SAN FRANCISCO — The Celtics fired off three after three in the fourth quarter, mounting a furious rally to beat the Golden State Warriors in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, 120-108.
Boston allowed 38 points in the third quarter, a showing reminiscent of their struggles against the Bucks and the Heat earlier in these playoffs.
But they the sellout crowd of 18,064 at the Chase Center why they have gotten this far when they reeled off the first seven points of the fourth quarter.
Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum were a combined 9-of-31 from the field after the third quarter. They finished a combined 13-40. It was players like Derrick White and Al Horford who made it happen for Boston in the fourth.
White finished with 21 points while shooting 6-11 from the field, firing off back-to-back threes to give the Celtics a late lead they would never relinquish.
Horford appeared in his 142nd playoff game, but it was his first Finals appearance. No player has ever been in as many playoff games without reaching this point before.
He made it count, scoring 26 points on 9-12 shooting from the field. He hit six of the eight threes he attempted. And he only had eight points at halftime.
Brown scored 24 points on 10-23 shooting, and was 2-for-8 from three. Tatum had just 12 points, but notched 13 assists in 41 minutes.
The Warriors’ Stephen Curry broke the record for most threes in a quarter in the NBA Finals when he sunk six of them in the first. He finished with 36 points on 12-25 shooting, but scored only 13 of them after the first quarter once Boston’s defense settled in.
It was Golden State’s first playoff loss at home this season. Game 2 is back here on Sunday at 8 p.m. EDT.
Read the Globe’s stories from Game 1
Dan Shaughnessy: This was everything an NBA Finals game should be — 1:00 a.m.
Column by Dan Shaughnessy
This one took your breath away.
The Celtics trailed the estimable Warriors by 15 points late in the third quarter, only to roar back in the fourth on the strength of their NBA-best defense and the shooting of veterans Al Horford (26 points) and Derrick White (21 off the bench).
When it was over, the Celtics were 120-108 winners in Game 1 of the NBA Finals at San Francisco Thursday night and dreams of a championship feel very real.
Top shots 📸 from the Globe staff — 12:40 a.m.
Here are some of our favorite shots from Game 1, courtesy of Jim Davis and Matt Lee.
Is this some bulletin board material from Draymond? — 12:30 a.m.
Warriors star Draymond Green was a bit dismissive of the Celtics after Golden State’s Game 1 loss.
“We pretty much dominated the game for the first 41, 42 minutes,” he said. “So we’ll be fine.”
He was particularly unconcerned about the clutch shooting of Marcus Smart, Al Horford, and Derrick White.
“They hit 21 threes, and Marcus Smart and Al Horford and Derrick White combined for 15 of them,” he said. “The guys are good shooters, but they combined for, what, 15? ... 15-for-23 from those guys, eh, you know, so, we’ll be fine.”
Al Horford brings his son to his postgame interview (and here’s what he said) — 12:20 a.m.
After a big night for the big man — 26 points, six threes — he celebrated the win with his son.
Here are the highlights from his postgame interview:
On the journey to get to this point:
“Just grateful for this opportunity. It’s just going out there and playing basketball at the end of the day. That’s just what it is.
“Just grateful to be in this position. God has put me in this position, and it’s something that I embrace and I’m excited about. Just excited to be able to share this stage with these group of guys. We have a lot of great guys here, guys that have really bought into what we’re trying to do.
“It’s just fun to see all that come together.”
The Celtics now have the most road playoff wins in franchise history — 12:07 a.m.
From Alex Speier: The Celtics now have 8 (!) road wins in this playoff run. That’s most in franchise history, and tied for second most ever. Only the 1994-95 Rockets (9) — who had the “advantage” of being a No. 6 seed — had more road wins in one playoff run.
What Steve Kerr said about the Celtics — 12:05 a.m.
Some highlights from the Warriors coach after the game:
On what happened in the fourth quarter:
“Give them credit. I mean, they made 21 threes. ... It’s going to be tough to beat Boston if they are making 21 threes and they are getting combined 11 from Horford and White.”
