Remember on Wednesday when I said the Celtics were going to have to lessen their turnovers to win game 3? Do you remember when I said the Celtics would need to withstand a third-quarter onslaught from the Warriors to win? Remember when I said this?
"The Celtics are going to be invigorated by their home crowd and they're going to suffocate the Warriors' offense. This series is going to be 2-1 in favor of Boston."
It turns out I was right. The Celtics were able to do all those things and indeed prove me right. Let's dive in.
The Splash Brothers Splashed Alone
Stephen Curry was still able to drop 31 points on 12-22 shooting, which included shooting 6-11 from beyond the arc. Klay Thompson had a less efficient 25 points on 7-17 from the floor. Andrew Wiggins added 18 points but was only 1-6 from outside. Draymond Green only had two points, fouled out, and was rendered ineffective. Jordan Poole had 10 points. This wasn't the worst performance from the rest of the team, but they need more to beat the stingy Boston Celtics.
In the era of small ball and small ballers, the Celtics proved an old basketball adage: size matters. Part of Draymond Green's lack of effectiveness was getting absolutely cooked on rebounds, especially by Robert Williams III. Green once said he could shut down Shaquille O'Neal in his prime. Green was flambéed; by 6'9 Williams all night last night. I find Green's Shaq fantasy to be just that—a fantasy. Overall, the Celtics outrebounded the Warriors 47-31. A 16-rebound parity is a ballgame, folks.
The only way the Warriors could outlast being dominated on the glass would have been to force turnovers. They didn't, as the Warriors turned the ball over 16 times. The Celtics turned the ball over only 12 times. It's simple, but by simply not giving the other team chances to score, you win.
Same old story, same old dance and pass. The Celtics had 28 assists. the Warriors had 22.
Points In The Paint
Points in the paint are always coveted since they're high percentage shots. The Celtics had 52 points in the paint compared to the Warriors' 26. That's double the amount. You can't win games without a presence in the paint, and with Green rendered useless, the Warriors don't have big men to protect the paint against the slashing wings of the Celtics.
The shooting stats are strikingly similar. It's not like the Warriors shot poorly compared to the Celtics. The Celtics were able to take more shots, however. You can point to rebounding for the answer there. Give Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown credit. Tatum was less than efficient but still scored 26 points on 9-23 shooting. Brown had 27 points on 9-16 points. Robert Williams III had 10 rebounds, 4 blocks, and 3 steals, and he out-muscled and out-hustled Green all game. The Warriors need to rain down threes to win games. It's clear that without that efficient scoring advantage, the Celtics have the better team to withstand the Splash brothers.
Game 4 is Friday at 9 p.m. EST.