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Celtics weather the Warriors’ storm, pull away in Game 3 to take a 2-1 series lead

We’ll have takeaways soon. Thanks for reading.2:02 – The Warriors have pulled their guys. The Celtics are in the process of doing the same. They will go up 2-1.2:19 – Steph Curry looks a little banged up after Horford inadvertently landed on his leg diving for a loose ball. The Celtics just ran the clock down intentionally, then had Smart go at him. Smart scored easily (the Celtics lead by 14) and Curry doubled over wincing.Draymond Green fouls out. “F— you, Draymond” chants ensue. He finishes 1-for-4 from the field with four rebounds and three assists.5:05 – Sometimes basketball is simple: The Warriors couldn’t stay in front of Tatum, so he drove, drew a corner defender, and kicked to Marcus Smart. Smart swished the 3-pointer.:00 – Fascinating move by Ime Udoka going back to his double-big lineup with Williams playing so well. Tatum, meanwhile, just finished a brutally difficult layup and the Celtics lead by double digits again.:52 – Williams swatted away a Curry floater at the absolute peak of its trajectory. He has looked a little healthier and the difference for the Celtics is enormous.9:07 – Also, Robert Williams drops back against Curry in the pick-and-roll as well, but his length and athleticism makes it a (slightly) more viable strategy.He will need to be careful though — as Curry proved in the third, jumping out at him can lead to a 7-point possession.9:07 – Grant Williams has had a tough Finals so far, but he’s putting together a nice Game 3 with a 3-pointer and several tough finishes around the rim. His latest pushed the lead back toOkay, everyone can exhale for a minute.The Celtics built their lead back as high as seven when Curry went to the bench before a Klay Thompson three trimmed it back to four.As an aside, the Celtics are so bad at 2-for-1s. Tonight, Tatum attempted a tough, off-balance 3-pointer that missed badly, and only left the Celtics with three seconds on the shot clock after the Warriors ran it all the way down. Was a doomed Grant Williams heave really worth blowing up an offensive possession?

2:53 – Marcus Smart hit a 3 and gave the Celtics the lead again. The best the Celtics can hope to do right now is weather the storm (and maybe get up a little higher on Curry’s pick-and-rolls).4:00 – Horford drops too low on the pick-and-roll yet again, and Curry hits a 3 yet again. The Warriors lead.4:45 – And Otto Porter makes it a seven-point possession. The Celtics are reeling and up just two.5:06 – Al Horford has struggled mightily with Curry in the pick-and-roll, and tonight is no exception. Curry just made a four-point play and Horford picked up an obvious flagrant foul trying to close out. The Warriors are closing the gap in the third quarter once again.The Celtics have held so far, but Green and Brown are starting to get very chippy.9:00 – Real roller coaster so far: After Curry and the Warriors cut the lead to eight, Smart made all three free throws, then forced a turnover. As the Warriors discussed the turnover, Brown leaked out in transition and got a dunk on the touchdown pass by Al Horford. The lead is back up to 13.9:11 – Bad continuation: Two easy 3-pointers for Curry that cut the lead to eight.The plus side: Four fouls for Curry, who poked his hand in where he shouldn’t have, trying to defend a Smart 3-pointer.11:30 – Nice start for the Celtics — Rob Williams overpowers Draymond Green and gets a layup.Really nice stretch by Marcus Smart at the end of the half, getting a pair of buckets to help stave off a Warriors offense that is threatening like a thunderstorm on the horizon. Crucially, the Celtics have had an answer for every run and mini-run the Warriors put together in the first 24 minutes.Still, the Celtics need to prepare for a barrage — the Warriors have dominated third quarters, and with Klay Thompson cooking and Steph Curry unleashed after playing with three fouls in the first half, they could really use a good stretch.Limiting turnovers will be the key. One play encapsulated that perfectly in the second quarter — the Celtics nearly turned the ball over late, but Brown dove on the floor and punched it away from a diving Green. The Celtics maintained possession, then found Brown for an open 3 (he buried it) and got back to force a stop with a set defense.Avoid turnovers, and the Celtics will give themselves a great chance to win.:27 – After the Warriors trimmed the lead as low as seven, a steal by Horford led to a transition dunk by Brown, which capped a timely little run to push the advantage back to 12. The Celtics badly needed that.4:27 – Concerning stretch for the Celtics: The Warriors go on a nearly instant 8-0 run, which included a pair of bad defensive decisions by Tatum. The Celtics can’t afford turnovers (eight turnovers, 14 points so far), and they can’t afford lapses.5:52 – The Warriors have a lot of defensive targets on the floor in their current lineup, including both Steph Curry (who is much improved but trying to avoid his third foul), Jordan Poole and Kevon Looney. That won’t work against the Celtics, who have a chance to go up by 19 with Al Horford going to the line after a timeout.UPDATE: He made neither.8:02 – Rob Williams sat down with his second foul after a very nice stint as a rim protector, but he looked great as the lone big. Importantly, he also bought some time on the bench for Horford — keeping Daniel Theis, who has struggled immensely to defend the Warriors, on the bench.8:49 – The good news for the Celtics: They have maintained a double-digit lead throughout the first few minutes of the second quarter and are moving the ball beautifully, demolishing the Warriors’ attempt at a zone.he bad news: Klay Thompson is white hot suddenly.