On how the Warriors fell apart:
“I thought we had a couple turnovers, a couple bad possessions offensively, and they just pounced. They took advantage of every opportunity and moved the ball.
“Like I said, you make five, six threes in a row in the fourth quarter, and that’s tough to overcome. We’ll watch the tape and see what we can do better.
“My gut reaction, what I just witnessed, they came in and played a hell of a fourth quarter, and you have to give them credit. It’s pretty much as simple as that.”
Did the Warriors try to shut down Jayson Tatum and concede shots to players like Derrick White and Al Horford?
“You never go in conceding shots. You kind of have a scouting report on each player. You know who you’re going to close out hot to, who you’re going to close out short to, all that stuff. It felt like to me that we didn’t close out very well in the first half, and that allowed them to get going a little bit. But again, got to watch the tape and see where the breakdowns occurred.”
The party is on at Faneuil Hall — 12:00 a.m.
Check out this video of the watch party back in Boston:
Watch: One-minute game highlights — 11:55 p.m.
(In case you need to get caught up!)
The most threes for Horford ... ever — 11:50 p.m.
Al Horford’s six threes were the most he’s ever scored in a game ever. And he turns 37 on Friday.
Courtesy of ESPN stats: The Celtics’ 17-0 run in the 4th was the second-longest fourth-quarter scoring run in a Finals game over the last 50 years (Spurs 19-0 vs. Nets in 2003 Game 6).
The point breakdown of that run: Horford, 8. Smart, 6. White, 3.
Adam Himmelsbach’s observations — 11:45 p.m.
By Adam Himmelsbach
The Celtics have insisted throughout their surge toward the top of the NBA that they never expect things to be easy for them. And with Stephen Curry raining 3-pointers and a rowdy crowd providing a jolt to the one group that has been in the NBA Finals before, it became clear that the Celtics would have to scratch and claw and seek a way once again.
But trailing by 12 points at the start of the fourth quarter, the Celtics put on a 3-point-shooting display for the ages, connecting on seven in a row to daze and wobble the Warriors and ignite a 120-108 Game 1 comeback win that left this crowd and this veteran Golden State team stunned.
In the fourth quarter, the Celtics connected on 9 of 12 3-pointers and outscored the Warriors, 40-16, to hand the Warriors their first home loss of the playoffs.
The stats that tell the story — 11:35 p.m.
▪ Steph Curry broke the record for the most threes in a quarter with six in the first. He scored only 13 points the rest of the night.
▪ Al Horford scored 26 points. He had just eight at the half.
▪ Jaylen Brown had no assists after three quarters. He finished with five, and was integral to Boston’s comeback.
Takeaway: When the defense settled in, Curry couldn’t do much — 11:30 p.m.
By Adam Himmelbach
If Boston’s defense was a bit rattled at the start, it certainly settled in during the second quarter. Derrick White and Marcus Smart keyed the lockdown effort at the point of attack, getting into Golden State’s shooters before they had any room to think about spraying 3-pointers. The Warriors connected on 7 of 13 3-pointers in the first quarter but just 2 of 8 in the second, and Curry was held scoreless in a little more than six minutes of action, and the Celtics took a 56-54 lead to halftime.
Celtics win Game 1 — 11:27 p.m.
A “Let’s Go Celtics!” chant broke out as the clock wound down.
Finn: After getting outscored 38-24 in the first quarter, I think we all figured the Celtics would be emptying their bench in the final minute with a victory secure, right?
McInerney: Can I change my prediction?
Finn: Curry had only 13 after the first quarter.
Scoring update: 3:23, fourth quarter — 11:17 p.m.
Al Horford hits back-to-back threes, and it’s 111-103. What an incredible show of strength from the Celtics when they needed it most.
Finn: I am not a gambler, but I was intrigued when I saw that Horford had 100-1 odds of being Finals MVP as of this morning.
