2022 NBA Finals: Warriors vs. Celtics

24 thoughts on Game 6 of 2022 NBA Finals

Instant observations and real-time tweets from Game 6 of the 2022 NBA Finals as it happened in Boston on Thursday night.

The Warriors are presented with the Larry O'Brien trophy after knocking off the Celtics in Game 6.

Complete coverage: 2022 NBA Finals

The Warriors enter Thursday’s Game 6 one win away from capturing their fourth NBA title in eight seasons after taking Game 5 in San Francisco three days earlier. While Stephen Curry failed to make a 3-pointer for the first time in his playoff career, Andrew Wiggins stepped up to deliver 26 points and 13 rebounds in Golden State’s 104-94 win.

If Golden State hopes to clinch the title in its first opportunity, they will have do something they have yet to accomplish this postseason — close a series on the road. The Warriors are winless in three road closeout games, while the Celtics are 3-0 in elimination games. Will those trends hold and send the NBA Finals back to San Francisco for Game 7 on Sunday?

Here are 24 thoughts on Game 6 as it unfolds in Boston:


24 — The Larry O’Brien championship trophy is inside the TD Garden, which will host its final game of the 2021-22 season tonight. Whether it’s the final game of the NBA season, or if there will be one more to play Sunday in San Francisco, remains to be seen. The players have made their arrivals, everyone is warmed up — including Marcus Smart’s signature flip — and we’re ready to tip this one off. Can the Celtics strike first behind a raucous home crowd?


23 — The answer to that last question is a resounding yes, as the Celtics jump on the Warriors from the opening tip and take a 12-2 lead after a Jayson Tatum 3-pointer off a Golden State turnover.

 


22 — Andrew Wiggins drains a straight-on 3 to stop the bleeding at a 12-0 run by Boston. Klay Thompson follows it up with a tough runner in the lane to cut the lead to 14-7. After a layup by White, Klay strikes again, this time from 3-point range to cut the lead to 16-10. Can the Warriors survive this initial punch from the Celtics and keep this close in the first quarter?

 


21 — So far it looks like Golden State has weathered the storm from the Celtics as the teams have traded buckets and its 22-18 Boston with 2 1/2 minutes left in the opening quarter.

Draymond Green for 3! After missing his first 12 3-pointers of the series (including going 0-for-11 through the first five games) Green knocks down an open corner 3 to make it a one-point game.

Another Boston miss is followed by the signature relocation 3-pointer from Stephen Curry. His fast break drive is stopped, he passes to Gary Payton II on the right block, then circled around to the corner for the open 3-pointer. It’s good and Golden State has its first lead of the game.

It’s up to an 11-0 run for Golden State as Jordan Poole splashes in a banked 3 (I’m sure he called “glass”) after a great defensive play by Andrew Wiggins to block the driving layup attempt by Derrick White. Defense to offense and a five-point lead for the Warriors.

At the end of the first quarter, the Warriors lead 27-22. That’s a 17-point turnaround in the opening quarter after Boston led by as many as 12 points early. Impressive response by Golden State.


20 — And the Warriors’ run continues to begin the second quarter. After a missed layup by Wiggins, Draymond Green gets the offensive rebounds and finds Poole for another 3-pointer, he’s 3-for-3 to start the game and has eight points already. After a missed layup by Derrick White, the Warriors get out in transition with a Wiggins layup to push the lead to double digits. Ime Udoka calls a timeout just 50 seconds into the second quarter and his team down 32-22. The Warriors are now on a 30-8 run after trailing 12-2 early.


19 — Here we go again. Poole with a missed 3, Green with an offensive rebound and finds Poole for another long-range attempt. No hesitation from Poole and this one is good. Another turnover by Boston leads to a fastbreak dunk by Wiggins and another timeout by Boston. That’s two timeouts and we’re not even two minutes into the quarter. The lead is up to 15 as the Warriors current run is up to 21-0 and their overall run from early in the game is up to 35-8. Wow!


18 — This is an incredible response by the Warriors and is really going to test the mental toughness of this Celtics team after being hit by such a haymaker. They are like a boxer getting a standing eight count right now. The fight’s not over, but they have to recover and do it fast before this gets out of hand.

And just like that, Boston responds with a 7-0 run, starting with a Jaylen Brown 3-pointer, followed by a Brown pull up and a Tatum layup. The lead is down to eight with eight minutes left in the half.


17 — The runs in this game so far are wild:

• 14-2 Boston to open the game and take a 12-point lead
• 38-8 Golden State to take a 15-point lead
• 7-0 Boston to cut the lead down to eight

And here we go again … the Warriors hit the Celtics with a 17-4 run to take a 21-point lead.

Here’s Curry going with the Top Gun “I’m gonna hit the brakes, he’ll fly right by” move.


16 — More from this Warriors run, including Draymond Green being on triple-double watch as he’s up to six points, six rebounds and five assists in the first half.

Turnovers (12 by Boston) and offensive rebounds (nine by Golden State) and crushing the Celtics right now.

Boston scores the final six points of the half to cut the lead down to 15 at the halftime break. That could be important if they can keep that momentum going into the third quarter.


15 — Golden State leads 54-39 at the half. It’s the second straight game that Boston has been held to 39 points in the opening 24 minutes.

Jaylen Brown lead all scorers with 14 points, while Tatum is the only other Celtic in double figures with 11 points. The Warriors have four players in double figures, led by the Splash Brothers — Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson each with 12 — another 11 from Jordan Poole off the bench and 10 from Game 5 hero Andrew Wiggins.


14 — Draymond Green is auditioning to be the third Splash Brother as he opens the second half with his second corner 3 of the game. He’s 2-for-4 from deep tonight after going 0-for-11 in the first five games.

