Warriors-Celtics points, takeaways: Stephen Curry and Golden State return to tied NBA Finals with Game 2 win


Warriors-Celtics Score, Takeaways: Stephen Curry, Golden State return to even streak with Game 2 win

What the Golden State Warriors did against the Boston Celtics in Game 2 of the NBA Finals Sunday night was the definition of “reaction.” After losing the first game of the series in front of their home fans thanks to a dismal performance in the fourth quarter, the Warriors knew they needed to recover quickly, and they did just that.

The game was extremely tight for the first 24 minutes, but in the third quarter, the Warriors upped the ante and pulled off a serious breakup. Golden State beat Boston 35-14 in that quarter and they’ve never looked back. They rode to a 107-88 win, finishing the series 1-1.

Stephen Curry led Golden State with 29 points, six rebounds and four assists while Jordan Poole added 17 points from the bench. As a team, the Warriors forced 18 Boston turnovers and they scored 33 points from those turnovers. That was a big factor in the result.

Jayson Tatum led the Celtics with 28 points and six rebounds, but his performance fell short as only two other Celtics players scored in double figures. Now the series is moving to Boston for Games 3 and 4. Here are the biggest takeaways from Game 2.

Regression is a tough mistress

When Boston shot 21 from 45 from behind the arc in Game 1, Draymond Green was less than impressed. “They hit 21 3s and Marcus Smart, Al Horford and Derrick White combined for 15,” Green said said. “These guys are good shooters, but what did they combine for… 15 against 23 from these guys? Eh We will make it.”

As it turned out, he was right. Green had spent much of Game 1 hanging off Horford to focus on assist defense, but in Game 2 he set a new tone on the very first possession. Green played Horford so aggressively that he forced a jump ball.

Boston still managed a hot 10-of-19 start from behind the arc but finished the second half on 3-of-14. Horford and Smart combined for 44 points in Game 1. In Game 2, they only scored four points. In fact, even accounting for trash time, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown still managed to score more than half of Boston’s points (45 out of 88). . The Roleplayers who propelled Boston to a Game 1 win went stone cold in Game 2.

There will be a middle ground here. Boston is better than 3/14 from deep and worse than 10/19 because every team in NBA history falls somewhere between those two extremes. But aside from White and the occasional Grant Williams, the Warriors have been far more aggressive in chasing Boston’s shooters. With that in mind, the number of 3-pointers Boston has made hardly tells the story here. It’s the fact that the Warriors held the Celtics to 12 fewer tries (45 vs. 33) in Game 2. The Celtics had no counterattack. They could not achieve 90 points as a result.

We’re starting to figure out who these teams really are

Rotations tend to get smaller and smaller as a playoff series progresses, and tonight was a perfect example of that. The Celtics would love to be able to play against four big men. Robert Williams III is playing injured and Al Horford has just turned 36. Anything Daniel Theis could give them would be greatly appreciated. The Celtics managed to surpass themselves by 12 points in the seven mandatory minutes he played in that game. The moment he decided to play drop-coverage against Stephen Curry should have been the moment Ime Udoka decided to ban him for the rest of the series.

Steve Kerr’s revelations were forced upon him. Andre Iguodala was ruled out before Game 2 with a knee infection. That allowed him to give Gary Payton II, who was a DNP CD in Game 1, 25 largely meaningful minutes. Not coincidentally, the Celtics committed 18 turnovers in Game 2, five more than in Game 1. Statistically, that was a pretty predictable development. The Warriors made 3.3 more turnovers per 100 possessions during Payton’s regular season minutes than without him. Coincidentally, that’s the exact spread between Boston’s playoff wins and losses. The Warriors had 33 fewer turnover points in Game 2, 18 more than the Celtics. They won the game by 19 points.

The problem with extended Payton minutes is that Boston has little interest in guarding him on the edge. Payton makes up for it in a different way. He’s a brilliant cutter and nuclear athlete, but Golden State needed to create distance in other ways, especially given Green’s limitations as a marksman, so they tried Nemanja Bjelica, whose defensive weaknesses appear to have been greatly exaggerated. He held his own against Luka Doncic in the last round and did well in Game 2 against Boston.

As things are going in the Finals, after two games against each other, the Warriors and Celtics now seem to have a good idea of ​​which players can and can’t make it in this series. Boston seems to have landed on eight: Tatum, Brown, Smart, Horford, White, Pritchard and the two Williams. Golden State has eight of its own: Curry, Green, Payton, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, Kevon Looney, Otto Porter Jr. and Jordan Poole. Bjelica made a compelling case for slot #9 tonight. Iguodala’s track record could give him an advantage. But the days of the Golden State punishing Theis seem to be over. From that point forward, we’ll likely only see the best players these teams have to offer.

dr Jekyll and Mr Thompson

Klay Thompson shot 4/19 from the field in Game 2. It’s a tough night, but not an unusually bad one. Thompson shot less than 40 percent from the field in 15 of his 32 regular season games. He’s throwing up a stinker or two a series this postseason, and even when the entire game’s stat lines look decent, he often has to salvage a miserable first half with a better second.

That’s not to say Thompson is some sort of train wreck. The highs were just as high as ever. His 32-point breakout to end the Mavericks was a classic Klay. He’s still averaging nearly 20 points per game in the postseason. But the Warriors are desperate for a second consistent goalscorer. Jordan Poole isn’t quite there yet and struggled in Game 1. Andrew Wiggins had a slow start to the Finals. Right now, Curry is generating almost everything on offense for Golden State. Thompson isn’t exactly a busy ball handler, but the offense runs a lot smoother when the Warriors can at least count on him to make open shots and generate some of his own looks from within the arc.

He couldn’t hold his own against Boston’s stellar defense in the Finals, and so far in the series he’s shooting 30.3 percent from the field. The Warriors may have defended well enough to hold off Boston tonight, but they won’t win three more games if Thompson shoots like that. Their championship hopes rest on the best version of him appearing more often than the worst, but night after night the Warriors don’t seem to know which they’re going to get.

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