We don’t mess with traditions in Golden State. The Warriors have become accustomed to dominating their opponents in the third quarter since 2015. More than a custom, it has become a trademark of this dynasty, with six finals and three titles, perhaps soon four , at stake. Whatever the score at the break, Steve Kerr’s players know they have to hit hard as soon as they return from the locker room, when some teams are struggling to get back into the rhythm, often to kill the game. “We know the importance of these minutes and we know that we have to give the first blow. We try to be aggressive from the start“, explains Jordan Poole. The recipe works. The Californian formation is one of the most effective in the third quarter during these playoffs (+9.5 on 100 possessions) just like in 2018 or 2017.
A supremacy already highlighted in Game 1. The Warriors were able to widen the gap in favor of a 38-24 to start the money time with 12 lengths in advance. A decisive performance wasted by the exceptional comeback of the Celtics, insolent address behind the three-point line in the last 12 minutes and ultimately winners. But Stephen Curry and his teammates did it again in Game 2, precisely under the impulse of the double-MVP. He scored as many points on his own as the entire Boston team in this third quarter (14). Author of a 19-2 in 4 minutes, Golden State won the period 35-14 to head for easy success.
Curry puts on a show, Golden State picks up
13 HOURS AGO
The third quarter: Warriors strong point, Celtics weak point
In the end, Steve Kerr’s men were even more efficient and more dominant than in the first game. Just to really deal the coup de grace and prevent their opponents from coming back. For that, they have further increased their level of intensity, and mainly in defense. No question of making the zone, the coach pushed his troops to stop their vis-à-vis or at least to make their life difficult on the ground by imposing a permanent physical challenge. As a result, the Celtics lost more balls (5) than they scored baskets (4). They missed 13 of their 17 attempts. And the ball losses brought 11 points to the Warriors.
Stephen Curry made the show during Game 2 of the NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Boston Celtics
Credit: Getty Images
It’s worrisome for the Massachusetts franchise. Worrying because it’s a recurring problem. “It’s really frustrating. We’ve been talking about it since the start of the playoffs. It’s easy to talk about it but now we need change. This quarter killed uss”, plague Derrick White. The problem is indeed not new. Boston has already conceded the two worst third quarters of the playoffs: once by taking 25 points in 12 minutes against Miami and there 21 points by Golden State. They have been beaten by at least 14 points in four third quarters since the start of the competition. With a differential of -37, they are second to last among the 16 teams entered, where their opponents are second. You have to go back to the Heat, in 2006, to find the trace of a team crowned champion despite a negative rating in the third quarter.We really gotta fix this“, notes Al Horford.
This is obviously not very encouraging. The performance of Game 1, when Horford, White and Marcus Smart compiled 15 award-winning baskets, is above all an achievement. The Celtics won’t always be as skilful, proof last night (2 of 7 for the same three players behind the arc), and they can’t rely on that alone. They need to find play with a sense of urgency so they don’t end up in the hole before every fourth quarter. The outcome of these finals depends on it.
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