Through three quarters, the Warriors seemed to have control of the game. When Stephen Curry took a breather to start the fourth, Golden State fell apart. Curry re-entered the game, but couldn’t stop the bleeding. The Celtics won the fourth quarter 40-16.
The final six minutes were a basketball beatdown. Curry connected on what the official play-by-play describes as a seven-foot driving finger roll layup to give his team a 103-100 lead. Boston then blanked Golden State for the next five minutes, rolling to a 117-103 advantage.
Horford scored 11 of his 26 points in the fourth — shooting 4-4 from the floor, including a pair of threes. He also played his usual superb defense.
Marcus Smart played a quality all-around game — an efficient 18 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists with two steals and solid defense.
Derrick White his shots (5-8 from three) and played terrific defense. Few players in the NBA chase through screens better than White.
In what might be scary news for Golden State, Boston didn’t get outstanding games from their two best players: Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Each found ways to contribute. Tatum shot just 3-17 from the floor, but also dished 13 assists. Brown was solid overall, and was critical hitting shots to spearhead the fourth quarter run.
For Golden State, Curry was outstanding — an efficient 34 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 5 steals. Andrew Wiggins was pretty good, and former Wizard Otto Porter Jr. played well (4-5 from three-point range, 4 rebounds, 2 steals). Kevon Looney grabbed 6 offensive rebounds and had 5 assists.
On the other end of the spectrum, Klay Thompson was meh, and Jordan Poole and Draymond Green were terrible. Green was a veritable self-check on offense — 2-12 from the floor, 5 assists and 3 turnovers. He had a pair of steals but was out of sorts defensively. He fouled out in the game’s final minutes.
I’ll be interested to see the Game 2 chess match. Golden State’s overall plan — and even much of the execution — looked sound and worked...at least until Boston hit everything in the fourth.
Boston has their work cut out for them trying to defend Curry. He shredded every defensive tactic they tried. The Celtics seemed to have some success pushing Curry off the three-point line and inducing him to drive.
Also interesting: Golden State and Boston were the league’s top defensive teams this season, and the Warriors were middle of the pack offensively. And yet, each team had success offensively and had trouble slowing the other’s attack — at least until that five-minute stretch in the fourth quarter.
The Four Factors
Below are the four factors that decide who wins and loses in basketball — shooting (efg), rebounding (offensive rebounds), ball handling (turnovers), fouling (free throws made).
I’ve simplified them a bit. While the factors are usually presented as percentages, that’s more useful over a full season. In a single game, the raw numbers in each category are easier to understand.
Four Factors: Celtics 120 at Warriors 112
Below are a few performance metrics, including the Player Production Average (PPA) Game Score (very similar to the one I used to call Scoreboard Impact Rating). PPA is my overall production metric, which credits players for things they do that help a team win (scoring, rebounding, playmaking, defending) and dings them for things that hurt (missed shots, turnovers, bad defense, fouls).
Game Score (GmSC) converts individual production into points on the scoreboard. The scale is the same as points and reflects each player’s total contributions for the game. The lowest possible GmSC is zero.
PPA is a per possession metric designed for larger data sets. In small sample sizes, the numbers can get weird. But some readers prefer it, so I’m including PPA scores as well. Reminder: in PPA, 100 is average, higher is better and replacement level is 45. For a single game, replacement level isn’t much use, and I reiterate the caution about small samples producing weird results.
POSS is the number of possessions each player was on the floor in this game.
PTS = points scored
ORTG = offensive rating, which is points produced per individual possessions x 100. League average this season is 111.7. Points produced is not the same as points scored. It includes the value of assists and offensive rebounds, as well as sharing credit when receiving an assist.
USG = offensive usage rate. Average is 20%.
ORTG and USG are versions of stats created by Wizards assistant coach Dean Oliver and modified slightly by me. ORTG is an efficiency measure that accounts for the value of shooting, offensive rebounds, assists and turnovers. USG includes shooting from the floor and free throw line, offensive rebounds, assists and turnovers.
Key Stats: Celtics
|Robert Williams III||24||48||8||133||11.0%||155||12.1||-1|
Key Stats: Warriors
|Otto Porter Jr.||24||47||12||198||9.8%||211||16.0||-18|