What we learned as Warriors outmuscled by Celtics, drop Game 3


BOSTON -- Too little, too late.

The Warriors knew how important force and intensity right from the opening tip would be and they didn't bring it Wednesday night at TD Garden, losing 116-100 to the Boston Celtics in Game 3 of the NBA Finals.

Golden State was lucky to be down by only 11 points after the first quarter, and 12 at halftime. Their third-quarter dominance continued, finally going ahead at the 3:45 mark in the period. They trailed by as many as 18 points early on. 

But the Celtics are too good to wait that long to show up. 

Steph Curry did everything he could to bring the Warriors a win. He scored 31 points and drilled six 3-pointers. It still wasn't enough. Klay Thompson put up 25 points and made five shots from long distance, but the third part of Golden State's Big Three -- Draymond Green -- struggled mightily.

Jaylen Brown scored 17 points in the first quarter and wound up with 27. He was followed by 26 from Jayson Tatum and 24 from Marcus Smart. The Celtics now are 7-0 in the playoffs following a loss.

Here are three takeaways from the Warriors going down two-games-to-one in the Finals.

Steph Continues Dominance

What else is there to say about the three-time MVP? Curry scored 14 points in the first half, and came out of halftime a man on a mission. He scored 15 points in the third quarter alone, sitting the final three minutes of the quarter. 

Curry hit four 3-pointers in the third quarter, and gave the Warriors their first lead of the night since it was 2-0 when he hit a triple to make it 83-82 in favor of Golden State. The Warriors now have outscored the Celtics by 43 points in the third quarter, good for a 14.3 average point differential.

All game long, Curry fought through foul trouble, including some questionable calls. Here's one example.

After scoring 31 points in Game 3, Curry now is averaging 31.3 points in these Finals. The Warriors have needed every single one of them, and likely will need even more going forward.

Game 3 Klay

Thompson said Tuesday that sometimes when he's in a shooting slump, he'll YouTube clips of his Game 6 heroics. Well, he has been pretty good Game 3s during these playoffs, too. He came into Wednesday night's game averaging 22 points while shooting over 44 percent from downtown in the first three Game 3s this postseason. 

He was even better as the series shifted to Boston. 

The other half of the Splash Brothers averaged 13 points and was making only 26.7 percent of his 3-point attempts in the first two games of the Finals. His slump officially is over. 

While scoring 25 points, Thompson shot 7-for-17 from the field and made five of his 13 3-pointers. He was a perfect 6-for-6 from the free-throw line.

Though the final result was a loss, this is the Klay the Warriors need more of.

Bully Ball

There's no two ways around it. The Warriors got bullied by Boston far too often. In the first half, they were outrebounded by 10 boards and the Celtics scored twice as many points in the paint -- 32 to 16. 

Green's off-night didn't help by any means. Going into the half, he didn't score a single point. He also only had three rebounds, one assist, two fouls and two turnovers. 

The heartbeat who was full of energy in Game 2, finished with two points, four rebounds, three assists and fouled out with four minutes remaining in the game. That isn't going to cut it. He was a minus-13 over 35 minutes.

The Celtics outrebounded the Warriors by 16, scored 26 more points in the paint and led by Robert Williams' four swats, the Celtics blocked seven Warriors shots.

If the Warriors plan to even things up again Friday night, they have to be tougher and more engaged from the start. They have to figure out their zone defense, among a handful of other adjustments. It starts with Green.

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