’s own doing.
  • Golden State had its best stretch with a Curry-Payton-Wiggins-Porter-Green lineup. That lineup certainly works defensively, but Payton and Green don’t really offer much as scorers. If Boston can get the buckets needed against the lineup, it can play Payton off the court.
  • Klay Thompson and Jordan Poole have struggled big time for the Warriors. Thompson’s 1-of-8 with two points and Poole’s 1-of-5 with three points. Considering Thompson hasn’t been as strong of a defender since coming back from injuries and Poole’s just not good on that end, if they’re shooting that poorly, maybe the Warriors can roll the dice with Payton?
  • Warriors starting center Kevon Looney didn’t play at all in the second quarter. He had a tough time against Boston’s small-ball lineup in Game 1, but he had six points and three steals in the first quarter.
  • Boston has very little scoring outside of its star duo. Derrick White’s the only other Celtic who’s made more than one shot. Marcus Smart’s had a rough go of it, turning the ball over four times.

Halftime: Warriors 52, Celtics 50

Brown made two of the three free throws to tie the game up at 50. But Wiggins got the offensive board on a deep Curry 3-pointer. Brown missed a pullup and White’s corner heave was wildly off.

We’ve got another compelling second half ahead of us.

0:55: Game 2 is getting heated up. Green fouled Brown on a 3-pointer, knocking both players to the court. Green’s legs landed on Brown’s midsection and upper-body at one point, with Green giving Brown a little nudge at one point. Brown took exception, saying something to Green and standing over him. The two players were quickly separated.

Green already had a technical foul and wasn’t assessed one on the play, which would’ve ejected him. ABC’s announcing crew speculated that Green and Brown would’ve received double technicals if it was either a regular-season game or if Green didn’t have a technical already.

4:52: Golden State just went on a much-needed run. Steph Curry scored five straight points to tie the game up at 40. Then, a pair of stops led to a Gary Payton layup and an Andrew Wiggins 3-pointer, giving the Warriors a 45-40 lead, forcing Ime Udoka to call timeout.

Boston’s had a pair of questionable possessions during Golden State’s 10-0 run. Tatum threw a pass directly to Curry and Smart took a contested baseline jumper early in the shot clock.


7:05: Derrick White ends the Celtics’ scoring slump. He made a tough mid-range pullup shot. On the next possession, Brown found him wide open in the corner for 3. Boston takes a 40-35 lead and Golden State calls timeout.

White scored 20-plus points in two of the last three games entering tonight. If his shot can fall throughout Game 2, Boston will have a much easier time getting what it wants on offense.

7:32: Both teams in the midst of a rock fight to start the second. 35-35 all as Steph Curry re-enters the game.

11:28: Interesting play in the opening moments of the second quarter. Derrick White made a chase down block on Jordan Poole’s layup. As the Celtics turned in transition, White leaped over Poole, who was laying on the court. Poole reached up for White’s leg, knocking him over. Officials reviewed to see if Poole committed a technical foul, but they determined he was protecting himself on the play.

End of the first quarter: Warriors 31, Celtics 30

The stars showed up in the final minutes of the first. Tatum made a pair of 3-pointers to give him 13 points through one. But Steph Curry scored six in a similar span, including a driving floater off the backboard that gave the Warriors the lead right before the quarter ended.

2:22: Jayson Tatum just picked up his second foul, too. He got ambitious trying to steal a pass to Steph Curry on a Warriors fastbreak.

2:47: The Celtics’ offense has gone a bit stagnant in the last few possession. But Tatum finally drove to the rim and got fouled by Payton as result. He’ll have a chance to extend their lead to 24-19 when the game resumes from timeout.


3:37: Grant Williams just picked up his second foul, too.

3:52: The Celtics are up, 22-15. But Jaylen Brown, who already has 13 points, just picked up his second foul when fouling Gary Payton on a shot. The call appeared to be a bit questionable on review. Payton missed both free throws, though.

4:47: The Celtics are getting the full Draymond Green experience tonight. The Warriors’ star forward drew a foul on Grant Willaims during a Golden State Possession. However, he got T’d up after exchanging some words with Williams.


