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Smart, Tatum, and Brown Combine for 77 points, Celtics win 116-100

Celtics rally in the 4th quarter to take a 2-1 lead in the NBA Finals

2022 NBA Finals - Game Three Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

The last time Boston hosted an NBA finals game, the Celtics withstood 38 points from Kobe Bryant and won 92-86. 12 years later, they’re back in the finals, and took a 2-1 series lead after a 116-100 victory. Jayson Tatum (26 points, 9 assists, 6 rebounds), Jaylen Brown (27 points, 5 assists, 9 rebounds), and Marcus Smart (24 points and 7 rebounds) led the way for the Celtics, who held the Warriors to just 11 points in final period.

Jaylen was the story of the first quarter, scoring 17 points on 6/9 shooting while adding 5 rebounds and 3 assists. As Brown was attacking Draymond Green, the always-hospitable Boston crowd graciously welcomed him with “Draymond Sucks” chants.

The Celtics went up 10-2 in the first two minutes, and whether it was Marcus Smart in the post or Jayson Tatum on the perimeter, the team made it a priority to attack Steph Curry. The plan worked, as he picked up two fouls by the 5:44 mark. After that dreadful second half on Sunday night, Boston came out firing and led 33-22 after the first quarter.

As the Celtics maintained a double digit lead for most of the second quarter, the struggling Klay Thompson found his shooting stroke and kept Golden State in the game. Around the five minute mark, they went on an 8-0 run in 37 seconds, cutting the lead to 9.

Tatum missed Brown on a fast break alley-oop earlier in the quarter, but after a Horford transition steal, he didn’t miss him this time.

Smart scored on two straight possessions in the final minute and the Celtics led 68-56 at the half. They shot 57 percent from the field, dished out 16 assists, and scored 32 points in the paint. After only scoring 15 two point field goals in game 2, they made 19 in the first half, and exerted control over the game from the opening tip.

As we’ve learned the hard way, the 3rd quarter Warriors are nothing to be trifled with. Steph hit two straight threes and cut the lead to 8, but then picked up his fourth foul on a Smart three point attempt. Nonetheless, he stayed in the game, and at the 5:06 mark, converted on a four point play. Because the shooting foul on Al Horford was upgraded to a flagrant, Golden State got an extra possession, and Otto Porter jr. drilled a heavily contested three pointer to cut the lead to 80-82.

At the 3:45 mark, the Warriors got another three by — you guessed it — Steph Curry, taking an 83-82 lead. They picked up the pressure, trapped Tatum on every ball screen, and forced the Celtics to operate out of isolation, a sharp contrast from their crisp first-half ball movement. The Warriors connected on seven 3’s in the quarter, and trailed the Celtics 89-93 going into the final frame.

Despite losing the momentum, Boston opened the fourth on a 9-2 run highlighted by Marcus banking in a three and Grant scoring on an offensive rebound putback. Timelord got the crowd going after this block on Steph:

Tatum converted on a contested layup at the 5:53 mark then he found Smart on a drive-and-kick for an open corner three. The next offensive possession, Draymond fouled out on a crazy loose ball sequence, and when the Celtics got the ball back, Horford found Timelord for the alley-oop. Then Smart put them up 114-100 with a floating bank shot, effectively ending any chances for a Warriors comeback.

While Steph finished with 31 and Thompson with 25, the Celtics held Draymond to two points in 34 minutes. They’ll look to take a 3-1 lead in Game 4 this Friday.

For more postgame coverage of the Celtics game 3 victory, tune into the the Garden Report Postgame Show LIVE on clnsmedia.com. Join A Sherrod Blakely, Bobby Manning, Josue Pavon, Jimmy Toscano and host John Zannis for a full breakdown. Plus, the guys will discuss the dominant 4th quarter defensive performance.