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Keys to the Game: Celtics 120, Warriors 108

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Key Moment

The Golden State Warriors entered the Finals as the best fourth-quarter team in the Playoffs.

Until the Boston Celtics gave them a taste of their own medicine in Game 1 Thursday night.

The C’s entered the final frame facing a 12-point deficit. In a matter of 12 minutes, they turned it into a 12-point win.

Boston outscored Golden State 40-16 in the fourth, fueled by 10 points from Jaylen Brown and a handful of clutch 3-pointers from both Al Horford and Derrick White. Golden State, which entered the night with a playoff-best 25.4 net rating in the fourth quarter, was held to a dismal fourth-quarter net rating of -105.6 in this instance.

Brown scored five quick points to start the quarter, and in a matter of two and a half minutes the Celtics were able to cut their 12-point deficit down to three. He created the first 14 points of the quarter, scoring 10 and assisting on four more.

After Brown’s barrage, the Celtics connected on five consecutive 3-pointers – one from Payton Pritchard and two apiece from Horford and White. And that’s when the C’s were just getting started.

White’s second 3-pointer of the quarter kick-started a 17-0 run, which turned a 103-100 deficit into a 117-103 lead. That stretch was more than enough to help the Celtics chase the Warriors right out of Chase Center with a 120-108 win.

Key Player

The Celtics had a bunch of stellar performances out of their starters in Game 1, but it was Derrick White off the bench who made the biggest difference in the game.

White tallied 21 points on 6-of-11 shooting from the field, including 5-of-8 from 3-point range. He also connected on all four of his free-throw attempts.

White had the best plus/minus rating in the game, as the Celtics were plus-25 during his 32 minutes of action and minus-13 during his 16 minutes on the bench. He made three of those daggers during the final 15 minutes of Game 1, and was a major catalyst during Boston’s fourth-quarter run.

Box Score Nuggets

  • The Celtics were led in the scoring column by Al Horford, who tallied 26 points on 9-of-12 shooting.
  • Steph Curry finished with a game-high 34 points, with 21 of those coming in the first quarter.
  • Jayson Tatum handed out a career-high 13 assists.
  • Horford made a career-high six 3-pointers.
  • Both teams coralled 39 rebounds.
  • Derrick White was a game-best plus-25 off the bench.
  • Rob Williams led the game with four blocks.
  • Boston shot 51.2 percent (21-of-41) from 3-point range.
  • Every Celtics starter started snagged at least on steal
  • Both Boston and Golden State led by as many as 15 points.

Quote of the Night

That’s kind of who we’ve been all year: tough grinders. A resilient group.

Ime Udoka on Boston's fourth-quarter comeback