In Game 2 of the NBA Finals, the Golden State Warriors sent a a loud statement that they aren’t finished, beating the Boston Celtics 107-88. Jayson Tatum had a tremendous bounce-back game after a poor shooting night in Game 1, finishing with 28 points (but a -36). Stephen Curry put in his second tremendous performance in a row, putting up 29 points.
The first quarter got off to a fast start. Jaylen Brown (17 points) picked up right back from where he left off Game 1 with insanely hot shooting right from the start. The Celtics played very solid basketball, but a few . . . questionable . . . calls by a crew led by Tony Brothers and Zach Zarba halted the momentum. From there, Boston did the rest of the work with turnovers down the stretch. In the closing minutes, Boston handed the ball back 5 times. Golden State went into the second quarter up one point.
The silver lining was that Jayson Tatum finally got it going, with a flurry of 3-pointers that started as the first quarter approached its end.
Boston regained its composure with a better start to the second quarter. With fewer turnovers and Golden State giving Jordan Poole the ball (hehe), Boston was able to create a bit of separation. Tatum continued to play loose with the ball, but he made up for it with sensational shot making.
Unfortunately, the game flow was interrupted again due to . . . well, you know.
That being said, it would have been a double-digit lead for Boston if they turned the ball even half as much, so much of their wounds were self-inflicted.
The second half started with more of the same. Stephen Curry (29 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists) continued his array of shots, which connected the offense missing significant contributions from Klay Thompson. He wants that elusive Finals MVP trophy badly given how he’s played these first two games. Golden State extended the lead to 17 behind an 11-0 run. Curry really is the engine propelling this team because pretty much no one else is stepping up on the offensive end.
Defensively, the Warriors did a much better job frustrating Boston. Besides the careless turnovers, Boston’s spacing was really ugly at times. Things took a turn fo the worse when Jordan Poole (14 points) got it going to end the third quarter with a buzzer-beating half-court shot that pushed Golden State’s lead to 23 through three quarters.
At the beginning of the fourth quarter, Boston continued to turn over the ball over, leading to Udoka waving the white flag early. We saw an all-bench lineup with more than nine minutes left in the game as the lead ballooned to 29 points for Golden State.
Al Horford (2 points, 8 rebounds) and Marcus Smart (2 points, 5 assists) played great in Game 1 but came out flat in Game 2. After picking up his second foul in the first quarter, Jaylen Brown cooled off significantly. Robert Williams didn’t look quite right in his minutes today, and outside of Derrick White, the Celtics bench didn’t really do much until early garbage time in the fourth quarter.
The Celtics are going to need to figure out the third quarter if they want Banner 18. They can’t keep losing quarters by 20 points and win a title. They also need to limit the turnovers. This has been true all playoffs long – turn the ball over, you lose. Tatum had 4, Smart had 5, and Derrick White had 3. As a team, Boston gave it up 18 times. Unacceptable.
However, if you told me the Celtics would go back to Boston tied 1-1 with the Warriors in the NBA Finals a week ago or even earlier this morning, I’d be satisfied. Try not to let the way we got there be too discouraging. Game 3 will hit your TV Wednesday night at 9 p.m. ET as both teams will seek a 2-1 lead in this best-of-seven series.
Celtics in 5 is still alive!
For more postgame coverage of Game 2 of the NBA Finals, tune into the the Garden Report Postgame Show LIVE on https://www.clnsmedia.com/ 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 Jayson Tatum finding his shot again.