Thurston: He has been huge down the stretch.
Finn: And in conclusion, trading Kemba Walker for Al Horford was an OK idea.
Finn: Subtle thing, but Ime Udoka has a great feel for when to use his timeouts.
Thurston: Unlike his predecessor.
Al Horford sinks a 3, and the Celtics are up with 5:08 to play — 11:10 p.m.
It’s 106-103. Steve Kerr called a timeout after the Celtics scored nine points in less than a minute.
Finn: This game is so fast-paced I can’t keep up with the play-by-play in my notes.
Derrick White is 5 of 7 from 3. He didn’t hit his fifth 3 in the playoffs until Game 3 against the Bucks, the Celtics’ seventh postseason game.
Yang: Dad strength! He missed Game 2 of the conference finals because of the birth of his son.
Derrick White ties it up! — 11:09 p.m.
With a big three, White makes it 103-103. He’s got 21 points, second to only Brown on the Celtics tonight.
Watch: Big Rob Williams dunk off a JB assist puts the Celtics within 5 — 11:04 p.m.
And just like that, the Celtics are right back in it — 11:02 p.m.
Jaylen Brown sinks a jumper and a three, then assists on a Robert Williams dunk. Golden State calls a timeout.
Yang: The Celtics are right back in the game, scoring the first 7 points of the fourth quarter to cut Golden State’s lead to 5. Give the Celtics credit. They have continued to hang around in this one, even when the Warriors have had opportunities to pull away.
Finn: Watching Jordan Poole throw that pass away reminded me of a couple of times this season where it’s clear that Klay Thompson has become annoyed with his decision-making. Celtics might want to let Poole try to be the hero here.
Yang: I should add that Jaylen Brown had a role in each of those 7 points, scoring the first 5 and then passing to Robert Williams for a monstrous alley-oop dunk for the final 2. With Jayson Tatum struggling, Brown should feel comfortable stepping up — and he has. He’s Boston’s leading scorer with 19 points (on 19 shots, though).
Thurston: We’ve said this before, but let’s see how Tatum responds in these last 10 minutes.
Finn: That 3-pointer at the 10-minute mark was Brown’s first in six attempts. Maybe he is heating up. Certainly playing aggressively.
What’s up with Tatum? — 11:00 p.m.
He’s got 12 points on 3-16 shooting from the field. He’s 1-6 from 3 with 9:35 to go in the game.
Finn: Wiggins is playing Tatum pretty well, but he’s really just missing makeable shots, and it’s frustrating him. He’s 3 for 14 now, just 1 of 5 from 3, and of his 12 points, 5 have come from the free-throw line. He has looked a little slower than usual on his release, taking more time to line up shots, and I don’t think that’s a product of his struggles. He was doing it early in the game too.
Yang: Even right there, he gets the switch so Jordan Poole is defending him but can’t get his bucket to fall.
Or right there, when he has an open three, and clanks it off the back of the rim.
Thurston: That’s a good example of him falling back into old habits — get the ball to Brown.
What the stats say about the third quarter — 10:58 p.m.
From Alex Speier: Warriors outscored the Celtics, 38-24, in the 3rd quarter. It was the 5th time during this playoffs run that the Celtics have been outscored by at least 12 in one quarter. They’ve lost all of the prior four such games.
End of third quarter: Warriors 92, Celtics 78 — 10:53 p.m.
What a rough third quarter for the Celtics — and it’s something we saw before, against the Bucks and the Heat.
Boston allowed 38 points to the Warriors in the third. Tatum took five shots and only made one. Brown took four, and only made one.
What a turnaround for Golden State — 10:49 p.m.
They’re up 13 now. It’s 87-74 with a minute to play in the third quarter.
Thurston: Both teams shooting 44.3 percent from field with 52.4 left in third.
Scoring update: 5:19, third quarter (Hey, where’s Tatum?) — 10:40 p.m.
