NBA Finals: Boston Celtics beat Golden State Warriors 116-100, lead series 2-1

Jaylen Brown scored 27 points, Jayson Tatum added 26, and the Celtics harnessed the energy of a boisterous TD Garden crowd to fend off another third-quarter assault by Golden State in a 116-100 victory Wednesday night that gave them a 2-1 lead in the NBA Finals.

Game Report 2

Marcus Smart added 24 points and helped fuel a defensive effort that held the Warriors to 11 points in the fourth quarter — the third-fewest in a Finals game in the stopwatch era.

“Game 2, they brought us the heat,” Smart said. “For us, it left a bad taste in our mouths because what we’re hanging our hats on is the defensive effort and being a physical team. It definitely woke us up a bit.”

Tatum said the Celtics didn’t put their heads down after the Warriors flourished in the third quarter is something they haven’t always done in the regular season.

“I think that’s when we’re at our best when reacting to difficult situations. We respond to teams going on races and things like that,” he said. “I think we’ve done it several times tonight.”

Boston improved to 6-4 at home, down from 8-3 on the road in the playoffs. The Celtics haven’t lost consecutive games since late March.

Stephen Curry led Golden State with 31 points and six 3-pointers. He had 15 points in a 33-25 third quarter by the Warriors, but was injured late in the fourth after Al Horford rolled in his leg on a loose ball. Curry said it looked like a regular season play where Smart dove into Curry’s legs while chasing a loose ball, but “not nearly as bad.”

“I got caught – obviously in pain, but I’ll be fine,” Curry said. “See how you feel tomorrow and get ready for Friday.”

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Klay Thompson came out of a slump in the Finals and finished with 25 points and five 3s. But the Warriors’ shot couldn’t save them on a night when the more athletic Celtics outshot them for a 47- 31.

“When you allow a team to get comfortable, especially at home – in front of the home crowd, then that’s tough,” Warriors forward Draymond Green said.

Robert Williams III, who is returning from knee surgery, finished with eight points, 10 rebounds and four blocks.

“We’ve talked about it a lot, with our group being resilient and able to fight through a lot and at times when it’s most needed to be able to lock down the defense,” Celtics coach Ime Udoka said. “We did it in the fourth quarter”

Game 4 is Friday in Boston.

Despite Curry’s noticeable limp after the game with Horford, Warriors coach Steve Kerr said that wasn’t the reason he pulled him out of the game in the final minutes.

“The injury didn’t force him out of the game, but I knocked him out 14 with two minutes left because we weren’t going to catch up,” Kerr said.

The previous 39 times teams have split the first two games in the Finals, with the winner of Game 3 winning the series 82% of the time.

Feeding off the energy of a Garden crowd that mocked Green throughout their miserable night in Boston’s first NBA Finals game since 2010, the Celtics started fast and led until to 18 points in the first half.

After a Game 2 loss in which Boston turned the ball over 19 times, the Celtics’ ball movement was much crisper in the half court, leading to open perimeter shots, clashes 1 on 1 favorable and traffic lanes.

This left the Warriors scrambling at times, which contributed to three fouls on Curry in the first 24 minutes.

But in addition to playing Boston, his early lead was erased in the third quarter by a seven-point Warriors possession that included a four-point play from Curry when he drew a flagrant foul of 1 on Horford and 3 points by Otto Porter Jr. to put Golden State ahead 83-82.

Boston recovered to take a 93-89 advantage in the fourth, then outscored Golden State 23-11 in the quarter.

The Celtics led 56-39 before an 8-0 push in just 37 seconds by the Warriors cut the lead to 56-49 on a Curry layup with 3:32 remaining in the half. Boston stirred late in the half to take a 68-56 halftime lead.

HUMB MATCH

Green was involved in fights with Brown and Grant Williams in Game 2 – the one that ended with a technical foul on Green.

He had another brief run-in with Williams in the second quarter on Wednesday when Williams knocked Green to the ground at midcourt.

A foul was called on Williams, but he and Green had a short confrontation before being quickly separated by officials.

In the third quarter, Green found himself on the floor battling for a loose ball with Brown. This time Green was called for the foul.

QUICK START

The Celtics hit three of their first four shots and scored 10 straight points to take a 10-2 lead.

Boston’s lead swelled to 18-9 when a fast break ended with Curry picking up his second foul trying to challenge Smart’s layup with 5:44 left in the quarter.

Curry stayed in the game and Golden State went into the zone, but that didn’t do much to slow Boston, which widened its advantage to 15 points. The Celtics took a 33-22 lead in the second period.

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