The Golden State Warriors evened the series at a game apiece on Sunday night, winning 107-88. They split the two games in Oakland, I mean San Francisco. Boston is probably pretty happy about the split, whereas the Warriors know they should have won Game 1. Let's take a look at the things we have learned about these two teams.
Game of Runs
In Game 1, the Boston Celtics dismantled the Warriors 40-16 in the fourth quarter. The Warriors choked like a baby with a grape. It was an ugly ending that exposed the Warriors' inability to find consistent scoring outside of Stephen Curry. In game 2, the Warriors came out from halftime with a vengeance. They outscored the Boston Celtics 35-14. This includes a 25-2 run that the Warriors went on between the 3rd and 4th quarters. This run really exposed that the Celtics need to shoot the ball well to consistently keep up with the Warriors' barrage of points.
Boston has a 3rd quarter issue. Chris Mannix of SI noted this perfectly.
Boston has now been run off the floor in the third quarter of four games over the past three playoff rounds: 34–17 in Game 3 against the Bucks, 39–17 in Game 1 against the Heat and now twice against the Warriors. In Game 1 of the Finals, Golden State outscored Boston 38–24 in the third quarter before the Celtics’ fourth-quarter outburst.
In each game, the team who had more turnovers lost. Hard to say anything deeper than that. You have to take care of the basketball.
Sharing Is Caring
In both games, the team with more assists won the game. This margin is admittedly slim. In Game 2, the Warriors had only one more assist than the Celtics did. The parity in Game 1 was noticeably larger, however.
It's also worth noting that the team who had more players in double figures (in terms of scoring) has won both contests. Sharing the scoring load almost always leads to a better team outcome.
Shooting The Basketball
Boston was held to 37% from the floor in Game 2. The Warriors shot 45% from the floor. These two quarters in each game decided the outcome.
Draymond Green Is The New Worm
Draymond Green is profoundly irritating. Full disclosure: I can't stand him. He's a dirty player. He certainly knows his role, though. Look at this offensive line style of play.
I didn't know you could shove people in the NBA anymore. It doesn't matter. With Green, even an old-school "pantsing" is fair game.
I am reminded of this quote from Rick Mahorn. Mahorn, being one of the Pistons' "Bad Boys," gets forgotten because of guys like Dennis Rodman and Bill Laimbeer. However, he invented the archetype that Green is playing like.
Mahorn once said that his play was like speeding on the highway. You're going to speed just a few miles over the speed limit at all times. You might get caught every now and again, but most of the time, you're not. So you speed. Mahorn would often set screens like brick walls. He'd leave small guards in puddles on the floor. Draymond Green is cut from the same cloth.
Last Thing We Learned
There's no way this series doesn't go at least six games, if not the full seven. The back-and-forth nature of the way the Warriors win games with the Celtics will to survive a series pretty much guarantees a long series.