After the teams trade buckets — including 3-pointers by Al Horford and Otto Porter Jr. — Steph Curry strikes again as good ball movement by the Warriors leads to a solid look from deep for Curry off a Draymond Green screen. The three is good and the lead is back up to 19 for Golden State.


13 — Al Horford is lighting is up from deep early in the third quarter, he’s got three 3-pointers already. But the Warriors keep answering. Curry with another triple — his 151st of his Finals career — and the lead has ballooned to 22. Timeout Boston as Curry points to the ring finger.


12 — A quick 5-0 burst from Boston and Steve Kerr calls a quick timeout to stop the momentum early.

But the timeout doesn’t stop the bleeding at Boston continues to inch away at the lead. First a 3-pointer by Brown — he’s up to 21 points on the night — cuts it to 14 off a great pass from Marcus Smart.

Klay tries to respond with a 3 on the other end, but “Game 6 Klay” doesn’t quite have it going tonight. Brown goes right back at the Warriors with a hard drive against Jordan Poole for a tough layup to cut the lead to 12 and force another timeout by Golden State.


11 — Al Horford is not trying to see his first NBA Finals end tonight. First, he converts an old-fashioned three-point play with a layup and-1 against Klay Thompson. Then he follows it up with a huge rejection on a drive by Poole. That’s seven blocks for Boston on the night.


10 — A big 18-foot jumper off the inbounds pass by Draymond Green. He’s had some timely offense for the Warriors tonight. He’s up to eight points, nine boards and seven assists as he pushes the lead back to 11.

Brown stays aggressive as he drives and draws a foul with five seconds remaining in the quarter. He splits the free throws to make it a 10-point game.

Jordan Poole tries to beat the three-quarter buzzer again, but this shot is off. That magic is reserved for the Chase Center.

At the end of three quarter, Golden State leads 76-66. Brown (24 points) and Curry (21 points) lead their respective teams as we head the final 12 minutes of the night — and possibly the season.


9 — The fourth quarter starts with some key players on the bench to get their final rest before the final push — Curry for Golden State and both Tatum and Horford for Boston. It will be interesting to see how long the coaches hold them out.

The Warriors strike first in the fourth quarter with this dunk by Gary Payton II off another Boston turnover.

A Smart layup is followed by free throws by Jordan Poole after Robert Williams III thought he had his fifth block of the night. That’s all the rest Horford and Tatum are going to get as they return with 9:45 to play. Tatum is scoreless in the second half so far, the Celtics are going to need him to get going if they hope to keep their season alive.


8 — After a nice reverse layup by Poole to push the lead back to 14 with nine minutes to play, Tatum scores his first points of the second half with a dunk off a great cut and a beautiful pass from Robert Williams III.

The Time Lord doesn’t just drop dimes from the perimeter, he also blocks 3-point attempts as he rejects Poole’s long-range attempt. What a play by Williams!


7 — After a Curry lefty layup extends the lead to 14 with seven minutes to play, the Celtics rattle off five straight points with a lefty layup by Brown and an and-1 layup by Grant Williams. The lead is down to nine as Williams scores just the fifth points off the Boston bench tonight as the Warriors hold a 21-5 edge in scoring by the reserves.


6 — Horford is doing his best to defend Curry on the perimeter but this is a mismatch that Curry is winning right now. He fakes the 3 and drives for the layup to stop the Boston run. Tatum tries to answer back but is denied by Wiggins, who has been outstanding defensively not only tonight, but throughout this series.


5 — Horford gets stuck defending Curry again, this time Smart comes to trap Curry well beyond the 3-point line. Curry passes to Green, who finds Wiggins in the corner for an open three. He knocks it down to stop Golden State’s 3-point drought at 11 straight misses.

On the other end, it’s another Boston turnover, which leads to a transition layup by Green to push the lead back to 13. After another corner 3 by Horford to make it a 10-point game, it’s time for Curry to once again exploit the switch on the perimeter. He drives past Horford for the layup and a 12-point advantage. Boston has to do something different here or Curry is going to eat this mismatch up.

 


4 — More great defense by Wiggins on Tatum, as Wiggins closes out on a corner 3-point attempt, but doesn’t fly by. He forces Tatum to put the ball on the floor, but — before he does — gets called for a travel.

On the other end, Curry knocks down another 3 and it’s up to a 15-point Warriors lead with 3:17 to play. Curry breaks out the “good night” celebration as the Warriors can taste the title with a 96-81 lead.


3 — Does Boston have one last gasp in them? A Brown 3-pointer gives him 32 points for the game and cuts the lead to 12 with 2:15 to go. Brown and Horford have been huge for Boston, but it just hasn’t been enough against a balance Warriors attack led by Curry, who has 30 points.

On the next Warriors possession, Wiggins misses a 3-point attempt, the long rebound goes to Draymond Green, who finds Wiggins open for a corner 3 that is good and pushes the leads back to 15 with 1:43 to go. That feels like the dagger.

With 1:03 to play, the Celtics waive the white flag and pull their starters from the game as they get one final ovation from the TD Garden crowd.

You can see the emotion on the faces of the Warriors players — particularly Curry — as they know the title is just seconds away.


2 — The Golden State Warriors are your 2021-22 NBA champions, winning their fourth title in eight years.


1 — Two final thoughts as the Warriors celebrate. First, Steph was a man of his word after this quote from last May:

Curry wins the Finals MVP — the one all-time item missing from him ridiculous collection of accomplishments. What a game, and what a series, from Curry.

Secondly, the final word of the night has to go to Klay Thompson, who had an incredibly difficult road back to the court after missing more than 900 days with devastating back-to-back leg injuries. That Klay went out trying to help the Warriors win their fourth title in 2019 against Toronto and now makes it back to the court in 2022 to actually win that fourth title in eight years? Just amazing.

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