Warriors 73, Celtics 64
Thurston: Huge ovation for Barry Bonds as he’s shown on scoreboard. Rises to his feet and salutes the Warriors’ throng. Somehow he looks a lot smaller ...
Finn: Gotta find a way to get Tatum an easy bucket and get him going. He’s just 2 of 12.
McInerney: Even worse: Tatum and Brown combined are 8 for 27 from the field.
The Celtics are getting crushed on the boards — 10:33 p.m.
Ime Udoka calls a timeout after Andrew Wiggins sinks a three off a Looney assist after Looney grabbed the offensive rebound. It’s 71-64 Golden State.
The Warriors have 19 second-chance points to the Celtics’ 5.
McInerney: Sequences like that are why I picked the Warriors to win.
Thurston: Have to do a better job on the defensive boards. This was a problem against the undersized Heat in last series, too. Too many second-chance opportunities.
Finn: Ten offensive rebounds now for the Warriors, six by Looney and three by Green. Cannot give this team second chances.
Scoring update: 8:46, third quarter — 10:27 p.m.
Warriors 64, Celtics 60
Finn: Gotta respect Rob Williams out there diving for loose balls given the knee issue he’s dealing with.
Finn’s take: What I liked, what I didn’t — 10:20 p.m.
By Chad Finn
What I liked: Tatum’s patience and passing. He had 7 assists. ... Derrick White’s shot. He knocked down a pair of 3s and had 8 points in 15 minutes ... The second-quarter defense ... The Celtics’ relative poise after falling behind 47-37, and then tearing off a 10-0 run.
What I didn’t like: Helping Curry get going in his 21-point first quarter by losing him a couple of times on defense ... The inability to keep Kevon Looney off the offensive boards. He has 5, and I can recall two that led to second-chance buckets for Curry (a 3) and Thompson.
Did the Celtics meet your expectations in the first half? — 10:15 p.m.
Thurston: They exceeded expectations. The Celtics seemed to play more within the confines of their offense in the second quarter — moving the ball and looking inside. It’s smart to not get trapped into engaging the Warriors in a shootout.
Halftime stat check: Curry didn’t score in the second quarter?! — 10:10 p.m.
Yep, that’s right: Steph Curry didn’t score a single point in the second quarter after sinking six threes in the first.
Tatum: 8 points, 7 assists, 2-9 FG, 1-2 from 3
Brown: 12 points, 0 assists, 5-13 FG, 0-4 from 3
Smart: 10 points, 3 assists, 4-7 FG, 2-5 from 3
White: 8 points, 3 assists, 4-7 FG, 2-4 from 3
Curry: 21 points, 2 assists, 7-11 FG, 6-9 from 3
Porter Jr.: 9 points, 0 assists, 3-3 FG, 3-3 from 3
Thompson: 8 points, 2 assists, 3-8 FG, 2-5 from 3
Wiggins: 8 points, 0 assists, 4-9 FG, 0-3 from 3
AT THE HALF: Celtics 56, Warriors 54 — 10:06 p.m.
Yang: “Dream” first half would be an overstatement, but the Celtics have to be pleased with not only the score but also how they’re playing.
Finn: Curry didn’t score in the second quarter. That’s nuts.
Steph called for the offensive foul, and fans aren’t happy — 10:03 p.m.
McInerney: Oh they’re mad in here about that one.
Thurston: Nice sell job by Smart.
Yang: And the Celtics take their first lead of the game since it was 6-5 with 2:32 remaining in the first half.
They’ve withstood two pushes from the Warriors, which is extremely impressive given the circumstances, and their defense seems to be finding its groove.
Steph Curry just picked up his third personal foul with 53.8 seconds remaining in the first half.
Finn: Kind of a ticky-tack foul on Curry there, and it appeared to be on the floor, but Tatum is shooting.
Steph gets cold? — 10:01 p.m.
Yang: No points for Steph Curry so far through the second quarter.
