Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens has thrown his support behind Jayson Tatum despite the 2022 All-NBA First Teamer's down NBA Finals series.

Three-time NBA All-Star Tatum averaged only 21.5 points per game in the NBA Finals, shooting 50 per cent or better from the field only once in their 4-2 series loss to the Golden State Warriors.

Tatum also gave up 23 turnovers in the six games in the NBA Finals. The 24-year-old had a mixed playoffs, finishing with the most turnovers (100) by a single player in NBA postseason history.

However, Tatum was also outstanding in series wins over the Brooklyn Nets, Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat, including a remarkable 46-point haul in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals facing elimination against the reigning champions.

"I just told him to go on vacation," Stevens told reporters during a videoconference call. "Go get some rest."

"This guy gave us everything he had. When you look at the minutes, when you look at the games played ... I've said this many times: He's a superstar that doesn't want to sit. He wants to play, he wants to play all the time.

"I thought that in the Finals, he would be the first to say that he would like to have some of those moments back, but I thought there were other contributing factors to how he played."

Tatum, who was named in the All-NBA First Team for the first time in 2022, averaged career-highs with 26.9 points, 8.0 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game across the 2021-21 regular season.

The Celtics small forward shot at 45.3 per cent from the field across the regular season, dipping slightly to 42.6 per cent in the postseason.

During the playoffs, Tatum averaged 25.6 points, 6.7 rebounds and 6.16 assists but with 4.16 turnovers per game.

"We're all subjective in every moment and react emotionally, but when you start looking at it objectively and more so historically, what Jayson and Jaylen [Brown] have done in the playoffs, historically at their ages, is rarified air," Stevens said.

"I think we're very cognisant of the fact that even though Jayson would admittedly not have played his best series, there's no chance we're there without him and without all of his great play all the way through.

"I think back to all of the times ... Game 6 in Milwaukee was one of the best games I've seen an individual play in my time, certainly in person and with the Celtics.

"Without that performance, we would have had this discussion a month and a half ago."

Jayson Tatum was left with a "terrible feeling" after the NBA Finals series defeat as he called on the Boston Celtics to "take it up another level".

The Celtics struggled against Stephen Curry in Game 6, the Golden State Warriors winning 103-90 after he posted 34 points, hitting six-of-11 threes, while adding seven rebounds and seven assists.

That helped the Warriors to an unassailable 4-2 series lead and fourth NBA Championship in just eight years, while Curry claimed his first NBA Finals MVP award.

Golden State were 2-1 down in the series at one point, but a three-game winning run meant Boston's 14-year wait to win the NBA Championships continued.

Tatum expressed his frustrations after the match as he admitted the Celtics fell short of expectations.

"It's hard. It's hard getting to this point. It's even harder getting over it, the hump, and win it. It's been a long journey, a long process," the Boston star said.

"Being with this group, the things we've overcome throughout the season, getting to this point. Just knowing how bad we wanted it, coming up short. It's a terrible feeling.

"That's what I took from it: it's tough. You got to take it up another level to do what we want to do.

"We all could have done things better. I feel like I could have done a lot of things better. But, like we said, we competed, we tried all season, all playoffs."

Marcus Smart was speaking alongside Tatum and vowed that the Celtics will bounce back stronger after the experience of the Golden State defeat.

"For us, it's just hard-nosed, it's who we are," Smart added. "We're a family. We take and accept every challenge head on no matter the outcome, no matter the advantages we have or disadvantages.

"We're going to take it full-heartedly. The guys came out here and competed. We could have [given] up, but we didn't. I think that shows the foundation that we have here.

"We see what we're capable of. We got a taste of it. We want the whole thing. I know for a fact that we're going to be back a different team. We're going to put in the work. But this one's going to hurt."

The Golden State Warriors secured their fourth NBA Championship in the past eight years with a 103-90 away win against the Boston Celtics in Game 6.

With the win, the Warriors secured a 4-2 series win, coming back from a 2-1 deficit to rattle off three of the next four, including two road wins in Boston.