First Quarter

Brown finishes the first quarter with 17 points, five rebounds and three assists. He and the Celtics look ready on both ends.One area of concern: Klay Thompson, who has been shooting poorly throughout the series, hit a 3-pointer and a pair of free throws before the end of the quarter. Thompson sometimes gets hot when the Warriors need it most, and he is due to regress back to his mean at some point.:00 – Jaylen Brown is going right at Draymond Green.Curry is staying in the game after a timeout. The Celtics have to attack him hard.5:44 Two huge plays in succession by the Celtics: Jaylen Brown went right at Draymond Green after waving off a screen by Derrick White and scored a floater over the Warriors’ star defender, then Marcus Smart gave Steph Curry a savvy pump fake and drew Curry’s second foul in the first quarter. The Celtics lead by nine.8:45 Quick sub for Robert Williams, as Derrick White comes in. It will be interesting to see how much Rob Williams we actually see tonight.9:22 Fantastic offensive start by the Celtics, who are moving the ball nicely against the Warriors’ aggressive defense. One concerning thing: Jayson Tatum is grabbing his balky right shoulder already.11:30 Jaylen Brown has started the last two games with a 3-pointer above the break from the same spott’s a good thing the game starts at midnight,” Kerr quipped. “We’ll have plenty of time to fix it. … It happens every once in a while. Players have a really sharp eye for that. Players can tell. I imagine somebody went out there, looked at it, didn’t look right. So as long as they take care of it, then everything is good.”The player who caught it, for what it’s worthThe Celtics still haven’t lost two games in a row in the postseason — a statistic Udoka credited to their ability to put losses behind them quickly.I’m looking for more of that tonight,” Udoka said. “We looked at the areas where we could have done much better obviously in the game, but to your guys’ point, the third quarter got away from us and have to have great starts like we have, have solid starts and then carry that over into second half. More or less it’s a not-care attitude that we just move on to the next game pretty quickly.”The Celtics struggled to hang on to the ball in Game 2, coughing up 18 costly turnovers, many of which helped the Warriors go on their massive third-quarter run.Majority is over-penetrating, playing in the crowd as I talk about quite often,” Udoka said at practice on Tuesday. “Just not keeping it simple. You look at Game 1 where we had 33 assists on 43 baskets, crisp and sharp with our ball movements, not in the crowd. Led to a lot of wide-open threes against a team that packs the paint.To have 19 for 33 and 11 in the first half last game, 15 of those 19 were steals. That’s directly playing in the crowd. Unforced at times, but also over-penetrating. Have to have carryover and consistency in that area.If you were hoping to see a game in person, here’s an opportunity to support Marcus Smart’s YounGameChanger Foundation and have a good time at GameThere’s a pivotal scene in the classic 1992 movie White Men Can’t Jump where the two main characters, Sidney Deane and Billy Hoyle, try to settle an argument by betting whether or not Billy can successfully pull off a dunk. After his first attempt fails, he looks gobsmacked at the basket and asks a critical question: Sidney jumps up to grab the rim and deduces that it is, in fact, regulation. It doesn’t appear that Billy was on the scene ahead of Wednesday night’s Game 3 of the NBA Finals, but thankfully somebody was present at the TD Garden to ask that all-important question.During pre-game warm-ups, a Warriors assistant coach noticed something off about one of the baskets. After bringing it to officials’s attention, it was determined that the hoop was, in fact, a few inches too tall.Breaking out a stepladder and measuring stick is a much more official way of determining a basket’s true height, so maybe Billy was right all along. Nevertheless, it’s a good thing such a blunder was caught in time, because who knows how a slightly-too-tall hoop could have swayed a consequential game in the series.The pause lasted only a few minutes, allowing the team to resume warm-ups in a timely fashion. While this is certainly an unusual occurrence, let’s hope that pre-game hoop height checks become the norm for this series going forward, just to be safe.

