BOSTON — It was solely the second quarter, however the Celtics’ Jayson Tatum appeared decided to construct on a theme as he eyed a possibility on Wednesday night time. He took a tough dribble at Stephen Curry, spun to his proper and drove straight into the lane earlier than depositing a layup over his smaller defender.
The Celtics had been wanting to familiarize themselves with the basket in Game 3 of the N.B.A. finals. So they used their dimension to bully numerous members of the Golden State Warriors within the low put up and off the dribble. They tried layups. They dunked. They threw quick jumpers off the glass.
In the method, Boston even survived certainly one of Golden State’s hallmark third-quarter runs to flee with a 116-100 win at TD Garden and take a 2-1 lead within the sequence. Game 4 is in Boston on Friday.
The Celtics, who opened the fourth quarter by constructing a wholesome cushion, had been led by Jaylen Brown, who had 27 factors and 9 rebounds. Tatum added 26 factors, 9 assists and 6 rebounds, and Marcus Smart completed with 24 factors. Curry had 31 factors within the loss, and Klay Thompson added 25. The Celtics did most of their injury within the paint, the place they outscored Golden State, 52-26.
After the primary two video games had been in San Francisco, the sequence swung to Boston, a becoming website for the finals because the league celebrates the previous few flickering embers of its seventy fifth anniversary. The Celtics are chasing their 18th championship, whereas Golden State is making its sixth finals look in eight seasons.
Two of the league’s unique franchises, the Celtics and the Warriors now mirror one another in one other necessary means: Both rosters had been largely constructed by way of drafting. And whereas Boston is making its first finals look since 2010, Celtics Coach Ime Udoka mentioned he hoped to emulate Golden State’s long-term success.
“It’s a model for what we want to do here,” Udoka mentioned.
The Celtics, who misplaced Game 2 on Sunday, haven’t misplaced consecutive video games this postseason. Before Wednesday’s sport, Udoka cited his group’s resilience.
“I think we put it behind us pretty quickly,” he mentioned, “and kind of attacked the areas that we did poorly and tried to improve on those.”
About an hour and a half earlier than the beginning of Game 3, as a few of Golden State’s gamers made their means onto the courtroom for particular person warm-up work, the reserve guard Gary Payton II observed that one of many rims appeared a bit off. He was proper: It was about two inches too high.
“It happens every once in a while,” Golden State Coach Steve Kerr mentioned earlier than the sport. “Players have a really sharp eye for that.”
The rim was quickly lowered to its correct 10-foot peak, nevertheless it didn’t appear to assist. Golden State received off to a brutal begin, lacking 11 of its first 15 field-goal makes an attempt as Boston ran out to a 24-9 lead. Making issues worse, Curry picked up two early fouls.
If there was concern for the Celtics, it got here within the type of Tatum’s proper shoulder, which he first injured within the Eastern Conference finals towards Miami. On Wednesday, he was grimacing in ache after drawing a foul on an early drive.
But his 3-pointer halfway by way of the second quarter pushed the Celtics forward by 18. Boston shot 57.4 % from the sphere to take a 68-56 lead at halftime.
All eyes, although, had been on the beginning of the second half. In Games 1 and a couple of, Golden State had dominated each third quarters, outscoring Boston by a complete of 35 factors. The third quarter was notably problematic for the Celtics in Game 2, after they shot 4 of 17 from the sphere, dedicated 5 turnovers and had been outscored, 35-14. A detailed sport rapidly became a rout.
On Wednesday, Golden State was trailing by 9 when the group summoned some extra third-quarter magic. Curry made a 3-pointer and absorbed contact for good measure when the Celtics’ Al Horford slid beneath him. It was dominated a flagrant-1 foul, which meant Golden State would retain possession after a free throw.
Curry sank the free throw, then Otto Porter Jr. buried one other 3-pointer for a 7-point possession that trimmed Boston’s result in 2.
It was an anxious second for the Celtics, who may have folded however as a substitute revealed their toughness as soon as extra. Early within the fourth quarter, Smart banked in a 3-pointer. Moments later, Grant Williams corralled an offensive rebound for a put again, forcing Kerr to a name for a timeout as the house crowd roared.