The Boston Celtics once again took the lead in the Finals. Udoka’s men won 116-100 in the Game 3 to take a 2-1 lead on aggregate, leaving them just two wins away from being crowned champions after a match in which they clearly dominated virtually from start to finish. The Warriors threatened to come back with their classic big third quarter, but this time it wasn’t enough to break a team that showed endless responsiveness.

Boston hasn’t lost two in a row so far in the playoffs, and from the start of the game they made it clear that this streak wasn’t going to end this morning. Guided by a sensational Jaylen Brown, who netted 17 points in the first quarter, the hosts quickly took a double-digit lead, in which their excellent defense was also key. Udoka’s team marking and assisting work was fantastic for much of the night, forcing Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson to put on a display of long shots to keep their team afloat.

However, that was for naught in a first half in which Golden State couldn’t find a way to stop the Celtics’ runs to the basket. The absence of any real bullies in Kerr’s small quintet left the Massachusetts side free to frequently attack the visitor’s zone, which could not remedy this problem all night and ended up conceding 52 points in the racket. . In addition, this shift meant that the outsides very often closed on the penetrators and neglected the outside marking a little more, which was also penalized by the local fault.

Jayson Tatum was precisely the one who read these situations the best, adding 9 assists to his 26 points and becoming his team’s great offensive reference. Although Brown passed him in scoring with 27 points and Marcus Smart was close with 24, the striker’s generation ability was undoubtedly a differential and made him compensate for his 9/23 shooting.

The mirage of the third trimester

After dropping 18 points in the first half, the Warriors again clearly dominated the third quarter in what is already a topic so far in the series. With Curry once again as the spark, Kerr’s men went 12-27 to take an 82-83 lead for the first time since 0-2, but this time they couldn’t continue their good time. Boston once again demonstrated its ability to respond to any unfavorable situation, and managed to regain the lead in the third quarter and extend it in the last to guarantee a calm end to the game.

It was already in the fourth period that the streak of hat-tricks from Curry and Klay, authors of 31 and 25 points, came to an end, as the Celtics’ marks strengthened as it was confirmed that the two were the only threats in the visiting quintet. and the spaces they had to set up their shots were getting smaller and smaller. The fierce manner in which Robert Williams closed the paint also played a part, as it allowed perimeter defenders to close in on shooters knowing the rim was well protected. With his 4 blocks and 10 rebounds, the center became lord and master of the surface, and managed to have a huge impact on the two hoops despite his 8 points which were not very obvious a priori.

In this way, the threat of a return from Golden State occupied only a small percentage of a duel dominated almost entirely by Boston. The better defensive performance and better organization of their attack gave Udoka’s men a relatively comfortable victory to meet the Game 2 and put the ball back in the field for the Warriors, who will face Game 4 knowing that a loss puts them up against a rock and a hard place.

(Cover photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

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