2022 NBA Finals: Warriors vs. Celtics

24 thoughts on Game 3 of 2022 NBA Finals

Instant observations and real-time tweets from Game 3 of the 2022 NBA Finals as it happened in Boston on Wednesday night.

Game recap: Celtics 116, Warriors 100 (Boston leads, 2-1)

• Complete coverage: 2022 NBA Finals

Behind another dominant third quarter, the Golden State Warriors evened the 2022 NBA Finals at 1-1 on Sunday in San Francisco. But the series – and the home-court advantage – has shifted to Boston as Game 3 gets set to tip off from TD Garden. How important is Game 3? Let’s look to history: teams that win Game 3 of a 1-1 NBA Finals go on to win the series 82.1% of the time (32-7).

Here are 24 thoughts on Game 3 as it unfolded in Boston.

24. BANG! After missing the first two games of The Finals due to health and safety protocols, Mike Breen is back on the mic alongside his longtime partners Jeff Van Gundy (who returned in Game 2) and Mark Jackson, as well as Lisa Salters working the sideline. Props to Mark Jones for holding things down in Games 1 and 2. Does Breen unleash all the “BANGS” he didn’t use in Games 1 and 2 while he was sidelined tonight?

23. A few highlights from warmups, including Marcus Smart’s trademark backward shot and Steph Curry’s red-hot shooting (17 straight shots before tipoff). Oh, and the Warriors’ rim being two inches too high.

22. The Celtics have yet to lose back-to-back games in the 2022 postseason as they are 6-0 following a loss. In those six games, they have averaged 110.3 points per game on 46-39-83 shooting splits and won by an average of 15.5 points per game. Can they keep that streak going tonight?

21. Perhaps the best moment from yesterday’s media session was Klay Thompson discussing his recent shooting woes – 30.3 FG%, 26.7 3P% entering Game 3 – and searching YouTube for Game 6 Klay to watch some highlights when his shot was falling.

Klay may need to pull up the iPad on the Warriors bench because he’s missed his first two shots of the game – both from 3, both off the back rim.

20. The Jaylen Brown vs. Draymond Green matchup is one to watch, especially after their dust-up in Game 2. Midway through the first quarter, we get Brown 1-on-1 against Green on the perimeter. Brown uses a nice crossover to free himself for the shot and gets it to go.

Less than 90 seconds later, Brown gets the ball on the wing on a Boston fast break, but Green denies him at the rim. On the very next possession, Brown drives on Green for a lefty layup as the Boston crowd lets out a round of anti-Draymond chants.


19. Curry picks up his second foul with 5:44 remaining in the first quarter. Steve Kerr faces a tough decision on whether to risk the third foul early by keeping him in the game or risk seeing Boston’s 18-9 lead increase by taking him out. Kerr keeps Curry on the floor.

18. Al Horford is taking full advantage of the smaller Warriors’ defensive lineup on the floor, he’s up to seven points on 3-for-3 shooting to put Boston up 26-11 and force a Golden State timeout.

17. Another great start for Brown, who is up to 14 points late in the first quarter. He just got a dunk off a great backdoor cut and a perfect delivery by Smart. Warriors 15, Brown 14.

16. Thompson finally gets a 3 to fall late in the first quarter, adds a pair of free throws to cut the Boston lead to 11 at the end of the first quarter – Celtics 33, Warriors 22.

Boston shoots 55% (12-for-22) from the field and 40% from 3 in the first quarter, while Golden State shot just 35% (8-for-23) and 20% from deep.

15. Klay is officially heating up. In less than 90 seconds, he knocks down a 3, gets a pull-up jumper in the lane and a pair of free throws to give him 12 of Golden State’s first 29 points.

14. In Game 1, we got playmaker Tatum with a career-best 13 dimes as he struggled to hit shots. In Game 2, Tatum scored a team-high 28 points. But so far in Game 3, we’re getting the best of both: he’s knocking down shots and finding open teammates.

13. Boston is dominating inside in Game 3 – they’ve already hit as many field goals in the paint in the first 1 ½ quarters of Game 3 (12-for-14 with 5:31 left in 2Q) as they did in all of Game 2 (12-for-30).

12. Curry’s been able to stay in the game with his fouls, but it is clearly hampering his defense as he tries to avoid another whistle, which has been great for the Celtics’ offense.

11. A quick 8-0 spurt by the Warriors cuts the lead to nine and forces a timeout. In a span of 40 seconds, the Warriors got a 3-pointer from Thompson, a dunk by Wiggins and another triple by Curry off a Celtics’ turnover. Golden State has now scored 14 points off eight Boston turnovers.

10. A big sequence here late in the first half. After a Tatum drive and miss, Green grabs the rebound, takes a few dribbles upcourt and launches a pass to ignite a transition scoring opportunity for Golden State that can cut the lead to eight points. Instead, Horford breaks up the pass, gets the steal, passes ahead to Tatum who is still behind the play, Draymond recovers to defend Tatum, but no one ran with Brown as Tatum dishes off to him for a thunderous dunk to push the lead back to 12.