Derrick White's done a tremendous job on Steph on a few of these second-quarter possessions.— Adam Himmelsbach (@AdamHimmelsbach) June 3, 2022
It’s all tied up with 5 minutes to play in the half — 9:55 p.m.
A Jaylen Brown jumper makes it 47-47.
Golden State had a 10-point lead with 7:36 left in the half.
It’s a three-for-all — 9:49 p.m.
Thurston: Both teams have hoisted up 18 threes — Warriors converting 10, Boston 8. Seems more lopsided than that with 6:59 left in the half.
Finn: Celtics scoring is really balanced. White has 8, Tatum and Brown and Smart 6 each, and Horford with 5. Tatum already has 6 assists.
Thurson: Horford with 5 is the best sign in those stats. Keep taking those mid-range jumpers.
Scoring update: 8:37, second quarter (and an Angry Ime sighting) — 9:42 p.m.
Warriors 44, Celtics 37
Tatum has six points for the Celtics; Derrick White has eight.
Steph Curry already has 21. Andrew Wiggins and Otto Porter Jr. have each added six.
Yang: Angry Ime timeout after Otto Porter hits a 3-pointer to make it 44-37. Jayson Tatum spiked the ball after the timeout. He’s done that before in games in the past, and it typically earned him a tech.
Finn: Porter is a better 3-point shooter than I thought. Nearly 40 percent for his career.
Yang: It’s huge that they have him back. Heading into Game 1, Gary Payton II’s status was dominating the headlines (and rightfully so for his defensive contributions), but Porter’s versatility will improve Golden State’s depth.
Thurston: Watching this type of game always makes me imagine how fun it would have been to watch Bird in today’s NBA.
Finn: [Bob Ryan voice]: Anyone who thinks Bird would struggle in today’s NBA should have their opinion SUMMARILY MOCKED AND DISMISSED.
Derrick White is coming up clutch once more — 9:41 p.m.
Yang: Derrick White once again coming up with some well-timed buckets. The decision to trade for him is one of the reasons why Brad Stevens should be considered for executive of the year.
End first quarter: Warriors 32, Celtics 28 — 9:36 p.m.
Thurston: Not a whole lot you can do when Curry gets on this kind of roll; if this game just turns into a 3-for-all, Celtics are in big trouble.
Finn: I’d suggest guarding him.
Yang: All things considered, the Celtics should be pleased with their first-quarter showing. They didn’t let the game out of hand when the Warriors took a seven-point lead early and trail only by four. Given the fatigue and the bright lights of the Finals, the deficit could be much worse. After the Warriors scored 20 points in the first six minutes of the quarter, the Celtics settled in and held them to 12 in the last six.
That being said, Steph Curry alone has 21 points and is 6 of 8 from behind the arc. I would say that’s probably not sustainable, but we’re talking about Steph Curry.
Thurston: Even with a hand in his face, he will still drain these.
Finn: The Celtics were aided by Green going 0 for 5. He shot 29.6 from 3 this year, and that was his BEST in four years. Maybe the Curry antidote is not guarding Green outside of 10 feet.
Yang: Part of me wonders whether Boston’s strategy is to let Steph Curry get his and deal with the other guys. It worked when they decided to stop doubling Giannis Antetokounmpo in the conference semis, but the rest of the Bucks were ... not that good.
Fun fact about Draymond Green’s 3-point shooting: The Warriors are 19-1 this year (regular season and playoffs) when he makes at least one three.
Steph Curry breaks record for threes in 1 quarter of the NBA Finals — 9:34 p.m.
With six threes on eight attempts, Steph Curry broke the record for the most threes in one quarter in an NBA Finals.
Or as Yang put it: Steph Curry is on pace for 84 points LOL.
From Speier: Curry’s 21 points in the first quarter are the most by a player in one quarter of a playoff game against the Celtics since LeBron had 21 in the first quarter of 2017-18 Eastern Conference Finals Game 2.
