Ninety minutes before tip-off of Game 3 of the NBA Finals, the Golden State Warriors noticed that the basketball rim on the TD Garden arena was way too high compared to the usual. The Warriors’ assistant coach noticed the inaccurate measurement of the rim during the team’s shootaround and called several of his players to confirm his suspicion.
After literally measuring the court, the Warriors confirmed their suspicion that the rim was indeed two inches higher than the usual.
Mind games or pure coincidence?
Historically, Red Auerbach was the mastermind of mind games during his time. The former coach and executive was the type to turn off the hot water of his opponent’s showers in their locker room to make them uncomfortable. One time, the Los Angeles Lakers believed that Auerbach turned off the air conditioner in The Garden when both teams clashed in the Finals.
So years after, it’s fair to think that the Celtics this year could be playing mind games as Auerbach did. But to give them the benefit of the doubt, Boston hasn’t played in their arena since Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals, which took place last May 27. It has been almost two weeks since, so technical difficulties like this could arise.
Luckily for the Warriors, they thought of a solution right away before Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green got their shots up during shootaround. Jordan Poole’s routine was reportedly the only one that was delayed for 20 minutes.
Whether this was the Celtics’ way of playing mind games or it was just pure coincidence, safe to assume that the Celtics’ victory in Game 3 had nothing to do with it. It wasn’t the shooting of the Warriors that lost them the game (although they could’ve made more shots to win, duh!), but the Celtics’ rebounding, physicality, and points in the paint were what won them the game.
How do the Warriors respond?
Knowing Green, Thompson, and maybe even Curry, they will take this incident personally. The drama of this series has skyrocketed after Game 3, the moment when the Celtics crowd chanted “Fu*k Draymond Green” right after Green committed the 6th foul that forced him to disqualify for the game.
From the suspicious moment during shootaround to all the drama and trash talk in Game 3, this has been the most entertaining moment in the Finals.
It will be interesting to see how the Warriors respond not just to their mediocre performance but to all the trash talk and “anticts” that took place on Wednesday. Will they come out stronger or be intimated by all of this? We’ll find out on Friday.