As the Celtics moved to the huddle for a timeout, Jayson Tatum was hampered by Draymond Green and tailed by fellow Warrior Gary Payton II, who was about to shoot a practice shot.
It was the kind of hounding, ga et-under-your-skin approach that Green is known for. Tatum was so adamant about not letting Green take the ball that he carried it al his bench seat.
In that time, Tatum, who went 1-for-5 in the critical fourth period, effectively took his ball and went home. In some ways, that would have been a much safer and smarter strategy than what finally transpired.
Boston turned the ball over 18 times, allowing the Warriors, who are one win away from winning their fourth title in eight years, to score 22 points. Golden State, on the other hand, which has traditionally suffered from turnovers and, aside from Houston, has given the ball away the most this season, only committed six on the night.
Of course, this resulted in the Celtics losing a crucial, winnable game—one in which:
- Tatum had finally found his stride.
- Stephen Curry didn’t have much going for him, going 0-for-9 from three-point range for the first time in his playoff career.
- Boston not only avoided being blown out in the third quarter but also came out on top.
From the beginning, we had some indicators of how the game would play out. Green, much more aggressive than in the previous two games in Boston, helped Otto Porter start to play with an excellent backdoor cut, while Tatum tossed the ball out of bounds on Boston’s first possession.
Even without Curry scoring much in the early going, Golden State had plenty of offense. Meanwhile, the Celtics struggled, flinging the ball all over the place and missing their first 12 long-range attempts.
The Warriors’ aggressive defense caused several turnovers. When the Celtics choose to go all-in on Golden State’s attack, Green and Klay Thompson have been excellent as helpers along the back line, according to sports illustrated.