Keys to the Game: Celtics 116, Warriors 100

Marc D'Amico
Team Reporter and Analyst

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Key Moment

What an epic response.

Boston had so many chances to give away Game 3 of the NBA Finals Wednesday night at TD Garden. It just refused to do so.

An 18-point, first-half deficit disappeared during the third quarter and turned into an 83-82 deficit following a Stephen Curry 3-pointer with 3:45 remaining in the period. All the Celtics did was respond by outscoring Golden State 34-17 the rest of the night.

The first step of Boston’s response arrived immediately following Curry’s 3-pointer. Ironically, it was taken via another 3-pointer – this time by Marcus Smart.

Jayson Tatum perfectly read a pick-and-roll with Robert Williams and hit a wide-open Smart on the left wing with 3:14 left on the clock. Without hesitation, Smart rose up and fired away a 3-pointer that splashed through the net to push Boston back on top.

That might have been the most important basket of the game, as it accounted for the final lead change of the contest. Jayson Tatum followed up Smart’s triple up with two free throws to bump Boston’s lead back up to 87-83.

Beginning with Smart’s 3-pointer, the C’s finished the quarter on an 11-6 run to carry a four-point lead into the fourth. They then limited Golden State to just 11 points during the final period to complete their 34-17 run to seal a 2-1 series lead.

Key Player

Jaylen Brown had a look in his eyes from the opening tip of Wednesday night’s Game 3 that said without words, “I won’t allow us to lose this game.”

Golden State learned that quickly as Brown exploded for 17 points during the first quarter alone. He led the game in points, rebounds (five) and assists (three) at the end of the opening frame.

Brown continued to soar the rest of the night, as he finished with a team-best 27 points to go along with nine rebounds, five assists and a very loud fourth-quarter block. What won’t show up in the stat sheet is how incredible Brown played at the defensive end as well, as he played a critical role in Boston limiting Golden State to just 11 fourth-quarter points as the C’s pulled away for the victory.

Box Score Nuggets

  • Boston outscored Golden State 52-26 in the paint.
  • The Celtics outrebounded the Warriors 47-31.
  • Stephen Curry led the game with 31 points.
  • Three Celtics scored at least 24 points: Jaylen Brown with 27, Jayson Tatum with 26, and Marcus Smart with 24.
  • Tatum also led the game with nine assists.
  • The contest featured no tie scores, other than the opening 0-0 score.
  • Klay Thompson scored 25 points for Golden State.
  • Robert Williams led the game in both rebounds (10) and blocked shots (four).
  • The Celtics committed only 12 turnovers.
  • Grant Williams and Jordan Poole tied for the top scoring mark off the bench with 10 points apiece.
  • Boston limited Golden State to just 11 points during the fourth quarter.
  • The Celtics made more free throws (17) than the Warriors attempted (15).

Quote of the Night

Al Horford on the TD Garden crowd