By Andrea Montolivo
Boston, United States, June 8 (EFE).- The Boston Celtics, with a tremendous team performance, led by Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Marcus marched to victory Wednesday at their home, the TD Garden, and defeated the Golden State Warriors 116-100 in Game 3 of the NBA Finals to take a 2-1 lead.
Ime Udoka’s team, who had paid for the 18 turnovers with a tough loss in Game 2, limited them to a 12-point deficit at the Garden, in which Al Horford and Robert Williams dominated and helped the Celtics capture 58 rebounds, leaving only 38 to their rivals.
Brown scored 27 points, 17 of them in the first quarter, with nine rebounds and six assists, Jayson Tatum contributed 26 points, with six rebounds and nine assists, while Smart finished with 24 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
The three stars stood out for their great numbers. Horford’s contribution of character weighed in this victory, explained only partially by his 11 points, eight rebounds and six assists, as well as that of Robert Williams, who collected 10 rebounds and four blocks.
The 31 points from Steph Curry, with six three-pointers, were not enough for the Warriors, nor were the 25 and five three-pointers from Klay Thompson, who notably increased his shooting percentages, with no reward for Steve Kerr’s team.
Andrew Wiggins had 18 points and seven rebounds on a night in which Draymond Green failed to be decisive, finishing with just two points, four rebounds and three assists, ending the game on six fouls with four minutes remaining.
Jaylen Brown had warned his priority was to get on the court to play, without paying attention to rival pressures or provocations, and his start could not have been better. He started with two consecutive three-pointers and led the way for the Celtics with 17 points in the first quarter, going three-for-four from the three-point range.
In a completely green-tinted Garden, hungry for glory after a 12-year wait to see their team again in a final, Brown and Horford dominated the opening stages. The Dominican, first NBA finalist in his country, showed off with a great defensive job and a powerful dunk for 26-11.
Superior on both sides of the court, dominant on the floor and forceful with the ball in their hands, the Celtics escaped to an 18-point margin at 54-36, led by a Tatum who scored or assisted on 12 points in a row for his team.
Steve Kerr called time out to reorganize his team’s ideas. And despite the obvious early struggles, the Warriors showed off the stripes of a franchise that has been in six of the last eight finals, winning three of the previous five.
It didn’t take long for the first spark to fly with Draymond Green, rebuked all night by the Garden fans. A foul by Grant Williams increased the tension and the Warriors made their mark with Wiggins, Klay Thompson and Curry.
Curry himself put his team seven points ahead and thanks to the competitiveness of Horford and Brown, the Celtics managed to stop that reaction and go into the break with a 12 points lead at 68-56.
Udoka’s men were at 60 percent in shot efficiency at the halfway point of the clash and had 68 points at halftime after scoring 88 throughout the second game at the Chase Center.
But when that scoring rhythm stalled, the Warriors jumped at the chance to reopen the game, with a 12-0 run led by Curry, with a blatant four-point play by Horford that gave the Californians the first advantage at 83-82.
The Celtics went almost three minutes without scoring – against a Warriors side in which Curry continued to attack his rivals.
Marcus Smart and Grant Williams contained the push and kept their team ahead 93-89 until the fourth quarter. Considering the eight of 32 in the quarter, it was a victory for Udoka’s men. He kept them confident and encouraged them to face the decisive part, in which the competitive soul of the locals emerged.
The 9-2 to open the final quarter, with triples by Smart and a tremendous commitment, once again charged the Garden with enthusiasm and put the distance in double figures with the Warriors.
The Celtics never gave up fighting for split balls and in one of them, Horford caused Green’s sixth foul, whose game ended with 4.07 on the clock.
The Garden celebrated his exit from the track as much as he did, seconds later, when Al Horford offered Robert Williams the 112-98 alley-oop that closed the score. EFE