Keys to the Game

Keys to the Game: Celtics 92, Warriors 88

Key Moment
Key Player
Box Score Nuggets
Quote of the Night

Key Moment

There were so many key moments to Boston’s incredible victory over the Golden State Warriors Thursday night.

There was the 19-0 run late in the third quarter.

There were the clutch free throws during the final 14 seconds of the game to seal the win.

There were the critical stops at the defensive end of the court.

Above all of them, however, are two plays that will garner very little attention. They were both defensive rebounds, and they were essential to Boston pulling off its improbable comeback.

The first rebound was hauled in by the game’s MVP, Jaylen Brown, with 36.4 seconds left in the contest with the score tied at 88-88.

Draymond Green was left wide-open, with no Celtic within 10 feet of him, at the top of the key. In reality, the C’s probably didn’t hate that fact, as Green is not known as a marksman from long distance. He wasn’t a marksman on this shot, either.

Green bricked the shot off the back of the rim and the miss bounced away from the basket and outside of the restricted area. Two players, Brown and Andre Iguodala, were in position to grab the board.

Both players are freak athletes, and Iguodala has the edge in length. Brown, however, might be the more physical player, and it showed on this particular play.

Brown backed into Iguodala to bump the Golden State wing slightly off balance as they both rose up for the rebound. Brown jumped with perfect timing and rose higher into the air than Iguodala, with full extension, to haul in the board.

The rebound could have easily gone either way, but Brown, the second-year player, won the battle over the seasoned vet.

Boston went on to score two free throws on its next possession. Kyrie Irving drew a foul and nailed both shots from the charity stripe to put Boston ahead by two with 14.0 seconds left.

Al Horford grabbed the next critical rebound, and it led to the exact same result.

Immediately following Irving’s free throws and a timeout by Golden State, Kevin Durant caught an inbound pass along the baseline of the Warriors frontcourt and turned and fired for a catch-and-shoot jumper. His jumper missed long, and Horford was waiting on the other side of the rim to pull down the rebound that sealed the game.

Boston’s big man pulled in the loose ball took a couple of dribbles, and then got it into the hands of Marcus Smart. Smart tossed an outlet pass to Jayson Tatum, and Tatum was quickly fouled by Stephen Curry.

Tatum connected on both free throws to ice the game with 6.7 seconds left, capping a 92-88 win for Boston.

This win doesn’t occur without everything that was outline above. The C’s needed a 19-0 run, they needed to make their free throws, and they needed to force key misses. Had they not grabbed those two critical rebounds, however, Golden Stats may have been the team exiting TD Garden with a momentous victory.

Key Player

You’re going to hear a lot about Jaylen Brown, the courageous, 21-year-old forward of the Boston Celtics. He played with a heavy heart Thursday night, but as heavy as his heart was, Brown showed the world that it’s full of incredible strength.

Brown’s best friend passed away last night. The forward took all day today to decide whether or not to play against Golden State. In the end, he chose to take the court, and the Celtics would not have won this game had he not done so.

Brown scored a team-high 22 points on 7-for-18 shooting, and 11 of those points were scored during the third quarter, which was the most pivotal quarter of the game. The Celtics battled back from 17 points down to take a lead in a matter of minutes during the third, and Brown was at the center of it all with his inspiring play.

As outlined in our Key Moment section, Brown also hauled in what should be considered as the most important rebound of the game, with 36.4 seconds remaining in the game. Brown finished with seven boards, and he also grabbed two steals and blocked two shots. The C’s outscored the Warriors by eight points while he was on the floor.

Box Score Nuggets

  • Kevin Durant scored a game-high 24 points.
  • Jaylen Brown closely trailed him with 22 points.
  • Boston outrebounded Golden State 52-47.
  • The C's won the game despite shooting 32.9 percent from the field.
  • Boston made 21 more free throws (33) than the Warriors (12).
  • Stephen Curry was limited to just nine points on 3-for-14 shooting.
  • The contest featured 10 lead changes and 11 ties.
  • Al Horford notched the game's only double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds.
  • Curry led the game with four steals.
  • Draymond Green led the game with three blocked shots.
  • All five of Boston's starters scored between 12 and 22 points.
  • No reserve in the game scored more than eight points.
  • Boston outscored Golden State 18-5 in second-chance points.

Quote of the Night

They were just tougher and smarter.

Warriors head coach Steve Kerr on Boston's play in crunch time.

Key Player