After two-and-a-half seasons on the sidelines due to injury, Klay Thompson is savouring every moment before the Golden State Warriors face the Boston Celtics in Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Monday.

The Warriors were on the verge of forcing a Game 7 against the Toronto Raptors in the 2019 NBA Finals, when Thompson tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee with two minutes remaining in the third quarter of Game 6.

On 28 points at that point on eight-of-12 shooting, he ended up sinking both free throws before being forced off the court and did not return for the Warriors until January this year, missing the whole of the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons.

Monday is the three-year anniversary since that game but ahead of Game 5 against the Boston Celtics, Thompson revealed he did not realise the extent of his knee injury and had only one thing on his mind.

"I never had such a severe injury, so I didn't think it was that serious," Thompson said. "I thought I might have sprained something in my knee, but when you're playing in front of your fans, your adrenaline is so high, you kind of disregard anything that makes sense.

"Running around on a torn ACL doesn't make very good sense. I just thought, 'I don't want to leave these points on the board, man. This is the Finals, I'm going to go get this 30-ball.'

"On top of that, I went to the back, and they did a little test, and they came out with the conclusion that I should probably put some crutches on. Wow, what a time, three years ago. It goes by fast."

The 32-year-old has been in patchy shooting form over these playoffs and hit a nadir in the opening two games of the NBA Finals, going a combined 10-of-33 from the floor.

Thompson found his feet as the Warriors evened up the series in Game 4, coming up with big shots on the way to 18 points and 40 per cent shooting from the perimeter.

Playing in his sixth-straight NBA Finals on an individual level, following that absence due to injury, Thompson is not taking the magnitude of the occasion for granted.

"Man, it seems routine, but I know how special this is," he said. "I mean, I'm trying to just be present in everything I do during this time – even this interview. Not even looking ahead to tomorrow but just enjoy this day before the big one.

"I mean, the NBA Finals is such a cool thing to be a part of. I remember being in Istanbul, Turkey in 2013, doing some stuff for the NBA and waking up real early just to watch it. To realise that these games are broadcast worldwide just reminds you how special it really is.

"I know when my dad [Mychal] played back in the day, the NBA was not as global so to be here now, it's special."

Familiarity is not breeding contempt for Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka, as his side approaches a pivotal Game 5 on Monday, tied 2-2 against the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals.

For the third consecutive playoff series, the Celtics will come into a Game 5 with the series tied, after the Warriors reclaimed home court advantage on Friday in a 107-97 win.

Stephen Curry had 10 points during the game-ending surge and finished with 43 as Boston’s normally dependable defensive scheme had no answer for the two-time MVP.

The Celtics have demonstrated a knack for responding during these playoffs, where they’re 7-0 following a loss and have twice won on the road when facing elimination - Game 6 of their second-round series against the Milwaukee Bucks and Game 7 of their Eastern Conference finals with the Miami Heat.

That familiarity, combined with the resiliency his team has shown throughout its run to this series, has Udoka maintaining a positive outlook with the series now down to a best-of-three affair.

"It could have been an easier road, obviously,” Udoka quipped. "We know we can do it. We’ve done it before.

"I think the narrative gets shifted to Curry and what he’s doing," Udoka said. "But even throughout the game, we had several opportunities, being up five, six, seven, and poor offence or turnovers let them back in the game.

"The difference in the game that we stretched the lead [Game 3] was we took advantage of those opportunities. Against this team, anytime you run some poor offence, turn the ball over, live ball turnovers, let them get out, we know how quickly they can get back in the game."

The Celtics do face another weighty assignment with potentially two more games to be held at San Francisco’s Chase Center, where the Warriors are a near-perfect 10-1 this post-season.

That one defeat did come at the hands of Boston in the series opener, with the Celtics outscoring Golden State 40-16 in the fourth quarter to turn a 12-point deficit into a 120-108 win.

"We know it’s a long series,” Udoka said. “We’ve been battle-tested in two seven-game series in Milwaukee and Miami."

The Celtics are also optimistic regarding center Robert Williams’ availability for Game 5. The All-NBA Defensive second team selection missed the final few minutes of Friday’s loss after landing awkwardly on the surgically repaired left knee, often limiting him during the post-season.

"Feeling good,” Williams said following Sunday’s practice. "A little sore, but on the side of the better days [I’ve had]."

Steve Kerr singled out the drive to improve as fuel for his "superstar" Stephen Curry to lift the Golden State Warriors, ahead of Monday's Game 5 matchup with the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals.

Curry was at his transformative best in Game 4 on Friday as the Warriors evened the series up with a 107-97 win, scoring 43 points on 14-of-26 shooting along with 10 rebounds and four assists.

The 34-year-old has averaged 34.3 points in the opening four games of the NBA Finals on astounding shooting splits of 50/49/86 per cent, for a true shooting percentage 66.4 per cent and net rating of +12.

Speaking in the leadup to Game 5, the Warriors head coach cited Curry's valuing of preparation and work to maximise his shooting talent as the reason behind his play at such a high level.

"Just the consistency of his routine," Kerr told reporters. "He's a like a metronome, every day it's the exact same thing. He's in the training room, he's in the weight room, he's on the court and it's clockwork, but there's also a sense of joy and energy within that work.