Here’s another angle:

9. With Brown leading the way with 22 points on 8-for-13 shooting from the field and 4-for-6 from 3-point range, Boston leads 68-56 at the half. After he started hot and sizzled off in Game 2, there was no cooling off in Game 3. Tatum added 11 points and five assists for Boston.

Thompson leads the Warriors with 15 points, recovering from a slow start and eventually finding his shot. Curry added 14 points on 6-for-10 shooting (2-for-4 from 3) despite the foul trouble and 13 points from Wiggins.

8. Will the Warriors deliver another third-quarter knockout? Throughout the series, Golden State is plus-35 in the third and minus-40 in all other quarters. Both teams open with the bigs doing the work – a layup by Robert Williams, a dunk by Kevon Looney and a layup by Horford.

Curry gets the guards going with his third 3-pointer of the game to cut the lead to 11. And another triple to cut it to eight in 2 ½ minutes. Curry draws a charge on the other end, but is unable to keep the run going with a missed layup. He then picks up his fourth foul on a transition 3-point attempt by Marcus Smart. A really bad foul on Curry, who’s been plagued by foul trouble all night long.

7. Throughout the playoffs, Curry has hit the goodnight celebration after delivering a knockout blow late in the game. Early in the third quarter, the Celtics turned the tables and caught the Warriors sleeping. After a turnover – Smart deflected a pass intended for Green, but the ball last touched Green before going out of bounds — the Warriors failed to get back in transition and Horford launched a near full-court pass to an open Brown for a dunk to give him 24 points, push the lead back to 13 and force a Warriors timeout.

6. This has to be the first seven-point possession I’ve ever seen. It begins with a Curry pull-up 3-pointer from about five feet behind the arc. Horford tries to contest the shot late and in doing so, fouls Curry and enters his landing area. So not only is this a potential four-point play, the officials review it and determine a flagrant penalty 1 assessed to Horford.

Curry gets two free throw attempts to complete the four-point play (he only needs one to get it), then it’s Warriors ball. On the ensuing possession, Otto Porter hits a wild 3-point shot to give the Warriors seven points without a Celtics offensive possession. The lead is now down to two points with 4:53 to play.

5. Curry with another triple to put the Warriors up 83-82 – their first lead since it was 2-0. After scoring 14 points in the third quarter of Game 2, Curry is already up to 15 in the quarter in Game 3.

Smart answers back with a 3-pointer for Boston to put the Celtics back in the lead – it’s his first 3 of the game.

The game stays within five points the rest of the quarter even with Golden State sitting Steph for the final three minutes to avoid another foul before the fourth. Klay is up to 25 points for the Warriors – a much needed bounce-back game from him.

4. So at the end of the third quarter, the Celtics maintain the lead 93-89, but the Warriors are right on their heels. Curry and Thompson combined for 25 points in the third quarter, matching the entire Celtics team. The Warriors won the period 33-25, making them plus-43 in the third quarter in The Finals.

3. The Celtics have a great response to open the fourth quarter, with a 9-2 run to push their lead back to double digits. The run included a pair of free throws for Tatum (he’s up to 20 points), a banked 3-pointer by Smart, a sweet turnaround jumper from Tatum and a putback layup by Grant Williams.

The only Warriors points in that span came on a sweet move by Jordan Poole to evade Williams’ rim protection.

Williams’ putback was the 13th offensive rebound of the game for the Celtics as they have dominated the glass. While the Celtics didn’t have an answer to the Warriors’ third-quarter avalanche in Game 2, they did respond here and it’s put them in a strong position to close the game.

2. The Warriors keep fighting, but Boston continues to answer. After a Curry 3 cuts the lead to eight, the Celtics go on a 6-0 spurt to push it back to 14. Again, much was made of the disparity in Finals experience between these teams, but you’re seeing a mature response from this Celtics team right now. They are not giving up control of this game.

We also have to shout out the Boston defense and a few monster blocks in the fourth quarter by Williams and Brown. Enjoy the block party below.

1. A crazy sequence with about four minutes left includes multiple players diving over one another and battling for a loose ball. It ends with Smart emerging from the pack with the ball and he’s fouled by Green, his sixth and final foul of the night. Curry’s leg was caught underneath Horford and he emerged from the play limping a bit.

Shortly thereafter, the Celtics delivered the knockout blow with this big-to-big alley-oop from Horford to Williams to put Boston up 112-98 with under four minutes to play.

A minute later, the Warriors waved the white flag and emptied their bench, conceding Game 3 and looking ahead to Game 4 less than 48 hours from now – the quickest turnaround between games in this series.

0. The final buzzer sounds on a 116-100 win for the Celtics. Boston got 27 points from Brown, 26 points and 9 assists from Tatum and 24 points from Smart.

Curry led all scorers with 31 points, while Thompson scored 25 points and Wiggins added 18 for Golden State.

What will Golden State have in response on Friday night (9 ET, ABC)? So far this series has gone back and forth each game; can they keep that pattern going or will Boston seize the opportunity to go up 3-1 on their home floor? We’ll be back on Friday night to find out.