ESPN Stats and Info has another fact: Curry’s 21 first-quarter points are the most in a Finals quarter since Michael Jordan had 22 in the 4th quarter of Game 4 against Phoenix in 1993.
Scoring update: 2:36, first quarter — 9:27 p.m.
Warriors 26, Celtics 22
Finn: Celtics need to attack Jordan Poole. He’s the NBA version of a designated hitter. Offense only.
Yang: I agree with Chad about Poole. He’s the weak link on defense. But he almost just picked a steal off Jaylen Brown’s dribble, so I’m not sure if that says more about the state of Brown’s handle or Poole’s uptick in peskiness for the Finals.
Finn: The rule for Jaylen has to be this: If you get the ball tipped or lose control of the dribble for a second, you are no longer allowed to dribble on this particular play. He really forced that last shot. The Bucks came up with the blueprint for attacking his dribble, the Heat mastered it, and you better believe the Warriors will do the same, even if their guards aren’t as good defensively.
Yang: Nice ovation for Andre Iguodala, who checks in for the first time since Game 4 of the first round.
Stat Masterson checks in — 9:23 p.m.
From Globe reporter Alex Speier:
In less than a quarter, Steph Curry has as many 3s against the Celtics as any member of the Bucks and Heat had in any playoff game against Boston.
Boston timeout, 5:55 first quarter — 9:18 p.m.
Warriors 20, Celtics 14
Marcus Smart has attempted four 3s, and made two of them.
Yang: Before that Robert Williams dunk, all of Boston’s baskets had come from behind the arc. Golden State is prone to giving up open 3-pointers, so the Celtics should certainly take advantage, but missed threes also give the Warriors a chance to get moving on the other end.
Finn: On that last Curry 3, Smart got screened by Looney, and though Brown didn’t have a lot of time, he should have left Green to at least contest Curry’s shot. Curry is shooting like he’s spent the last week reading stories about how Marcus Smart contains him better than anyone.
Yang: The Warriors have scored 20 points through six minutes of the first quarter, which speaks to one of their greatest strengths: They can score. Their early shooting percentages are stellar : 8 of 13 from the field (61.5 percent) and 4 of 7 from three (57.1 percent).
First celeb to get some face time on the jumbotron: rapper Jay-Z.
Finn: Celtics need to attack Jordan Poole. He’s the NBA version of a designated hitter. Offense only.
How the Warriors plan to guard Jayson Tatum — 9:14 p.m.
Yang: As expected, Andrews Wiggins takes the assignment of defending Jayson Tatum. Wiggins did a fantastic job of limiting Luka Dončić into inefficient numbers during the conference finals. Whether he can have a similar impact on Tatum is something to watch this series.
McInerney: Chad, what if this actually happened?
Marcus Smart on pace to take 48 3-pointers.— Adam Himmelsbach (@AdamHimmelsbach) June 3, 2022
Finn: He’s on pace to make 24.
(This is not what you want — Smart in a shootout with the Splash Bros.)
Yang: Wow. Jayson Tatum just missed both of his free-throw attempts. You don’t see that very often. I wonder if that’s a result of fatigue.
Score update: 10:00, first quarter — 9:11 p.m.
Warriors 5, Celtics 3
Thurston: I will be watching Smart’s early game.
Finn: Looney offensive rebound. Curry second-chance 3. Cannot have that.
Three things Chad Finn is thinking before tipoff — 9:08 p.m.
Couple of quick thoughts on the series before we tip off Game 1:
▪ If the Celtics win this series, it will mean that Jaylen Brown has played to the peak of his powers. The Warriors are going to focus on taking the ball out of Jayson Tatum’s hands. Andrew Wiggins will have help with that responsibility, and perhaps Draymond Green will see some time on him as well. The Warriors don’t have an exceptional defender beyond Green and Wiggins (when he’s engaged). Klay Thompson hasn’t been the same defensive player since coming back from his knee and Achilles’ injuries. Brown is going to have chances to score. He was up-and-down in the Heat series, scoring 40 points in Game 3, but turning the ball over 20 times over the final five games of the series. If he can be consistent, he will put up big numbers in this series.