While the night ended in Golden State celebrations, the start was all Celtics, jumping out of the gates to a 14-2 lead.

The Warriors kept in touch, and then went on an explosive, game-winning run late in the first quarter, turning a 22-16 deficit into a 37-22 lead with a 21-0 run.

Golden State's defense rose to the occasion, out-playing the Celtics' league-best defense, holding the home side to 17 points in the second quarter to lead 54-39 at half-time.

The Celtics did not lay down, launching their own run late in the third quarter, closing the term on a 16-4 run to cut the lead down to 10 as Al Horford willed his side back into the game. Horford had 12 points, six rebounds and a block in just the third quarter.

Down the stretch, with the Warriors needing to steady, it would be their superstar who would stand up. 

Stephen Curry had 13 points in the fourth quarter to finish with 34 points (12-of-21 shooting, six-of-11 from three), seven rebounds and seven assists.

His performance capped off a series where he averaged 31.2 points, six rebounds and five assists, earning him the first Finals MVP of his Hall-of-Fame career.

Andrew Wiggins was the Warriors' second-best player all series, and he produced one of the best defensive games of his career in Game 6, holding Jayson Tatum to just 13 points on six-of-18 shooting, while taking four steals and blocking three shots.

Wiggins also added 18 points on seven-of-18 shooting, with six rebounds and five assists. With the performance, he scored at least 17 points in five of the six Finals games, and averaged a team-high 8.8 rebounds per game in the series.

Jaylen Brown was the Celtics' brightest star, scoring 34 points on 12-of-23 shooting, but he also had five turnovers, which was a theme for the hosts.

The Celtics committed 22 turnovers as a team – seven more than the Warriors – after committing 18 to Golden State's seven in their Game 5 loss. During the regular season, Boston averaged 13.6 turnovers per game.

Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka trusts in Jayson Tatum to stay aggressive while facilitating the team, heading into Game 6 of the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors on Thursday.

The Warriors have largely been able to restrict Tatum's scoring output on the way to taking a 3-2 series lead, with the Celtics now needing a win on home court on Thursday to save their season.

Tatum has averaged 23.2 points per game on 37.3 per cent shooting from the floor in this series, compared to the 27.8 points on 44.1 per cent in the preceding three series, despite an improvement to 47.5 per cent from beyond the arc against the Warriors.

More pertinently, however, his ability to feed teammates has diminished after setting a new career-high with 13 assists in Game 1.

Speaking to the media ahead of Game 6, Udoka believes the Eastern Conference Finals MVP and three-time All-Star can find the necessary balance to keep the series alive.

"From a scoring standpoint at times this whole series, not only in the fourth quarter, he's missed some things that he usually makes," Udoka said. "But we do want him to be aggressive and find that balance, as he's done all year.

"With Golden State specifically, they are trying to take him out of actions at certain times in the game, but it's on him to read that in positions where, understanding he's going to be doubled and be the bait at times and get everybody else involved.

"We have to make them pay as far as that. So, I wouldn't say his fourth is not as good or as bad as some of the other quarters. We want him to be aggressive and make the right read, which he's done all year."

On the other end, Boston's defensive approach on Stephen Curry changed in Game 5, but it freed up space for Klay Thompson.

The Celtics were much more aggressive guarding Curry coming out of the pick-and-roll in Game 5, but averaging 17.3 points on 35.8 per cent shooting in the opening four games, Thompson scored 21 points on an even 50 per cent. Thompson also shot five-of-11 from three, making up for Curry and Andrew Wiggins combining to shoot zero-of-15 from distance.

For Udoka, that is also a matter of balance.

"We don't feel we're as good as we had been in the first few games in other areas," he said. "Obviously, Curry got a ton of the credit for the shots he was making early, but our physicality and some of our adjustments we made on him were better.

"But we don't want to lose sight of everything else we've done well which is off-ball actions, whether he slips to the basket or Thompson, you saw our first two or three possessions, we had slips for layups to the basket.

"It was something we had taken care of well throughout the series as well as getting to Thompson. I think we lost the rope a little bit there."

