Boston Celtics power to a 2-1 lead in the NBA Finals despite Steph Curry’s 31-point display as smothering defence moves the hosts just two wins away from a record 18th championship
- Golden State Warriors had levelled the series at 1-1 before first away trip
- In front of a raucous home crowd, Boston Celtics took control of the NBA Finals
- Steph Curry had a game-high 31 points but in the end the Celtics powered home
- But the Warriors had no answer to Boston center Robert Williams
The Boston Celtics powered past the Golden State Warriors with a score of 116-100 to take a 2-1 lead in the third game of the NBA Finals series.
The Warriors were unable to carry enough of the momentum from their accomplishment of levelling to 1-1 in the second final to snatch the third.
A nine-point Warrior run in the first quarter brought them one point behind, but the Celtics dominated for rest of the first half and went into the break with a 12-point lead at 56-68.
Steph Curry ended up on the losing side with Golden State Warriors despite 31 points
Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum was impressive in front of the home crowd
Curry smiles despite the loss and the Warriors will now have to regroup for Game Four
They took the lead briefly in the third quarter at 83-82, but were quickly beaten back again for a final score of 116-100.
Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart combined for 77 points.
Brown scored 17 points in the first quarter and the Celtics shot 57% from the floor in the first half to go into the halftime break up by 12.
The Warriors came out firing in the third quarter and briefly took the lead on a three-pointer by Steph Curry, who had a game high 31 points.
But the Celtics used their superior size to dominate the glass while their smothering defence led to 16 Golden State turnovers.
‘I wanted to impose my will on the game and be aggressive,’ said Tatum, who finished with 26 points and nine assists.
‘Whether I miss shots or not, I’m going to keep playing. My team mates believe in me to make the right play to get the best shot. All that matters is that we got the win.’
The Warriors, who suffered a fourth quarter collapse in Game One before responding with a blowout win in Game Two, struggled to match Boston’s physicality throughout.
One positive sign for the Warriors was that Klay Thompson, who had poor shooting performances in the first two games of the series, came alive on Wednesday, scoring 25 points.
But the Warriors had no answer to Boston center Robert Williams, who grabbed 10 rebounds and helped the Celtics outscore the Warriors 52-26 in the paint.
Jaylen Brown dunks and scores in the first half during game three at TD Garden
Boston Celtics center Robert Williams typified his team’s defensive efforts on court
‘He’s a presence at the rim at both ends,’ Tatum said of Williams.
‘He’s one of the best shot contesters in the league, and you’ve got to respect him at the rim as a lob threat. He puts so much pressure on the defense just by being out there.’
Tatum said the Celtics must keep their guard up against the experienced Warriors, who are appearing in their sixth Finals in eight years.
‘We’re going to watch film, build off this, and get ready for the next one because we know they are going to come out extra aggressive and more prepared,’ he said.
The Celtics are now two wins away from a record 18th NBA Championship, with Game Four set for Friday in Boston.
A victory in Game Four would put the Celtics just one win away from the championship
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