What we learned as Warriors collapse in fourth, lose Game 1


SAN FRANCISCO -- The Warriors no longer are undefeated at Chase Center in the playoffs, and they now find themselves in an early series hole after dropping Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night, 120-108 to the Boston Celtics. 

Going into the fourth quarter, the Warriors looked well on their way to a win after outscoring Boston by 14 points in the third. In the blink of an eye, everything changed. The Celtics couldn't miss, the Warriors lost any kind of momentum and Boston owned the fourth quarter. 

The Celtics scored 40 points in the fourth quarter. The Warriors scored 16. It's about how you finish, and the Warriors absolutely crumbled down the stretch. 

Steph Curry scored a game-high 34 points, which ties his career-high for his most points in a Game 1 of the Finals. Andrew Wiggins scored 20 points and Klay Thompson scored 15, but the Warriors were swallowed by the Celtics' defense. 

While Jayson Tatum only scored 12 points, he also had 13 assists and was a plus-16. Al Horford continued to be a star in the playoffs as of late, leading the Celtics with 26 points. His six 3-pointers are the most ever for a player's Finals debut.

Sunday night's Game 2 essentially now is a must-win for the Warriors.

Here are three takeaways from the Warriors' Game 1 loss to the Celtics.

Not Enough 

Whether it was all the talk about Marcus Smart's defense or the narrative that he still needs a Finals MVP, Curry came out like someone who heard it all, has seen it all and was ready to remind everybody who he is once again. His first quarter was historic. Literally.

Curry played the entire opening period and went off for 21 of the Warriors' 32 points. He went 7-for-9 from the field and 6-for-8 from 3-point range. For good measure, Curry also added three rebounds, two assists and a steal in the first 12 minutes of the game.

His 21 first-quarter points are the most since 1996. Kobe Bryant had the previous record with 17 in 2009. And he became the first to score at least 21 points in one quarter of the Finals since Michael Jordan in 1993. Curry also set a Finals record with his six 3-pointers in the first quarter.

He went scoreless in the second quarter, and was held to 13 the final two quarters. Curry did everything he could to bring the Warriors a win. It wasn't enough, and he'll need help going forward.

Welcome Back

Gary Payton II, Otto Porter Jr. and Andre Iguodala all were deemed back for the Warriors before tipoff. It didn't take long to remember how much Golden State missed them. Iguodala and Porter both entered in the first quarter. Porter scored six points and grabbed two rebounds in his first six minutes on the floor after missing the previous two-plus games.

Over 24 minutes, Porter scored 12 points and made four 3-pointers. He also snagged four rebounds.

Iguodala hit a big 3-pointer at the end of the third quarter and even showed bounce with a dunk. The 38-year-old played 12 minutes off the bench, scoring seven points to go with three assists.

Payton was available but didn't see any minutes.

Time To Adjust

These two teams now have two days to go over the film, make the needed changes and find ways to counter each other. The Warriors continued to mix in their zone defense, especially when Tatum wasn't on the floor. The Celtics play very aggressive on defense and were extremely handsy. They got away with it most of the time, too. 

This version of Robert Williams can be a scary one. If his surgically-repaired knee holds up, he can be a force in the middle of Boston's defense. Derrick White holds the card to being the X-factor of the series and the Celtics guard scored 21 points off the bench.

The last time the Warriors played Boston, White didn't score a single point.

Jordan Poole never really got going offensively, was out of control at times and despite his lightning-quick first step, he wasn't able to drive against the Celtics' long and swarming defense. 

After the Warriors dominated the third quarter to the tune of 38 points, the Celtics came out firing the fourth quarter and never stopped. Horford couldn't miss and Boston quickly erased its 12-point deficit.

The game was full of adjustments on the floor, and the next two days will require even more.

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