Jayson Tatum has admitted that the Boston Celtics need to 'focus' on their game and avoid refereeing distractions following defeat to Golden State Warriors in Game 5 of the NBA finals. 

Andrew Wiggins starred in the victory that put the Warriors 3-2 up in the best-of-seven series, but Tatum outscored him in the game, putting up 27 as the Celtics went down 104-94. 

The Celtics' slow start proved to be costly, with the third quarter their best display, with decisions from the referees clearly irritating the team.

Tatum insisted those distractions must be ignored heading into Thursday's win or go home Game 6, though. 

"I mean, you saw it. I wasn't in all of those conversations. I didn't hear everything that was talked about," Tatum said.

"But in those situations, especially on the road, regardless if we feel like calls are going our way or not, just in those moments we just got to be better not letting distractions, things like that, distract us.  

"Down one going into the fourth quarter, just got to focus on what's important at the time. That's on all of us. We'll regroup and bounce back. I'm sure of it."

Despite the odds being against them, Tatum remains confident the Celtics can salvage the series with two games to play.

"You know, I've said it before: You better be confident, right? We ain't got to win two in one day. We just got to win one game on Thursday," he added.

"We've been in this situation before. So it's not over. Got to win on Thursday. That's all we got to worry about right now."

The Golden State Warriors showed their championship pedigree in Monday's 104-94 home win against the Boston Celtics in Game 5 of the NBA Finals.

With the win, the Warriors have taken a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven. Historically, when a seven-game series is tied at 2-2, the winner of Game 5 has gone on to win the series over 82 per cent of the time.

While it has been all Stephen Curry for the Warriors up this point, Game 5 was a true team performance as Curry struggled.

It started on the defensive end for the Warriors, holding the Celtics to just eight points in the first nine minutes of action on the way to a 27-16 opening frame.

Andrew Wiggins had seven points in the first quarter, and backed it up with another nine in the second, clearly the Warriors' best player in the first half as they won the second frame 24-23 to head into half-time leading 51-39.

A classic Warriors third quarter would have put the game to bed, but it was the Celtics' turn to flip the game on its head, starting the second half on a 10-0 run.

The road team would hit six-of-eight three-pointers in the period to pull ahead 74-72 in the closing stages, before a running heave from Jordan Poole banked in off the backboard to beat the buzzer. Replays showed the ball left Poole's fingertips with 0.1 seconds remaining on the clock, giving the Warriors a one-point lead.

Poole's launch ignited the crowd, and they carried that momentum in the opening stages of the fourth, starting the quarter on a 10-0 run of their own to take a stranglehold on the contest.

In the biggest moments, Wiggins did not cede the floor to Curry, scoring 10 points in the last quarter, capped off with an emphatic slam dunk.

Wiggins finished with a team-high 26 points on 12-of-23 shooting, backing up his career-high 16 rebounds in Game 4 with another 13 rebounds, two steals and a blocked shot.

Averaging 34.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.8 assists in the first four games, Curry went ice cold from long range as the series returned to Golden State, going seven-of-22 from the field and a shocking zero-of-nine from deep for his 16 points and eight assists.

It was the first of Curry's 133 career playoff games that he has not made a three-pointer, and breaks a streak of 233 consecutive total games without hitting one, and a streak of 38 straight playoff games with multiple makes.

Incredibly, Curry and Wiggins combined to shoot zero-of-15 from long range, but they received some crucial shooting performances from Klay Thompson (five-of-11 from three, 21 points) and Jordan Poole (three-of-six from deep, 14 points in 14 minutes).

Gary Payton II also played a big part in the win, coming off the bench to score 15 points on six-of-eight shooting, ripping away three steals and providing a game-changing presence on the defensive end of the floor.

Ultimately, the Warriors played playoff-proven, winning basketball. They finished with six combined turnovers as a team, with just four coming from the starters, and hit 86 per cent of their free throws (13-of-15).

For the Celtics, their big three of Jayson Tatum (four turnovers), Jaylen Brown (five) and Marcus Smart (four) combined for 13 of their side's 18 total turnovers, while they shot 67 per cent from the free throw line (21-of-31).

