The Celtics got past their inevitable lapses. At one point the Warriors had an 8-0 run in 37 seconds, but Boston reached the other side.
Here's a question: has anybody ever seen a team compete in the NBA finals, where they can dominate a quarter and as it's happening, you will be absolutely assured they will somehow blow the lead? That the other shoe will drop just as hard? That was going to happen yesterday in the third quarter like it did in both Games 1 and 2. But because Steph got in foul trouble too early, he wasn’t able to exert as much force on the game as he could have
So despite Steph having 31 in Game 3, we sit here today with the Celtics leading the series 2-1. And we know that the longer this series drags out, the more tired Steph is going to get. It’s the only thing they can rely on. So the Warriors just keep spamming this Steph Curry button and yesterday, it didn’t work. Partly because Steph was in foul trouble.
System vs. Hot hand
But also because the Celtics came out locked in. They were out here doing good team stuff, that no one had played like that collectively since Showtime. Because, unlike the Warriors who stand behind their one dude, the Celtics are much more independent as a collective.
They still play through Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown who, as this series continues to develop, are both becoming even more valued. The difference between the two is still there. Tatum - despite not being the most confident and outspoken leader - is still the number one guy. But when Tatum had the bad shooting night in Game 1, Brown was there to drive up the offense. The same didn’t happen in reverse in Game 2, but at least I know what I’m getting from the Celtics.
The scoring will be aimed to come through Brown and Tatum but for Golden State, the scoring will come from Steph and whoever has a hot hand for the night. It’s a lot murkier, it’s a lot more in the air. And because of that, it’s a lot more inconsistent.
The only other rock of continuity is Draymond and he doesn't score the ball. I get he adds a lot of playmaking. He's really good at setting picks - especially when the refs let him do whatever he pleases. I mean he was one of the 3 most important players on the floor in Game 2 - which was just an anarchy of fouls called. But when the Warriors don’t have a KD or a more reliable Klay, Draymond doing everything but scoring, being the glue guy of sorts is a little less appealing. Especially when Looney is on the floor - also not scoring.
Sure they would love Klay to score 25 a game every game - but we know that won't happen. We know Jordan Poole won't make up for Steph's bench minutes every time, We know Wiggins either has it or they don’t. But for the Celtics - you know what you're getting. That way - when things do get testy - when they do enter late-game situations - now you have a system to fall back on instead of it being so dependent on what's happening that game.