Boston Celtics lament extra third quarter woes after blowout loss in Recreation 2

SAN FRANCISCO — The Boston Celtics used a exceptional comeback to beat their sometimes disastrous third quarter in Recreation 1 of the NBA Finals.

They'd no such luck in Recreation 2.

The Golden State Warriors, powered by a 35-14 third quarter, blew out Boston Sunday evening, successful 107-88 at Chase Heart to even up this best-of-7 collection at one recreation apiece. And the Warriors did so by making the most of what has, persistently, been Boston's Achilles heel all through these playoffs: poor begins to second halves.

“It is one thing we have now to repair,” Celtics middle Al Horford mentioned.

Within the three days between Video games 1 and a couple of, Boston talked repeatedly about the necessity to keep away from one other ugly third quarter just like the one it needed to start this collection, as Golden State's 38-24 benefit within the third in Recreation 1 was solely erased because of the Celtics turning round and having their very own insane fourth quarter.

There was no such comeback, nevertheless, in Recreation 2. Boston shot simply 4-for-17 within the quarter and dedicated 5 turnovers that grew to become 11 Warriors factors. Golden State, in the meantime, went 7-for-12 from 3-point vary, as Stephen Curry matched Boston's level complete by himself.

By the point Jordan Poole buried too bombs from means behind the 3-point line inside the ultimate 30 seconds of the quarter — first hitting a 29-footer earlier than then burying one from practically the halfcourt line because the buzzer sounded — the injury had already been completed, leaving the formality of the ultimate 12 minutes to be performed for Golden State to tie this collection up.

“I believe tonight, turnovers, and I believe generally letting our offense have an effect on how we defend, sort of was a bit of stagnant within the third quarter,” mentioned Jayson Tatum, who led Boston with 28 factors however completed a minus-36 — the worst plus-minus of his profession. “I really feel prefer it translated on the defensive finish, and so they bought going and hitting photographs and issues like that.”

It's removed from stunning that Boston is struggling within the third quarter, because it has been a sore spot for Boston all through the playoffs. Some numbers to again that up:

– Boston now has two of the worst third quarters on this yr's playoffs: Recreation 1 in opposition to the Miami Heat within the Jap Convention finals, when the Celtics had been outscored by 25, and Golden State's 21-point edge in Recreation 2.

– The Celtics have been outscored by a minimum of 14 factors 4 instances within the third quarter in these playoffs — all of which have come on the highway. Three of these video games have been Boston's three highway losses in these playoffs (Recreation 3 in opposition to Milwaukee within the Jap Convention semifinals, Recreation 1 in opposition to Miami and Recreation 2 in opposition to Golden State). Their one win in that state of affairs was Recreation 1 of this collection.

– Boston has been outscored by 37 factors within the third quarter in these playoffs. And, in Recreation 2, they'd extra turnovers (5) within the third quarter than made discipline targets (4).

– The Celtics shot 2-for-12 on contested photographs within the third quarter, per ESPN monitoring information, and is 4-for-22 on contested seems within the third quarter within the collection. Over the course of the playoffs, Boston is capturing 35.7 p.c on contested photographs within the third, which ranks fifteenth among the many 16 groups who participated within the playoffs (solely Toronto, which misplaced within the first spherical, was worse).

There is a motive, in any case, Boston mentioned a number of variations of the identical theme over the previous couple days: after saying time and again it is time to play higher within the third quarter, it is time to truly accomplish that.

Then they proceeded to have their third quarter historical past repeat itself.

“Yeah, it is positively irritating,” Celtics guard Derrick White mentioned. “I imply, we have talked about it just about the entire postseason. It is simple to speak about, however we have to go on the market and alter one thing.

“That was an enormous quarter for them, and actually 1 / 4 that put us away.”

Boston's third quarter drawback wasn't the one factor to repeat itself from Boston's unhealthy moments on this postseason. When the Celtics wrestle, it is usually due to turnovers. And, on this recreation, Boston had 21 turnovers that grew to become 33 Warriors factors, the second-most factors off turnovers in an NBA Finals recreation within the final 25 years — together with 11 stay ball turnovers, and 9 steals.

“That is been an ongoing theme within the playoffs thus far,” Celtics coach Ime Udoka mentioned. “We have turned over the ball. Take groups out of scoring in opposition to us within the half court docket, give them some baskets.

“However it was extra of the identical in that third quarter. We had 11 for 18 factors in that first half and gave up 5 – 6 extra in that quarter. Type of blew it open and that hampered our offense, as nicely.”

Moreover, after members of Boston's supporting solid Al Horford, Marcus Smart and Derrick White hit 15 3-pointers in Recreation 1, the Celtics hit 15 as a crew. Gamers not named Tatum or Jaylen Brown went a mixed 6-for-19 from deep.

Boston additionally struggled mightily from 2-point vary, going 15-for-43 on 2-point photographs (34.8 p.c) — capturing worse on them than on 3s.

Largely, although, Boston felt prefer it let a chance slip by its fingers to place Golden State on life help. The Celtics went into the locker room at halftime feeling like they did not play nicely, and but had been solely down by 2. Then they performed even worse within the third, and that was that.

Nonetheless, the Celtics do head again residence to Boston with the collection twisted up at a recreation apiece and with residence court docket benefit efficiently secured. Boston is aware of it has loads of issues to enhance if it desires to take care of that benefit and, after dropping two residence video games to each Milwaukee and Miami over the past two rounds, is aware of they should shield residence court docket this time.

“The previous would not matter,” Brown mentioned. “Nothing previously issues up till this second, to be trustworthy. The whole lot that occurred within the final collection and the collection earlier than, who cares.

“Proper now we're right here taking part in a unique opponent, a unique crew, and we have to have a look at it as such. We have to return out and play our greatest model of basketball as a result of we're able to doing it. So we have simply bought to return out and try this.”

ESPN's Stats and Info analysis contributed to this story.

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