Tatum was the visiting side's top performer, finishing with 27 points on 10-of-20 shooting, going five-of-nine from long range, adding 10 rebounds and four assists, although he did miss four of his six free throws.

The Warriors now have a chance to close out the series – and secure their fourth championship in eight seasons – when they head to Boston for Game 6. If the Celtics are able to win Game 6, Game 7 will head back to Golden State.

Jayson Tatum simply stated "I've got to be better" after the Boston Celtics were downed by a Stephen Curry-inspired Golden State Warriors in Game 4 of the NBA Finals.

Curry put in a Finals performance for the ages at TD Garden, scoring 43 points as the Warriors levelled the best-of-seven series at 2-2 with a 107-97 triumph.

It could have been different with the Celtics holding a four-point buffer prior to Curry – playing with a left-foot injury – making a couple of fourth-quarter baskets as part of 10-0 run that swung the momentum.

Tatum had 23 points and 11 rebounds but he made just one basket when playing in the entire fourth quarter, with the Celtics draining only two shots in the final seven minutes, the Warriors outscoring the hosts 21-6 in that time.

Speaking after the game, Tatum said: "I mean, you've got to give them credit, they're a great team, they're playing well.

"But it's on me, I've got to be better. I know I'm impacting the game in other ways, but I've got to be more efficient – shoot the ball better, finish at the rim better.

"I take accountability for that, and I just look forward to Monday, and leave this one behind us.

"We'll learn from it, watching film and things like that, but everybody probably feels like they've got to do better, myself included. [We'll] just go get it on Monday."

Asked about Tatum's scoring trouble, head coach Ime Udoka said: "At times he's looking for fouls. They are a team that loads up [defensively] and certain games he's finding the outlets, and certain games he's shooting over two or three guys.

"That's the balance of being aggressive and picking your spots, and doing what he's done in previous games which is kicked it out and got guys wide-open looks.

"That's an ongoing theme, so to speak, him getting to the basket and being a scorer as well as a playmaker, and they do a good job with their rotations.

"But sometimes he's hunting fouls instead of going to finish, I've seen that in a few games so far."

Curry's tally of 43 was the second highest he has posted in a Finals game, and Udoka conceded there were some plays his team could do little to defend against.

"Obviously we're focused on him, and keeping others in check, but some of those were some crazy shots that were highly contested that he made," Udoka added.

"You look at the overall numbers, the attempts, getting those off is the number we don't like – the 14 [three-point] attempts in general – he came out bombing early, he had nine in the first half.

"Some of the threes he hit were highly contested, and you can't do anything about those, but when we did switch, it kind of got some cross-matches on guys on the rim, and he went after them a little bit later and made some plays."

The series heads back to San Francisco for Game 5 on Monday.

Draymond Green said Stephen Curry simply "wasn't letting us lose" as the greatest shooter of all time scored 43 points to carry the Golden State Warriors to a 107-97 road win in Game 4.

The win tied the series at 2-2, swinging home-court advantage back to the Warriors as they prepare to head back to Chase Center for Game 5.

Curry's ridiculous performance included going 14-of-26 from the field, and seven-of-14 from long range, while also grabbing 10 rebounds and scoring 10 of the Warriors' last 12 points in a tense fourth quarter.

Andrew Wiggins also had a night to remember, pulling in a career-high 16 rebounds to go with his 17 points, finishing with a plus/minus of plus 20 in his 43 minutes, meaning the Warriors were minus 10 in the five minutes he was on the bench.

Speaking to the media after the win, Green let it be known just how special Curry was when his team needed him most.

"Incredible – [Curry] put us on his back, willed us to a win, a much-needed win," he said.

"He came out and showed why he's one of the best players to ever play this game, and why this organisation has been able to ride him to so much success. Just absolutely incredible.

"He's one of the most resilient, toughest guys that I've ever played with. The way defenses guard him, they're constantly grabbing, and he just continues to play… he just continues to do what he does.

"It says a lot about his toughness, and his competitive nature, and what it truly means to be a winner."

