The Celtics didn’t fold when Steph Curry and the Warriors turned up the heat in the third quarter. So now, the only thing standing between them and an NBA Finals title is two more victories and an injured Curry.
Things are looking good for Boston this morning.
Celtics 116, Warriors 100
Series: BOS leads 2-1
Before the game started, there was a video of Stephen Curry knocking down 17 consecutive shots during warmups on the TD Garden floor. Curry’s hot hand carried over to the game, where he scored 31 points on 12-of-22 shooting (6-of-11 from three). Curry shot 54.5 percent from the floor and deep and led the way for the Warriors in the third quarter as they made another furious charge at the Boston Celtics as they’ve done in each of the first three games of this series.
Boston led the Warriors by 12 coming out of the locker room after halftime, but the Warriors erupted for 33 points in the third quarter, 15 of which were scored by Steph Curry. Curry’s 15 points were huge, but the triple that Curry knocked down with 3:43 remaining in the quarter gave the Dubs an 83-82 lead, erasing their halftime deficit.
Steph Curry is up to 29 PTS 🔥
29 PTS (11-18 FGM), 2 STL, 6 3PM
Game 3 Live Now on ABC pic.twitter.com/x5eiHOrHqa
— NBA (@NBA) June 9, 2022
But Curry’s performance in the third quarter wasn’t the story tonight. The Celtics blowing a double-digit halftime lead wasn’t the story tonight. The Celtics made sure that story was how they bent but didn’t break when the Warriors turned up the heat. Marcus Smart and Robert Williams III hit three-pointers in the closing minutes of the third quarter to help Boston regain the lead, a lead that they would not relinquish again.
Marcus Smart said their Game 2 performance left a bad taste in their mouth, one they weren’t willing to relive again.
“Game 2, they brought the heat to us,” said Smart. “For us, that left a bad taste in our mouth because what we hang our hat on is effort on the defensive end and being a physical team. It definitely woke us up a little bit.”
The game was all but over when Jayson Tatum finessed home a drive and layup to put the Celtics up 107-96 with 5:51 to play in the fourth. It was over when Stephen Curry came up lame after a scrum for a loose ball with 4:07 left. Al Horford fell on Curry’s ankle, and Curry eventually left the game, a move that Steve Kerr said happened because the game was out of reach, not because Curry couldn’t stay on the floor due to injury.
After the game, Curry said that he was going to be all right despite expecting to be in some pain moving forward: “I’m gonna be alright. I got caught underneath Al. Obviously, will be in some pain, but I’ll be alright. See how I feel tomorrow and get ready for Friday.”
Jayson Tatum shined again last night as he continued to wear different hats for the Celtics in these Finals. Game 1 saw Tatum log a career-best 13 assists as he played the part of facilitator. Game 2 saw Tatum lead the scoring charge with a team-high 28 points. In Game 3, Tatum did a bit of everything. Tatum scored 26 points, nine assists, and six rebounds.
— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) June 9, 2022
Jaylen Brown scored 27 points and logged nine rebounds and five assists in the Celtics’ victory. “Our team is obviously in a position to win some games and do something special,” Brown said of the Celtics, who are now just two wins away from an NBA Finals title. Brown shot 56.3 percent from the field and 50 percent from range on eight attempts beyond the arc and set the tone for the Celtics strong first half with 17 points in the first quarter.
All eyes will be on Stephen Curry for the next 24 hours as the Warriors prepare for Game 4 tomorrow night in Boston. Curry has 94 points in three games this series, and Klay Thompson hit it on the head when he said that the Dubs would have a difficult time coming out of this on top without a healthy Steph Curry.
“We need him if we want to win this thing,” Klay Thompson said after the game. “I know Steph is going to do everything he can in his power to play. I am really hoping he’s okay because he’s our identity, and without him, it will be very difficult.”
Indeed, Klay. Indeed.
Here are the highlights from last night’s game courtesy of NBA.com’s YouTube channel: