Steph Curry wanted to make statement early in Game 1. He reminded the world that Marcus Smart hadn’t guarded him in the playoffs before the game started and was true to his word about things being different as they face each other on basketball’s biggest stage. He got what he wanted, scoring 21 points in the opening period and shot 6 of 7 from beyond the arc after the Celtics inexplicably kept leaving him open from range.
However, as has already happened a few times during the regular season, an overreliance on one player bit the Golden State Warriors in the ass.
The Celtics were no slouches either, and and moved around the ball well and spread the scoring around the keep the game close even with Curry’s hot start. They used their hustle defense to get key stops on drives, and even though none of them scored more than six points in the first quarter, they were only behind 32-28 after 12 minutes.
Curry scored nothing in the second quarter, which opened the door for the Celtics. Boston’s balanced team offense paid off as they went on a 10-0 run to tie the game at 47 with 5:01 left in the second quarter before ending the first half with a 56-54 lead. Curry also picked up three fouls in the first half, which put the Warriors in an even more precarious position.
Curry broke his drought early in the third quarter with a floater, and once he got back in the flow of the offense the rest of the Warriors started to get into it a bit as well. Curry scored eight points in the quarter and Golden State hit six three-pointers in the third quarter as the Warriors outscored the Celtics 38-24 to take a 92-80 lead into the final stanza.
Then, without warning, the Celtics found an answer. When Curry and the rest of the Warriors went cold in the fourth, Boston went insane.
The Celtics went on an 26-11 run through the first seven minutes of the fourth quarter, and saw Al Horford put them up 106-103 with 5:08 left in the game. It looked like Boston couldn’t miss a three-pointer, and they outscored the Warriors 40-16 in the fourth quarter in a blowout 120-108.
There’s a lot of basketball to be played in this series, but this is not where the Warriors wanted to start off. Losing home court advantage against a team as good as the Celtics, who are battle-tested after beating the Nets, Bucks and Heat, is a rough outcome from Game 1.
Curry will not be enough to win this series. He finished the game with 34 points, five rebounds, five assists and three steals, but the other Warriors will need to step up. Andrew Wiggins is the only other Warrior that hit 20 points, while Klay Thompson and Jordan Poole combined for 24 points while shooting 8 of 21.
There are a lot of adjustments to be made heading into Game 2, but momentum is now squarely in Boston’s corner. Let’s see what changes Steve Kerr makes.