6:47: After going up 13-5, the Celtics missed seven straight field goals. Tatum made a 3-pointer to end that. On the following defensive possession, Draymond Green got an and-1. But Golden State kept the ball following Green’s miss. On the ensuing inbound, Green drew a foul on Tatum after the two fought for position on the in-bounds.

Boston was called for another foul after Steph Curry missed a layup. The foul, however, was called on Brown as he tried to box out Kevon Looney on the missed layup. Boston leads 16-11 with Golden State calling a timeout.

9:36: The Celtics are already off to a 13-5 lead. The only bad thing is that Jayson Tatum started grabbing his right shoulder, which he injured last round, after the Celtics’ last defensive stop. Brown already has nine points.

11:10: Andrew Wiggins knocks down a 3 on the Warriors’ first possession but Jaylen Brown answered with one of his own to even the game right up.

11:50: Not often do you see a second jump ball just seconds into a game. But Draymond Green aggressively attacked Al Horford to force a tie up.


12:00: The Celtics win the jump ball and we are underway!

8 p.m.: Two-thirds of the usual ESPN on ABC broadcasting booth is in tonight. Play-by-play announcer Mike Breen is still out due to COVID-19, marking the third straight game he’s missed. Analyst Jeff Van Gundy is back for Game 2 after missing Game 1 due to COVID-19. Mark Jones will replace Breen again for the play-by-play call.

Cee Lo Green’s rendition of the national anthem is complete, and now tip-off is just minutes away!

Pregame news and notes

7:55 p.m.: Just like in Game 1, the entire ESPN studio set picked the Warriors to win Game 2. Golden State is 4.5-point favorites in Game 2.

7:50 p.m.: For those wondering, the Celtics will rock their usual road green jerseys in Game 2 and the Warriors will wear the usual home white jerseys.

7:35 p.m.: In some non-NBA Finals news, Celtics assistant coach Will Hardy is a candidate for the Utah Jazz head coaching job that opened up on Sunday, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported. Former Celtics president Danny Ainge will play a significant role in the hire of course as he’s the CEO of the Jazz.

7:30 p.m.: Both teams will have the same starting lineups as they had in Game 1. Just in case you need a refresher…

Celtics: Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Al Horford, Robert Williams

Warriors: Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, Draymond Green, Kevon Looney

7:25 p.m.: Jayson Tatum’s been paying homage to Kobe Bryant a lot the past week. He did so again in the outfit he wore to Game 2, which also included an homage to Michael Jordan.

7:15 p.m.: Historically speaking, Game 2 is a pretty big game for the team that’s down 1-0. Entering the 2022 playoffs, teams that went up 2-0 in a series won the best-of-seven series 92.4 percent of the time. The Celtics have also done extremely well after going up 2-0 in a series, going 41-1 in such instances.


7:10 p.m.: Both the Celtics and Warriors are bringing awareness to gun violence ahead of Game 2. Both teams wore “End Gun Violence” shirts with organizations listed on the back that help the cause.

Some Celtics players wore “We Are BG” shirts during Saturday’s practice in support of WNBA star Brittney Griner, who has been detained in Russia for over 100 days.

6:40 p.m.:

  • The Celtics are fully healthy again for Game 2. Starting center Robert Williams, who was the only player on the injury report, will play on Sunday. Williams has dealt with left knee soreness in recent weeks, which has caused him to miss five games in the previous two rounds. Williams had eight points, six rebounds, and four blocks over 24 minutes in Game 1.
  • The Warriors will be without backup forward Andre Iguodala in Game 2 due to a knee injury. Iguodala had seven points and three assists in Game 1.
  • Golden State is expected to play guard Gary Payton II in Game 2. The backup guard didn’t play in Game 1 despite being listed as available. He hasn’t played since he fractured his left elbow in Game 2 of the Warriors’ Western Conference semifinals series against the Grizzlies. Something to note, reporters at Saturday’s practice said that Payton, whose injury is on his shooting arm, wasn’t shooting.


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