Rapid Reaction - NBA Finals Game 2
The Golden State Warriors handled their business at home in Game 2 of the NBA Finals, riding a strong 3rd quarter and 29 points from Steph Curry to defeat the Boston Celtics 107-88 on Sunday night. While the game wasn’t a “must win”, it was about as close as you could get for the Warriors who will now have to steal a game in Boston in order to get back home court advantage in the series. Let’s take a look how they pulled it off as well as what to look for as the series heads to Boston on Wednesday night.
Steph Curry played like a superstar, with 29 points, 6 boards, 4 assists and 3 steals in 32 minutes of action. Unlike previous trips to the playoffs, the Warriors are not winning this year if he is not a dominant force and scoring a minimum of 25 points a night. He did that last night and took what the defense gave him. I’d expect Boston to make some adjustments in Game 3. How will the Warriors respond?
I had mentioned in my last recap that Jordan Poole needed to do more than contribute 9 points in 25 minutes. Surprisingly Poole saw his playing time actually go down to only 22 minutes, but he contributed 17 points including 5 for 9 shooting from 3-point range. I’d still like to see Poole play more minutes but Steve Kerr looks like he’s going to distribute the bench minutes evenly between Gary Payton II, Otto Porter Jr. and Poole. Their collective offensive output is going to be very important – more on that a little later.
Marcus Smart, Al Horford and Derrick White contributed 15 3-pointers in Game 1 for Boston. Game 2 was an entirely different story. The trio combined for only 16 points and Al Horford didn’t even attempt a 3 pointer in Game 2. Jayson Tatum who went 3-17 from the field in Game 1 bounced back nicely with 28 points including 6 for 9 shooting from 3-point range. Unfortunately however, 21 of those points were in the 1st half. The performances are kind of an encapsulation of the Boston Celtics this postseason. When they are clicking, they are almost impossible to beat, and when they are off, they tend to get completely blown out with no in between it seems. It will also be interesting to see how Jaylen Brown (17 points on 5 of 17 shooting) bounces back as well.
Draymond Green walks the fine line between playing with emotions and out of control tighter than any player in the NBA. Yes he received a technical last night, but his emotion and defensive intensity caught the Celtics by storm last night, and he played a much more efficient game than Game 1. He will flirted with an ejection last night so he will have to get his emotions under control, but he also contributed 9 points, 7 assists, and 5 boards and more importantly, attempted only 3 shots from the field. If you’re the Warriors you had to be thrilled to see that type of bounce back performance, which leads us to…
What happened to Klay Thompson? Thompson played 30 minutes last night and contributed only 11 points on 4 for 19 shooting. His plus/minus was 0 in a game that the Warriors won by 19 points. Yes he played good defense on Al Horford last night, but if Thompson doesn’t turn it around offensively the Warriors will be in trouble. Steph Curry is the greatest shooter in NBA history, but if Thompson doesn’t turn it around, the Celtics are going to be able to make defensive adjustments that slow Curry down. The Warriors don’t need Thompson to be what he was in his prime, but he needs to play much better than he has thus far. It will be interesting to see how he adjusts.
Buckle up, we have a series!
(Photo courtesy of San Francisco Chronicle)