What happened when did the Boston Celtics Won Game 1 of the NBA Finals

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NBA Finals

The great thing about being the three-time champion of the sixth NBA Finals, with three Hall of Famers to come, is that everything about the experience feels familiar, routine, and comfortable.

It’s your advantage at this point. It’s not until it’s. It’s until the player with no championships and no Finals and a gaggle of still-developing stars beats you for 10 minutes straight on the court you’re familiar with. Then the familiarity and experience feel like a worn-out, moth-ridden security blanket.

Sure it’s true that the Golden State Warriors have been defeated in playoff games previously and thrown off the mark in the Finals. However, not often. It’s not like this.

The Boston Celtics–younger, stronger, spryer, and fueled by a three-point barrage that left even Stephen Curry awestruck–thoroughly dominated the fourth quarter here Thursday night, seizing a 120-108 win to open the Finals and putting the Warriors in the rarest of situations: facing an 0-1 deficit in a series.

“It’s not the ideal situation,” Curry said, with the calmness of an honored veteran who has, witnessed the whole thing previously, “but I believe in our character and how we face the challenges and how we have dealt with them throughout the season, and how we’ve handled ourselves to the playoffs following a loss.”

For a man, and especially for the group that took home those championships just a few years ago, the Warriors took this shocking loss as a hiccup but not a crisis.

“It’s the first time in four (wins) and not the first to one.” Klay Thompson said flatly, “We all have faced situations similar to this.”

True. To win their first championship in 2015, the Warriors were required to overcome a deficit of 2-1 in the Finals (and losing home-court advantage) against the Cleveland Cavaliers. To reach the Finals in the following year, they were required to overcome a deficit of 3-1 during their Western Conference finals against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

However, the Warriors have lost the first game of a playoff series once in Steve Kerr’s entire eight-year tenure as head coach. The first time was in the game with the Thunder (in which they were victorious) and at the finals in 2019, against Toronto Raptors (which they lost).

This is a different story and more likely to be problematic than the Warriors will readily admit. In particular, considering the way it transpired. They led by 12 points in the fourth quarter to begin. The lead was gone in 7 minutes, erased after an avalanche of Warriors mistakes and Jaylen Brown’s threes. The avalanche continued to rage. Al Horford hit a pair of threes. Marcus Smart hit a pair of threes. Derrick White and Payton Pritchard together for three more.

Overall, the Celtics were 9-12 from the arc during the final frame, outscoring the Warriors by a ridiculous 40-16 margin, the most unbalanced quarter in Finals history. The Celtics left the crowd stunned and the Warriors pretty much in a state of numbness.

There was no energy left within the arena in the closing minutes as the horde of Boston fans were chanting, “Let’s play, Celtics!”

“It’s good,” said Draymond Green, the Warrior’s defense heart and barometer of emotions. “You have the chance to try something different or try it another way; accept the new challenge. We’ve always been awestruck by new challenges. It’s no different. We’ll be embracing this one. It does not affect confidence in any way. It’s not even a bit.”

The Warriors were more likely to see the Celtic’s explosive offensive surge and their stunning final drive, as it was odd. Horford averaged 1.3 threes per contest during the season and made six (on eight shots). Smart Horford, who shot 33 percent on threes, was 4 for 7. The midseason pick Derrick White, who shot 31 percent from threes this season, hit 5-8. In all, the Celtics were 21 for 41 at the arc. Even considering the Warrior’s defense’s mistakes, that number has struck them as unsustainable.

“They made 21 threes,” Green said, “and Marcus Smart and Al Horford and Derrick White combined for 15 threes. They’re good players, however, …” Green was unable to stop and cocking his head to the left and raising his hands as if he was saying”I’m sorry” without speaking, but there’s no way they could do that again. “So we’ll be excellent,” he said.

This Celtics team is, by far, the most talented and complete team that the Warriors have played in the postseason. They’re better defensively compared to those of the Mavericks or Grizzlies. They’ve got more offensive options and have better shooters too. They also won the game despite only scoring 12 points (on shooting 3-for-17) from a superstar of the franchise Jayson Tatum.

After dealing with a 21-point blast by Curry during the opening quarter, the Celtics kept him to 13 points over the remaining three-quarters (four during the final quarter). Thompson only scored 15 points on 14 attempts. Green was 2 for twelve from the field. Only Andrew Wiggins (20 points), the only newcomer to this point, offered Curry continuous encouragement.

The Warriors can rest assured of their extensive experience, their past of perseverance, and the banners that hang over their Chase Center court. They can be confident about their ability to win an action in Boston, which is essential now that they have played at least one road match during every playoff series of the Kerr time.

They’ve never been to 0-2 in a series, which will likely not be the first time. They’ll need to consider this before taking on the field to play Game 2 here on Sunday.

“It’s an entirely different experience,” Kerr said, admitting it was likely that Game 2 would bring out the “sense of desperateness,” which is not an expression we’ve heard often with the Warriors. “But we’ve been in this situation before and have won games where we’ve lost in the first game. We’ve also won a road match at least one road game in how many series in succession.”

Experience, as the Warriors insist, remains at their side. At least for now.

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