Finals MVP Steph Curry finished with 34 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists on 57 percent shooting. Draymond Green had 12 points, 12 rebounds, 8 assists, and several spectacular defensive plays. Jaylen Brown (34 points and 7 rebounds), Al Horford (19 points and 14 rebounds), and Robert Williams (10 points, 5 blocks, 5 offensive rebounds) were valiant in defeat, but the Celtics allowed 19 three-pointers and finished with 22 turnovers.
Boston got off to a scorching start. The perimeter players were laser focused on D, not allowing any separation on the spit cuts. Offensively, they threw it to Marcus Smart in the post while he was defended by Curry. Tatum and Brown hit back-to-back threes to give the Celtics a 12-2 lead at the 9:25 mark, forcing Steve Kerr to call an early timeout.
They took a 14-2 lead after a Tatum step-back, but it was all downhill from there, as the Warriors would go on a 52-25 run to close the half. Gary Payton II flipped the momentum upon subbing in with 5:24 remaining, playing his usually pesky defense, drawing a second foul on Smart, then converting on an offensive rebound put back. Draymond and Curry then hit consecutive threes, and after Jordan Poole hit a bank three — his specialty — the Warriors led 27-22 by the end of the quarter.
The Warriors then went up 10 after Poole hit another deep three, then Klay Thompson found Andrew Wiggins for a transition layup. After Ime Udoka called timeout, the exact same sequence happened. Poole hit a three, and Wiggins scored another transition layup when Jaylen lost the ball on a drive. The Warriors led 37-22 at the 9:55 mark, scoring 21 straight points, and Udoka had to call his second timeout in two minutes.
This time, the guys got the message, and the Celtics went on a 7-0 run, cutting the lead to single digits. This Robert Williams block on Steph led to a Tatum Euro-step finish in transition:
That was the closest Boston would get the rest of the half. The Warriors went on a 14-4 run over the next four minutes. Klay hit Golden State’s 10th three of the half and they took a 54-33 lead. The Celtics mustered up some last minute offense to cut it to 54-39 at halftime.
After 24 minutes of play, The Warriors shot 43 percent from three, grabbed 9 offensive rebounds, and forced 13 turnovers. We know Boston never wins when they have over 15 turnovers. Thompson and Curry each scored 12 while Tatum and Smart each had three fouls. The game wasn’t over, but it certainly looked ugly.
The TD Garden crowd was silent in disbelief, but temporarily woke up as Al Horford hit three 3’s over the first six minutes of the third quarter. But on the other end, the Warriors got any shot they wanted, and a Steph three from the logo gave Golden State a 72-50 lead at the 6:12 mark.
The crowd went from nervous to dejected, but the Celtics kept battling, going on a 12-2 run over the next four minutes, with seven of the points coming from Jaylen. With 44 seconds remaining, Tatum found Horford for the and-1 finish, cutting the lead to nine. Horford then swatted a Poole layup into the third row, and the crowd returned to its natural rowdy state, but it was quickly silenced when the surprisingly sharp-shooting Draymond hit an 18 footer. Golden State led 76-66 going into the fourth quarter.
Both teams cooled off offensively to start the final frame. Boston could never make a major dent in the lead. Tatum finished with only 13 points, as Wiggins (4 steals and 3 blocks) played suffocating defense, but Brown and Horford’s 3’s kept them in the game. Curry scored 13 fourth quarter points on an array of deep threes and finger rolls. The Warriors would win the game 103-90.
And there it is, folks. Season over. No, it doesn’t feel great losing three straight finals games and Game 6 at home, but the fact we even got here is nothing short of spectacular. This was a disjointed, underachieving team in mid-January, and they had maybe the greatest single season turnaround in NBA history.
Tatum made tremendous strides as a playmaker. Brown fine-tuned his isolation scoring. Smart proved he could be the lead ballhandler on a championship team. Horford found the fountain of youth, and Timelord turned into a destructive two-way force who might sniff an all-star appearance next season (if healthy). Grant and White were the perfect complementary players, and Pritchard might develop into the ballhandling bucket-getter this team needs.
Everyone’s under contract for next year. Maybe they’ll add a veteran bench player with the mid-level exception. The 2022-2023 team will have championship expectations, and I think I speak for everyone when I say training camp can’t come soon enough.
For more postgame coverage of the Celtics game 6 loss, tune into the Garden Report Postgame Show LIVE on CLNS Media right after the game. Join A. Sherrod Blakely, Bobby Manning, Josue Pavon, Jimmy Toscano, and host John Zannis for a full breakdown. Plus, the guys will discuss the team’s improbable run to the finals.