NBA 2022 Final: Draymond Green, Warriors overturn the script by locking the Celtics in Game 2

NBA 2022 Final: Draymond Green, Warriors overturn the script by locking the Celtics in Game 2

With about four and a half minutes left in Sunday’s third quarter, Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum made an open 3 to reduce their deficit to six points. It was a clear look from a simple pick-and-roll, delivered because the Golden State Warriors ruined their defensive cover. Once released, the show was cut short by Warriors coach Steve Kerr, telling Andrew Wiggins he was supposed to be taller:

You do not just let Tatum get into open 3s. This game, however, was an anomaly. It represented almost the only easy points that Boston scored during the third quarter.

It also represented the last substantial goal scored by Boston. The Warriors went 25-2 straight after. When the Celtics got off to a great start with 10:45 remaining in the 2nd game of the NBA Finals, they had scored 82.1 points per 100 possessions. Nowhere did their attack look as smooth as when they dominated the front line on Thursday.

Al Horford, who scored 26 points in a 9-on-12 shot on Thursday, including 6 to 8 out of 3 points, scored just two points and did not attempt a single three-pointer. Marcus Smart scored two points, turned the ball five times and lost all three of his three-point attempts. Tatum scored 28 points in shots 8 to 19, returning after a difficult night in shooting, but his total assists were reduced from 13 to three.

“It’s hard to get an open shot out there and it’s supposed to be difficult,” Kerr said. Golden State tied the series with a 107-88 victory. “Game 1 was very easy for Boston with the performance it had in that fourth quarter.”

In the first possession, Draymond Green equalized Al Horford behind the 3-point line, forcing a ball jump. In the Warriors’ next defensive possession, Klay Thompson took over Horford and Green took over Jaylen Brown, a configuration they used for much of the game. However, Green downplayed the struggles and all the upset he caused individually, saying that collectively they made an “attitude adjustment”.

“I thought everyone was more committed,” Kerr said. “It was quite obvious, it was just that our level of strength and fitness had increased a lot, and it should have been. What Boston did in the second half, you know, fourth quarter last night, we knew we had to come with a much better focus. “and a sense of aggression, and I thought it started from the beginning. Draymond played a huge part in that.”

Golden State ended the game with a 12-minute break in the second half, in which they defeated the Celtics 41-12. The Multiple Warriors, however, stressed that this was possible because of the way the game started.

“We just tried to remove some of their easy looks early,” said Kevon Looney. “The last game they felt very comfortable. They got in the rhythm. I think Marcus Smart put a lot of pressure on the rim in the last race and Brown and Tatum put a lot of pressure on the rim and they were able to chase it. We did a better job controlling the ball on the spot. of the attack and in turn we were able to limit their efforts by 3 points and prevent Horford and Smart from having open eyes. “

Boston turned the ball around 11 times in the first half, and nine of them were live ball caps. Tatum and Brown accounted for 36 of the Celtics’ 50 points before halftime and Derrick White was their only team-mate to score more than one goal from the field.

“The attack was not so sharp with the movement of the ball and the pass,” said Celtics coach Ime Udoka.

When Golden State’s defense is at its best, it seems to be one step ahead of the attack at all times. By the time Horford’s ball goes into this possession early in the third quarter, Looney has already turned to him and Wiggins to Robert Williams III:

In another stop in the third quarter, each Warrior on the court contributes: Wiggins pushes Tatum close to half court and then navigates two screens. Gary Payton II is two feet out of the 3-point line in the Tatum-Horford pick-and-roll, then pushes Horford to Derrick White. Carrie fights over a screen and then goes to Horford, moves his legs and deviates. Green struggles with Smart’s 3 and almost hits the ball away from Horford. Otto Porter Jr. doubles Horford and comes with the loose ball:

Peyton, who played 25 minutes in his first game behind an elbow fracture suffered in the first week of May in the second game of the second round, said Golden State was “somewhat soft in the first game”. Green said that “everyone played with more power”, all over the board. The Warriors had the second best defense in the NBA during the regular season and showed the worst characteristics of Boston. The Celtics can be quick-witted and sloppy towards the natural perimeter defense, and when they do not take care of the ball, their problems can snow.

Udoka said the team should have been stronger with the ball and stopped looking for fouls when attacking the basket, points it has made after most of Boston’s playoff defeats. Horford said the Celtics must “play at our own pace, make sure we drive the ball, drive and kick”. Both are absolutely right, but it’s hard to do all this with Wiggins and Payton pushing around the perimeter, Green wandering around and everyone else moving in a string.

Through two games, both teams have enjoyed stretches in which the opposing attack stagnates, takes strong shots and gives them opportunities to score in the transition phase. After completely losing control in Game 1, Golden State remained steady, stacking stops over stops.

“Against a team like this, you can’t let go of your accelerator pedal,” Green said. “All they need to see is a shot and a domino can start.”

This is the mentality that Green wants to continue in order to move to Boston. The advantages of the matchup that the Celtics took advantage of a few days ago have not disappeared and they have recovered from much worse in these playoffs. In Game 3, they will do whatever it takes to be sharper, so the Warriors need to be sharper.

“It’s not going to get easier, it’s just going to get harder,” Green said. “I have to take it two more steps.”

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