BOSTON – The Celtics still don’t have an answer for the Golden State Warriors’ third-quarter outbursts.
But it didn’t matter Wednesday night at TD Garden.
Led by aggressive efforts from Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart, the Celtics beat the Warriors 116-100 to win Game 3 of the NBA Finals and take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Stephen Curry made six 3-pointers and scored 31 points Wednesday night while Klay Thompson bounced back in Game 3 after a poor start to the series with 25 points and five 3-pointers, but it wasn’t enough as the Celtics overwhelmed the Warriors in the fourth quarter.
After another impressive offensive display, Curry was visibly shaken up in the closing minutes of the game as Celtics center Al Horford rolled up on Curry’s left leg while diving for a loose ball late in the fourth quarter. The play also resulted in the sixth foul on Draymond Green, who exited the game to the same chorus of boos and explicit chants he heard from the moment he walked on the court Wednesday.
With the help of its stifling defense that constantly attacked the Warriors at the rim, Boston was up by as many as 18 points, but no Celtics lead felt safe as several Curry-led rallies kept the Warriors within striking distance.
After trailing by 12 at the half, the Warriors put together another impressive third-quarter performance that included a 12-0 run.
In the third quarter, Curry nailed a 26-foot 3-pointer despite making contact with Horford, who was issued a Flagrant 1 foul that led to a seven-point possession that concluded when Otto Porter Jr. made a 3-pointer to pull the Warriors within two points .
Then, it was Curry – again – who put the Warriors up 83-82 for Golden State’s first lead since the opening possession.
Golden State outscored the Celtics 33-25 in the third quarter. But unlike Game 2, Boston continued to battle back, regaining control of the game to take a 93-89 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Boston bested the Warriors 11-4 in the first 4 minutes of the final quarter, pulling ahead 104-93. Curry did his best to keep the Warriors in the game but took a beating and was also grimacing as he grabbed at his rib cage on the bench following a departure with 2:19 left .
At that point, the Warriors waved the white flag, inserting 19-year-old rookies Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody into a game Steve Kerr was ready to concede.
Brown led the Celtics with four 3-pointers and scored a team-high 27 points – 17 in the opening quarter. Meanwhile, Jayson Tatum had 26 points and nine assists.
Golden State, which has won the battle of the boards throughout the playoffs, struggled off the glass. They were outrebounded 47-31 .
Wednesday’s loss marked the first time this postseason the Warriors have been defeated in their first game on an opponent’s home court in the playoffs.
Down for the second time this series, Golden State will look to regroup and bounce back in Game 4 on Friday.