The Golden State Warriors fed the No. 1 Boston Celtics a humble pie in Saturday night’s NBA Finals rematch.
Boston just couldn’t keep pace with the defending champions in the highly anticipated game at Chase Center. This was largely due to the performances of Warriors stars Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. The Splash Brothers combined for 66 points (26-47 FG, 10-21 3-PT) in Golden State’s 123-107 victory.
Jaylen Brown (31 points, nine rebounds) did its part, but it was an off night for the rest of the C roster. Jayson Tatum couldn’t do much as he finished with 18 points on 6-of-21 shooting.
Here are our takeaways from the Celtics’ humiliating loss. They’ll be looking to bounce back in Monday’s late night game against the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Celtics have done a terrific job without Robert Williams and without Al Horford on points this season. Saturday night, however, they really missed their big starts.
Blake Griffin started at 5 and the Warriors snipers took advantage of him in the fall cover. Boston had no answer for Curry and Thompson who were skirting the screens on the perimeter. The result was that the Splash Brothers got countless open stares with predictable results.
Thompson finished with a season-high 34 points on 14-of-26 shooting (4-11 3-PT). Curry added 32 while shooting 12 of 20 from the floor (6-11 3-PT).
Griffin was powerless against the Warriors shooters, but he did his part otherwise as a starter. The great veteran scored 13 points (4-5 FG) and seven rebounds in 20 minutes.
Still, C fans will be crossing their fingers and hoping The return of Williams is just around the corner.
NBA Finals flashbacks for Jayson Tatum
Jayson Tatum no doubt had this game circled on his schedule as he plots revenge against the team that ruined his NBA championship hopes. The evening did not go as planned for the NBA MVP favorite.
Tatum received a harsh reminder of his struggles against Golden State in the 2022 Finals. He watched from the opening tip, shooting 1 for 6 from the floor with two fouls in the first quarter.
It didn’t get much better from there. Tatum couldn’t get the job done in record time and finished with just 18 points, his second-lowest total of the season (14 in the December 2 overtime loss to Miami). He was just 6 of 21 from the floor and 4 of 7 from the free throw line.
You can bet on a rebounding performance from Tatum on Monday night in Los Angeles, but those are the types of games an MVP candidate needs to step up in. He will have to wait for the January 19 rematch at TD Garden to catch up.
Jaylen Brown takes over
Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce Believe Jaylen Brown should receive MVP consideration alongside Tatum. They may be right.
Brown stepped up on Tatum’s night off, particularly in the fourth quarter to power an 11-2 Celtics run that cut the deficit to eight points. It wasn’t enough, but the final score would have been much more lopsided if Brown hadn’t been playing at such a high level.
Brown continued his stellar season with a team-high 31 points on 13-of-23 shooting. He added nine rebounds and three assists with just two turnovers.
In 27 games, Brown is averaging 26.8 points and 7.2 rebounds while shooting 50.1 percent from the floor. Those numbers aren’t too far off from Tatum’s. If nothing else, Saturday night’s game was a reminder that Brown deserves way more national recognition than he gets.