Celtics vs. Warriors score: Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum lead Boston to Game 3 win to retake series lead

The Boston Celtics have retaken the lead in the 2022 NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors. At home for the first time in the series, the Celtics pulled away from the Warriors for a 116-100 win in Game 3 on Wednesday night. Boston, up 2-1 in the Finals, withstood a third-quarter charge from Golden State, and put the game away in the fourth quarter. Jaylen Brown (27 points), Jayson Tatum (26) and Marcus Smart (24), combined for 77 points to lead the Celtics, who led by as many as 18 points in the first half.Stephen Curry scored a game-high 31 points on 12-of-22 shooting and had 15 in the third quarter as the Warriors momentarily held the lead. Klay Thompson had his best game of the series, adding 25 points, but it was not enough. Draymond Green struggled, scoring just two points and adding three assists before fouling out in the fourth quarterBoston is now 7-0 following a loss in the playoffs. Golden State, meanwhile, is also unbeaten in the 2022 postseason following a defeat, and the Warriors have won at least one road game in their past 26 playoff series. Game 4 is set for Friday night in Boston.

Celtics vs. Warriors NBA Finals Game 3 picks, best bets: Boston should rebound; stick with the under

If you’re picking Boston in Game 3, don’t do it because of home-court advantage. Boston has been a better road team (8-3) this postseason than home team (5-4). No, I’m leaning Boston for a few other reasons. First of all … I have to imagineis banished after his abominable defensive performance in Game 2. The Celtics seem to be figuring out that going small is their best bet againplaying just 25 minutes in Game 2 was concerning, but  has done an admirable job defensively thus far. We’re also overdue for aclunker. He’s been to the Finals five times and has five games below 25 percent from 3. At his volume, those games become very difficult to win. Boston’s defense has done a great job of stifling Golden State’s motion. If this turns into another pick-and-roll-athon as the third quarter of Game 2 did, odds are, the Warriors won’t hit quite so many shots. The pick: Celtics Game 2 totaled just 195 points despite both teams making over 40 percent of their 3-pointers. That should tell you everything you need to know about the quality of defense in this series.coming back gave the Warriors yet another weapon on the perimeter, andspent plenty of Game 2 on as well. We’re headed for five more rock fights in this series. The pick: Under 212If we’re operating under the assumption that Boston is going to play more small-ball minutes, then grabbing anline you like would be a wise approach. The scoring line is tempting here. It’s set at just 11.5 points — a total he’s beaten in five of his past six games — but some of that has relied on unsustainable shooting. Why not insulate yourself a bit from a poor shooting night by taking his combined points-rebounds-assists total? That way, you get a boost if Smart’s ankle really prevents him from playing major minutes, as White would then take on a bigger playmaking load, and if the Celtics are going smaller, White will have an easier time pulling in a few stray rebounds as well. The pick: White over 17.5 combined points, rebounds and assistsThe eye test is telling me not to be props right now. His scoring in Game 2 largely came beyond the arc, and he’s a fairly inconsistent shooter. Off the dribble, he’s struggling to get by Payton Pritchard. That’s concerning. But this line has just shifted too low for me to ignore. Poole was held below 13 points in just 20 of his 76 regular-season games and six of his 18 playoff games. With  also struggling, the Warriors just need too much offense not to let Poole take enough shots to reach this total inefficiently. The pick: Poole over 12.5 pointsaveraged just under five 3-point attempts per game in his first 16 playoff games. He’s taken a total of three in his past four games, which totaled nearly 85 combined minutes. He’s getting fewer minutes in this matchup because of his struggles defensively. While he’s a capable switcher against most opponents, he’s had trouble chasing Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson around screens after two rounds of inter and. If Williams is playing less and hardly shooting when he does play, the odds are in your favor if you bet on him not making a shot. The pick: Williams under 0.5 3-pointers


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