Celtics capitalize on huge 4th quarter run to beat Warriors in Game 1 of NBA Finals

Jaylen Brown fueled a comeback charge and scored 24 points, Al Horford hit six 3-pointers and the Boston Celtics rode the most lopsided fourth quarter in NBA Finals history for a 120-108 win over the Golden State Warriors in Game 1 Thursday night.

Horford finished with 26 points and the Celtics outscored the Warriors 40-16 in the final 12 minutes after trailing 15 points late in the third quarter.

Boston made its first seven tries from long range in the fourth and went 9 of 12 from beyond the arc in the final 12 minutes as nearly everyone got involved in the 3-point flurry. Jayson Tatum was the only Celtics regular to struggle offensively, finishing 3 of 17.

Stephen Curry scored 34 points as he returned to the big NBA stage for the first time in three years, but the Warriors couldn’t sustain their momentum after a 38-point third quarter that put them ahead 92- 80 in the last 12 minutes.

Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is Sunday night at the Chase Center.

The Celtics’ comeback was the biggest in the Finals after three quarters since Michael Jordan’s Bulls overcame a 15-point deficit to beat the Trail Blazers in Game 6 in 1992.

Derrick White’s 3-pointer over Curry with 5:40 remaining tied the game at 103, then Horford struck from deep the next time as the Celtics took their first lead since halftime.

The Celtics are looking to win their record 18th title, which would put them ahead of the Lakers, and they have just three wins left to do so.

Brown, who played in neighboring California for one college season, made back-to-back baskets that tied the game at 47 with 5:03 left before halftime and the Celtics led 56-54 at the break. Golden State then used a signature push in the third quarter, scoring 38 points to build a big lead.

Brown then scored five quick runs early in the fourth and assisted on an alley-oop dunk to Robert Williams III as the Celtics fell back 92-87 with 9:35 remaining. Brown’s 3 at 8:22 made it 94-92 before Klay Thompson responded with a 3.

“Boston played a brilliant quarter”

Andrew Wiggins scored six of Golden State’s first 14 points and finished with 20 on his Finals debut, Draymond Green grabbed 11 rebounds before committing a foul with 48.3 seconds left. Thompson contributed 15 points as the Warriors entered their sixth Finals in eight years after making five consecutive trips from 2015-2019 and winning three championships.

They will have to win this one from behind after being 21-2 in their previous Game 1s under Steve Kerr.

“It’s a different feeling. You obviously go into Game 2 with more desperation. It’s all part of this thing. We’ve been in this position before,” Kerr said. “Boston played a brilliant quarter. They came in and took the win.”

Curry scored a smooth 21 points in the opening period on 7-for-8 shooting, including 6-of-8 on 3-missing half a field at the buzzer. And Boston struggled to keep up with the Warriors’ snappy ball movement and shooters at every spot on the floor.

Otto Porter Jr. came back from a two-game absence to score 12 points off the bench for the well-rested Warriors. Golden State ended its Western Conference Finals in Game 5 against Dallas a week earlier at home, while Boston was pushed to the limit with a Game 7 win at Miami last Sunday.

Golden State fell to 9-1 this postseason at home, where a sold-out crowd in yellow Finals T-shirts chanted “MVP!” for Curry at every opportunity.

Marcus Smart scored 18 points with four 3s for Boston. The Celtics star was slammed by Kerr for what the Golden State coach called “dangerous play” rushing Curry’s left foot on March 16 in a 110-88 rout at Boston that brushed off the champion of 2021 scorers for a month before returning in Game 1 of the first round against Denver.

Now the hard work begins for a Warriors team that had their worst ever 15-50 in the pandemic-shortened 2019-20 season two years ago and lost to Memphis in the playoff last year before to eliminate the Grizzlies in the first round. this season.