▪ I’m braced for the Celtics to blow at least one massive lead in this series. No team can pile up points from long distance like the Warriors, and the Celtics still fall into the habit of setting for 3-pointers when they have a big lead.
▪ The most annoying Warrior won’t be Green or the Splash Brothers. It will be either Kevon Looney, who was a monster on the offensive boards against Dallas, or Wiggins, a wildly talented, still inconsistent player who will be invisible on some occassions and come out of nowhere for poster-worthy dunks on others. His bursts of inspiration are going to make Celtics fans wish he remained invisible.
Starting lineups for Game 1 — 9:00 p.m.
Here are your starting lineups:
Celtics: Tatum, Horford, Robert Williams, Brown, Smart
Warriors: Wiggins, Green, Looney, Thompson, Curry
The stars are out in San Francisco — 8:45 p.m.
It wouldn’t be a Finals without a star-studded attendance list.
Among those in the house tonight? Jay-Z, Barry Bonds, Gary Payton (watching his son, of course), Bill Walton (how could he miss this?), Tyrese Maxey, and No ID.
The Globe’s predictions are in — 8:30 p.m.
Gary Washburn: Celtics in 6
Adam Himmelsbach: Celtics in 6
Chris Gasper: Warriors in 6
Nicole Yang: Celtics in 7
Chad Finn: Celtics in 7
Katie McInerney: Warriors in 6
Dan Shaughnessy: Celtics in 7
Tara Sullivan: Warriors in 5
Scott Thurston: Warriors in 7
Washburn grew up in the Bay Area. He’s seen what this Warriors team used to be. — 8:15 p.m.
By Gary Washburn
There is definitely a “Once Upon a Time” with these Golden State Warriors, currently the model franchise in professional sports but at one time the most obscure and forgotten organization in the NBA.
Before the Warriors ascended to the NBA championship in 2015, the franchise had endured 40 years of chaos and suspect trades, an 18-year stretch during which the Warriors made one playoff appearance and were single-handedly responsible for helping launch the Celtics’ dynastic run in the 1980s.
The franchise was such an afterthought during stretches of the late ‘80s and early ′90s, that an Oakland friend of this reporter would try to pick up women by telling them his 6-foot-5 buddy, a stereo system installer at a local electronics store, played for the Warriors.
Bob Ryan on the 17 title teams that came before — 8:10 p.m.
The Celtics are in pursuit of a record 18th NBA championship. There were four distinct groups that won the first 17. Bob Ryan explores each group in his latest column for the Globe.
They grew up fans of the Warriors. Now, the Celtics’ stars are facing them. — 8:00 p.m.
By Adam Himmelsbach
Celtics star Jayson Tatum was a junior at Chaminade Prep in St. Louis when the Warriors’ dynasty started with a win over the Cavaliers in the 2015 NBA Finals. He was pulling for Golden State forward David Lee, an alumnus of his high school.
Forward Jaylen Brown had just finished his freshman year at California in 2016 when the Warriors lost to Cleveland in the Finals. He went to plenty of Golden State’s games that season because coach Steve Kerr’s son, Nick, happened to be his teammate in nearby Berkeley.
Forward Grant Williams was a freshman at Tennessee in 2017 when the Warriors and Cavaliers met in the Finals for the third straight year. Most of his teammates were Cleveland fans so he wanted to go against them for the fun of it, and Williams appreciated Golden State forward Draymond Green’s style of play.
“When they beat [Cleveland],” Williams said, “I talked so much trash for a week.”
At the time, Warriors stars Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Green were all in their mid-20s, and their influential, 3-point-spraying style quickly redefined the modern NBA. They ended up reaching the Finals in five consecutive seasons, winning three titles.