When asked if he had a feeling Curry was going to bring it tonight, Green said there was no way they were heading back home trailing 3-1.

"Yeah, [Curry] wasn't letting us lose," he said. "That's just what it boils down to.

"You hear all the noise… I could tell in his demeanour the last couple days, after Game 3, that he would come out with that type of fire, and we were all able to follow."

Warriors head coach Steve Kerr echoed Green's sentiments about Curry's virtuoso performance.

"Just stunning," he said. "The physicality out there is pretty dramatic.

"Boston's got obviously the best defense in the league. They're huge, and powerful at every position.

"For Steph to take that kind of pressure all game long, and then still be able to defend at the other end when they're coming at him, I think this is the strongest physically he's ever been in his career, and it's allowing him to do what he's doing."

He also made sure to give a mention to Wiggins for his game-changing effort.

"'Wiggs' was fantastic – to go against Boston you've got to deal with [Jayson] Tatum and [Jaylen] Brown," he said. 

"They're just powerful, skilled players. Great size, they're coming downhill at you constantly, so we have to have Wiggs out there.

"I thought he was great defensively, and obviously 16 rebounds – a career-high – and [a plus/minus of] plus 20. We needed every bit of his contributions."

The Golden State Warriors produced a spectacular defensive second half to defeat the Boston Celtics 107-97 in Game 4 of the NBA Finals.

With the win on the road, the Warriors tied the series at 2-2, avoiding the dreaded 3-1 deficit that history shows is almost impossible to come back from.

From the jump, it was the Stephen Curry show, scoring 12 points in the first quarter to keep the Warriors in the fight, trailing 28-27 at quarter-time.

Eight quick points from Jordan Poole off the bench gave the Warriors a jolt to start the second period, before Jaylen Brown answered with 10 of his own. 

Ultimately it was the Celtics' defense controlling the second quarter, holding the Warriors to two-of-12 shooting from long range in the frame to win it 26-22 and head into half-time leading 54-49.

Everyone expected the Warriors to come out hot in the third quarter, and they did not disappoint, with Curry and Klay Thompson both hitting jump shots in the first 40 seconds, igniting a 30-24 period for the visitors.

Curry scored another 14 points in the third, with a late three giving the Warriors a 79-78 lead heading into the last.

All series the Boston defense has gone up a gear in the fourth quarter, but this time the Warriors gave them a taste of their own medicine, holding the home side to 19 points.

A Marcus Smart three-pointer with 5:18 remaining put the Celtics up 94-90, but they would score just three points the rest of the way, spanning nearly four minutes between Smart's bucket and Al Horford's three with 1:32 on the clock.

Curry capped off his magical performance with 10 of the Warriors' last 12 points, finishing with 43 points while shooting 14-of-26 from the field and seven-of-14 from long range. He added 10 rebounds and four assists.

Also shining when the Warriors needed him most was Andrew Wiggins, who snatched a career-high 16 rebounds, including some important offensive rebounds and put-backs with his team trailing, as he also chipped in 17 points and finished with a plus/minus of plus 20. His plus/minus trailed only Kevon Looney's plus 21.

For the Celtics, Jayson Tatum was solid, but scored inefficiently, with 23 points on eight-of-23 shooting, while adding 11 rebounds, six assists and three blocks. Brown was also respectable, scoring 21 on nine-of-19 shooting, while Derrick White added 16 off the bench.

Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart highlighted how the bumpy journey to this point is what makes his team so unified, after they produced a near-perfect defensive fourth quarter to defeat the Golden State Warriors 116-110 in Game 3 of the NBA Finals.

The win gives the Celtics a 2-1 series lead, with a chance to go up 3-1 by holding serve at home in Game 4.

In the process, the Celtics core of Smart, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown became the first trio since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson and Michael Cooper in 1984 to all have at least 20 points, five rebounds and five assists in a Finals game.

The Celtics needed to get up off the canvas after a trademark Golden State Warriors third-quarter run saw them claw back from a 12-point half-time deficit to take an 83-82 lead with just under four minutes remaining in the third.

