After Boston's balanced team of NBA Finals rookies found a rhythm from long range, the determined Celtics made a remarkable comeback and defeated Stephen Curry and the Golden State old guard.
Jaylen Brown scored 24 points to fuel the late charge, while Al Horford made six 3-pointers. The Celtics won Game 1 by 120-108 over the Warriors on Thursday night.
Horford ended the game with 26 points. The Celtics outscored Warriors 40-16 in the last 12 minutes, after trailing by 15 in the third quarter. The big man in his 15th year, now 36, has played in 141 postseason games. This is the most in any NBA Finals game.
"I felt like the guys kept finding my every need. Horford also said that Derrick White had some great shots there. "I was just trying to get the looks and knock them down. That's that."
Boston scored its first seven long-range tries in the fourth quarter. It also made 9 of 12 from beyond the arc during the period. Nearly everyone got involved in the 3-point flurry. Jayson Tatum, the only Celtics regular, was 3 for 17 on offense. However, he did manage 13 assists.
Curry scored 34 points on his return to the NBA's main stage after three years. However, the Warriors could not sustain their momentum from a 38 point third quarter that saw them lead 92-80.
Curry stated, "It's not perfect, but I believe it's who we are and what we do with adversity. How we dealt all year with it, how our response to it, how we react in the playoffs after losing," They made many shots in the fourth quarter. They didn't seem to miss any shots until the fourth quarter. It's difficult to regain momentum when you have a team like them that finds just a little bit more momentum and keeps making shots.
Chase Center will host Game 2 on Sunday night.
Sportradar reports that the Celtics were the first team in finals games to trail by more than 10 points after three quarters, and to win by more than 10. They are 8-2 in these playoffs on the road.
Payton Pritchard, a Boston guard, said that it was an incredible feeling to be competing against such a dynamic franchise in the past couple of years. "I think that we are all looking forward to the challenge of going through the series and trying to get it done.
White's 3 pointer against Curry, 5:40 left, tied the game at 103. Then Horford hit from deep to give the Celtics their first lead since halftime.
Boston wants to win its 18th record-breaking title. This would propel the Celtics past their Lakers rivals -- and Boston is only three wins away.
Brown, who was a star at nearby California College for one college season made consecutive baskets to tie the game at 47. There were 5:03 remaining before halftime, and the Celtics lead 56-54 at break. Golden State used a trademark third quarter spurt to take a huge lead. They scored 38 points.
Brown scored five quick points in the fourth, and assisted on a Robert Williams III alley-oop dunk as the Celtics pulled within 92-87 with 9 minutes remaining. After leading by four at the end of the fourth, Boston led 117-103 with a 20-2 run.