Now, three years after their last appearance, they are back and facing the Celtics, and their core persists. The difference is that they are no longer the young stars with seemingly endless futures ahead.
📸 Game 1 fit check — 7:45 p.m.
Jim Davis caught the Celtics as they entered the Chase Center.
Pregame reading: The clouds have cleared for Jayson Tatum — 7:30 p.m.
By Adam Himmelsbach
Celtics forward Jayson Tatum has been one of the key cogs on this team since his rookie year in 2017-18. But last year was the first time he entered a season as the team’s clear star and leader.
Then the Celtics went 36-36 and lost in the first round of the playoffs. At the start of this year, it was even worse, with Boston’s record dipping below .500 and the team stuck in 11th place in the Eastern Conference as late as January.
Tatum acknowledged that it all made him wonder whether he was fully prepared for this demanding post.
“I’ll be honest, for myself, there have been times where I questioned, ‘Am I the right person to kind of lead a group like this?’” he said. “You know, never, like, doubted myself, but just moments after some of those losses and the tougher parts of the season. That’s human nature to kind of question yourself and things like that. But just always stick to what you believe in and trust in the work that you’ve put in. You know it can’t rain forever.”
The clouds eventually cleared, of course. Tatum was selected as an All-Star for the third year in a row, was at the center of Boston’s ascension to the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference, was named First-Team All-NBA, and has now guided his team to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2010.
Rob Williams is available and will start for the Celtics — 7:25 p.m.
Robert Williams is AVAILABLE for the Celtics.
The big man continues to deal with swelling in his knee following surgery for a torn meniscus in March.
Warriors will have Payton II, Iguodala, and Porter Jr. — 7:20 p.m.
By Nicole Yang
The Warriors will have Gary Payton II, Otto Porter Jr., and Andre Iguodala available for Game 1 of the NBA Finals Thursday night.
All three players were initially listed as questionable as they recover from injuries. Kerr would not go into detail about how each player might be used, and said that playing time decisions will be dictated by the game. Payton II, Porter Jr., and Iguodala were previously all part of the rotation.
“We’ll see,” Kerr said before tip-off. “They’re all available. We did a little bit of scrimmaging [Wednesday]. All three guys felt good this morning. We’ll see how it plays out.”
Payton II, who suffered a fractured left elbow in Game 2 of the conference semifinals, will serve as a huge boost to Golden State’s defense. Leading up to Game 1, Payton II was vague about his status but said he was close to feeling more like himself.
Porter Jr., who missed the last two games of the Western Conference finals, said Thursday he feels “OK.”
“It’s great to have all three guys back,” Kerr said. “I think all three can contribute for sure.”
ESPN crew knocked out for Game 1 with COVID-19 — 7:15 p.m.
By Chad Finn
ESPN/ABC will be without two-thirds of its No. 1 NBA broadcast team for Game 1 of the NBA Finals Thursday night.
A network spokesperson confirmed the morning of the opener between the Celtics and Warriors that Jeff Van Gundy has tested positive for COVID-19 would miss the opener.
Later in the day, play-by-play voice Mike Breen, who missed Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Celtics and Heat after testing positive for the virus, was also ruled out for Game 1 after he could not clear protocols to return.
We’re live from the Chase Center! — 7:00 p.m.
Hey folks 👋 Katie McInerney here live from San Francisco. It’s been quite a ride for the Celtics so far, and it’s not over yet. They’re four wins away from an 18th NBA title.
We’ll be offering live updates and analysis throughout the entire NBA Finals. And while you’re here, don’t forget to follow our reporters and columnists on Twitter:
ICYMI: We hosted a Twitter Space with our friends over at the San Francisco Chronicle to preview Game 1.
You can listen to a recording here:
Chad Finn can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeChadFinn. Nicole Yang can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.Follow her on Twitter @nicolecyang. Katie McInerney can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @k8tmac. Scott Thurston can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.