In response, the Celtics held the Warriors to just 11 points in the fourth quarter, completely shutting down one of the most dynamic offenses in league history to lock up the win at home.


Smart, who has been criticised for trying to be too involved in the Celtics offense while neglecting his point guard duties, credited his star team-mates for helping him believe in his own scoring ability.

"The 'Jays' – Jayson and Jaylen – have done a really good job of encouraging me to be aggressive on the offensive end," he said. "And really understanding that for me, in this team, I have to be aggressive to help us win."

Smart's relationship with the 'Jays' goes deeper than basketball, and he said it took some growing up, as well as some tough conversations for the trio to become who they are today.

"First off, this is a family here," he said. "I grew up with the Jays.

"I've been playing five years with Jaylen, four years with Jayson. When my mom passed… they all came down to the funeral, so we've already had that bond.

"Early on in the season for us, it's just like it is with your siblings. 

"You get into it, you squabble, you're mad at each other – and then the next day you're laughing, talking, hugging… giving each other their roses, and that's what this team is.

"It started off shaky for us, but that right there is what helped us get to where we are now. We had to go through the storm to see the rainbow at the end of it.

"For me, I had to look myself in the mirror. Along with my team-mates, we had to have a heart-to-heart, we had to sit down and have that hard talk, and understand that what we're saying is to help each other.

"It's nothing bad, it's nothing personal, it's to help us get to where we want to be. It's crazy, we're here, and nobody thought we would be here… but we stayed with it, and that's why I'm proud of this team, and it's what makes us who we are."

The Celtics have done plenty of soul-searching this season, and it was the case again after a demoralising Game 2 loss, but Smart said he was determined to not let the Warriors "bully" his side.

"We pride ourselves on being a physical team, and for us, [Game 2] left a bad taste in your mouth," he said.

"Coming out of Game 2, hearing and knowing that we got beat up. It's just like anybody else, if you're in a fight with a bully or anything, you've got to keep going, you've got to stand up."

When asked if he feels like the Celtics are in a fight with a bully, Smart replied: "We definitely are, we got the Golden State Warriors, who have done this before, multiple times, and they understand what it's like to be here.

"We're that little guy that is new to the school, and they want to see exactly what you've got. They came out and punched us in our mouth in Game 2, and we responded.

"We watched the film – and that was a nasty film session for us. It was ugly, we had to sit there and watch the whole film.

"You have to look yourself in the mirror and get it together. Coming out today it was not a matter of 'are we going to be physical' – it was 'how physical are we going to be'."

The Boston Celtics have taken a 2-1 lead in the NBA Finals after defeating the Golden State Warriors 116-100 in Game 3.

In front of their raucous home fans, the Celtics started red-hot on the offensive end, highlighted by Jaylen Brown's 17 points in the first quarter to carry his side to a 33-22 lead at the quarter-time.

Boston's offense did not slow down in the second quarter, either, putting up another 35 points, but the Warriors were able to put up 34 themselves to stay within touching distance, down 68-56 at half-time.

Brown led the way with 22 points, seven rebounds and three assists in the first half – nearly matching his regular season averages of 23.6 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.5 assists.

For the Warriors, Klay Thompson had 15 points, Stephen Curry had 14, and Andrew Wiggins had 13, while the rest of the team combined for 12.

As has been a theme with the Warriors, they exploded once again in the third quarter, winning the frame 33-25 as Curry scored another 15 points in an eight-minute stretch.

The Warriors took the lead 83-82 with Curry's 15th point of the quarter, before the Celtics settled and fought back to take a 93-89 margin into the final break.

This Celtics team will be remembered as one of the finest defensive units of the modern era, and they relied on that end of the floor to pull out the win, holding the Warriors to just 11 points in the fourth quarter, while Jayson Tatum led the Celtics with eight down the stretch.

After setting a career-high of 13 assists in Game 1 of the Finals, Tatum showed it was no fluke, dishing another nine assists to go with his 26 points (nine-of-23 shooting). 

Brown cooled off late to finish on 27 points (nine-of-16 shooting) with nine rebounds and five assists, while Marcus Smart put up similar numbers, scoring 24 points (eight-of-17 shooting) with seven rebounds and five assists.

The game-changer for the Celtics, however, was Robert Williams III. The injury-plagued center showed exactly why he received Defensive Player of the Year votes and NBA All-Defensive Second Team honours, finishing with four blocks and three steals to go with his eight points and 10 rebounds. Williams also finished with a game-high plus/minus of plus 21.

For the Warriors, Curry was terrific, scoring an efficient 31 points on 12-of-22 shooting, hitting six-of-11 from long range, while Thompson had his best game of the Finals with 25 points on seven-of-17 shooting.

Public enemy number one in Boston was Draymond Green, and the crowd gave him a fitting send-off when he fouled out in the fourth quarter with just two points, four rebounds and three assists in his 35 minutes.

The Boston Celtics were left to wonder what might have been after a poor third quarter saw them lose Game 2 of the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors on Sunday, levelling the series at 1-1.

An underwhelming first half performance saw the Celtics trail by only two points, and after their incredible fourth quarter showing in Game 1, the hope for Boston was they could finish strongly again and take a commanding 2-0 lead.

However, after finding themselves trailing by 23 points by the time the final quarter arrived, they had left themselves far too much to do.

Celtics coach Ime Udoka blamed the amount of turnovers, saying after the 107-88 defeat at Chase Center: "That's been an ongoing theme in the playoffs so far. We've turned over the ball. Take teams out of scoring against us in the half court, give them some baskets.

"But it was more of the same in that third quarter. We had 11 for 18 points in that first half and gave up five or six more in that quarter. Kind of blew it open, and that hampered our offense, as well."

Jayson Tatum - who top-scored for the Celtics with 28 points, though ended the game with a minus-36, which is the worst plus-minus of the 24-year-old's career - agreed with Udoka on turnovers, but also pointed to the general sloppiness at the start of the third-quarter that saw the Warriors pull away.

"I think tonight, turnovers, and I think sometimes letting our offense affect how we defend, kind of was a little stagnant in the third quarter," Tatum said.

"I feel like it translated on the defensive end, and they got going and hitting shots and things like that."

Boston have now been outscored by at least 14 points on four occasions in the third quarter during this year's playoffs, and guard Derrick White also expressed his frustration at the increasing trend of losing the game just after half-time.

"Yeah, it's definitely frustrating," he said. "I mean, we've talked about it pretty much the whole postseason. It's easy to talk about, but we've got to go out there and change something.

"That was a big quarter for them and really a quarter that put us away."

The Golden State Warriors evened up the NBA Finals on Sunday, comfortably defeating the Boston Celtics 107-88 on Sunday.

Stephen Curry was at his transformative best, finishing up with 29 points on nine-of-21 shooting, six rebounds, four assists and three steals.

Pertinently, facing an 0-2 series deficit, putting Curry in high pick-and-roll actions with Draymond Green forced the Celtics into tricky defensive situations.

The Warriors were able to get the shots they wanted as a result of Curry's presence, as well as the lingering injury troubles of Robert Williams III affecting Boston's rim protection.

Gary Payton returned after his gruesome injury sustained against the Memphis Grizzlies and did not miss a beat in the Finals atmosphere, pitching in with seven points, three assists and three rebounds while providing critical defensive presence. 

They scored 40 points in the paint over the game in comparison to the Celtics' 24, while shooting 40.5 per cent from the perimeter.

This came despite Curry and Klay Thompson shooting a combined six-of-20 from beyond the arc.

After their offensive explosion in the fourth quarter to take the opening game, the Celtics shot 37.5 per cent from the floor, while 18 turnovers were critical.

The Dubs scored 33 points off those Celtics turnovers, blowing the game wout with a 35-14 third quarter, capped off with an extraordinary buzzer-beating three-pointer from half-court.

Marcus Smart was ineffective on both ends of the floor, failing to restrict Curry in pick-and-roll situations while going one-of-six from the floor and committing five turnovers.

The Golden State Warriors evened up the NBA Finals on Sunday, comfortably defeating the Boston Celtics 107-88 on Sunday.

Stephen Curry was at his transformative best, finishing up with 29 points on nine-of-21 shooting, six rebounds, four assists and three steals.

Pertinently, facing an 0-2 series deficit, putting Curry in high pick-and-roll actions with Draymond Green forced the Celtics into tricky defensive situations.

The Warriors were able to get the shots they wanted as a result of Curry's presence, as well as the lingering injury troubles of Robert Williams III affecting Boston's rim protection.

Gary Payton returned after his gruesome injury sustained against the Memphis Grizzlies and did not miss a beat in the Finals atmosphere, pitching in with seven points, three assists and three rebounds while providing critical defensive presence. 

They scored 40 points in the paint over the game in comparison to the Celtics' 24, while shooting 40.5 per cent from the perimeter.

This came despite Curry and Klay Thompson shooting a combined six-of-20 from beyond the arc.

After their offensive explosion in the fourth quarter to take the opening game, the Celtics shot 37.5 per cent from the floor, while 18 turnovers were critical.

The Dubs scored 33 points off those Celtics turnovers, blowing the game wout with a 35-14 third quarter, capped off with an extraordinary buzzer-beating three-pointer from half-court.

Marcus Smart was ineffective on both ends of the floor, failing to restrict Curry in pick-and-roll situations while going one-of-six from the floor and committing five turnovers.

The Boston Celtics stole home-court advantage with their impressive win against the Golden State Warriors in Game 1 of the NBA Finals – but it is a long series, and both teams have some adjustments to make.

In the Celtics' 120-108 victory, Jayson Tatum did not shoot the ball well (three-of-17 from the field), but made up for it with his playmaking, dishing a career-high 13 assists to take advantage of an outlier shooting performance from the rest of his team.

For the Warriors, a dynamic 38-24 third period had them leading by 12 heading into the last, before a fourth-quarter bombardment saw a 103-100 lead turn into a 117-103 deficit courtesy of a 17-0 run.

Stephen Curry was spectacular, with 21 points and a Finals-record six three-pointers in just the first quarter, going on to finish with 34 points, five rebounds, five assists and three steals.

With Game 2 scheduled for Sunday night, here is one key adjustment we could see from both teams as the series progresses, and a storyline to watch.

 

Warriors play no more than one big at a time

When the Warriors were at the peak of their dynasty, Draymond Green would play center, surrounded by four perimeter players.

Due to his excellent play this postseason – as well as playing all 82 regular season games, starting 80 – center Kevon Looney has earned a significant playoff role. 

He was the difference-maker when trusted with an extended run in his side's Game 6 closeout against the Memphis Grizzlies, collecting 22 rebounds, and he was terrific against a Dallas Mavericks side lacking a true center, averaging 10.6 points, 10.6 rebounds and three assists per game for the series.

To put the blame of the Game 1 loss on Looney is simply wrong. He was not just serviceable, he was good, with nine rebounds, five assists and three blocks in his 25 minutes – but the Warriors are simply not the same beast on the offensive end when he and Green are on the floor at the same time.

However, this does not mean they must bench Looney, but instead the Warriors may be forced into some difficult conversations about the effectiveness of Green in this series.

Green is no longer the explosive athlete he was at the peak of his powers – when he was clearly the best defensive player in the NBA – and without that athleticism he begins to feel like the 6'6 center that he is.

Calling him a non-factor on the offensive end is disrespectful due to his incredible basketball IQ and the value he adds with his ball-movement, passing and screening – but these are areas Looney has quietly excelled in as well.

Looney, significantly bigger at 6'9, matched Green with five assists, showing plenty of similar reads and the ability to function in a largely similar role on the offensive end. He also grabbed six offensive rebounds, providing serious tangible value in the form of extra possessions, while also being the Warriors' only real rim protector.

Green will likely not shoot two-of-12 from the field again – missing all four of his three-point attempts and all three of his free throws – but if he is weighing you down offensively while not bringing his once-outlier defensive ability, it just may be a Looney series against the real size of Al Horford and Robert Williams III.

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