"He enjoys it so much. He loves the process, and I think that's the thing that ties all great athletes together. Like, I'm talking about the superstar athletes, the Roger Federers of the world and Steph Currys of the world.

"There is a routine that is not only super disciplined but it's really enjoyed each day, there is a passion that comes with it, and that's what sustains it over time. When you love something like those guys do, you work at it, you get better and you just keep going."

Kerr also reserved some praise for Andrew Wiggins, who has provided valuable support in the face of Klay Thompson's shooting slump and patchy form from Draymond Green.

Only making the playoffs once in his career before this season, the 27-year-old has averaged 16.5 points and 8.5 rebounds, along with a steal and a block over the opening four games.

Traded to the Warriors in 2020, Wiggins has proved a compatible fit on both ends of the floor, with Kerr taking pride in his development.

"He's a very mild-mannered guy, but he's taking a leap in these playoffs, in terms of his impact on the game," the Warriors coach said. "Defensively, on the glass, you saw the other night with 16 rebounds and I think because the games are obviously so meaningful, there's more emotion from him and from everybody.

"The biggest thing is that he's a two-way player, you've got to have two-guys to make it this far and to succeed, and he has grown by leaps and bounds over the past couple of years. It's really fun to watch that growth."

Steve Kerr singled out the drive to improve as fuel for his "superstar" Stephen Curry to lift the Golden State Warriors, ahead of Monday's Game 5 matchup with the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals.

Curry was at his transformative best in Game 4 on Friday as the Warriors evened the series up with a 107-97 win, scoring 43 points on 14-of-26 shooting along with 10 rebounds and four assists.

The 34-year-old has averaged 34.3 points in the opening four games of the NBA Finals on astounding shooting splits of 50/49/86 per cent, for a true shooting percentage 66.4 per cent and net rating of +12.

Speaking in the leadup to Game 5, the Warriors head coach cited Curry's valuing of preparation and work to maximise his shooting talent as the reason behind his play at such a high level.

"Just the consistency of his routine," Kerr told reporters. "He's a like a metronome, every day it's the exact same thing. He's in the training room, he's in the weight room, he's on the court and it's clockwork, but there's also a sense of joy and energy within that work.

"He enjoys it so much. He loves the process, and I think that's the thing that ties all great athletes together. Like, I'm talking about the superstar athletes, the Roger Federers of the world and Steph Currys of the world.

"There is a routine that is not only super disciplined but it's really enjoyed each day, there is a passion that comes with it, and that's what sustains it over time. When you love something like those guys do, you work at it, you get better and you just keep going."

Kerr also reserved some praise for Andrew Wiggins, who has provided valuable support in the face of Klay Thompson's shooting slump and patchy form from Draymond Green.

Only making the playoffs once in his career before this season, the 27-year-old has averaged 16.5 points and 8.5 rebounds, along with a steal and a block over the opening four games.

Traded to the Warriors in 2020, Wiggins has proved a compatible fit on both ends of the floor, with Kerr taking pride in his development.

"He's a very mild-mannered guy, but he's taking a leap in these playoffs, in terms of his impact on the game," the Warriors coach said. "Defensively, on the glass, you saw the other night with 16 rebounds and I think because the games are obviously so meaningful, there's more emotion from him and from everybody.

"The biggest thing is that he's a two-way player, you've got to have two-guys to make it this far and to succeed, and he has grown by leaps and bounds over the past couple of years. It's really fun to watch that growth."

Stephen Curry declared "it means everything" to keep the NBA Finals series alive after his sensational performance dragged the Golden State Warriors past the Boston Celtics.

Curry scored 10 of the Warriors' last 12 points, finishing with 43 overall after shooting 14-of-26 from the field and seven-of-14 from long range. He also added 10 rebounds and four assists.

That helped Golden State to a 107-97 road win to level the best-of-seven series at 2-2 as they prepare to return to the Chase Center for Game 5 on Monday.

Curry also played with an injury to his left foot throughout, but expressed his delight at returning to home-court advantage with the series even.

"It means everything knowing the sense of urgency we had to have tonight to win on the road and keep some life in the series, get home-court advantage back and try to create some momentum our way," he told reporters.

"It was a hard-fought win. I think the first quarter really set the tone. Even though we were down one, it was a night and day difference between Game 3 and Game 4 how we came out defensively, and that just gives you enough life to withstand some rough patches.

"And then find some runs. We get some stops, get out in transition, guys get involved. And you give yourself a chance to win it down the stretch.

"Proud of everybody in terms of our physicality, our focus, perseverance throughout the game. 2-2 is way better than 3-1 going home. Job well done tonight."

 

Curry registered 12 points in the first quarter to keep the Warriors just one point adrift, and the 34-year-old believes it was vital he set the tone.

"It's kind of how we wanted to start the game. We rely on Draymond [Green] bringing that energy and fire throughout the course of the season, and year after year," he added. 

"Felt like we just had to let everybody know that we were here tonight. Whether that's their crowd, their team, our team, whoever wants to see that energy and that fire, we feed off of that.

"I think it helped us just get settled into the game because our experience, you can want it so bad, you get in your own way a little bit and everybody feels a little bit of pressure, and it can go the opposite way.

"I wanted to try to leverage that in a positive direction for us to start the game."

Asked whether it was his best Finals performance as Klay Thompson suggested, Curry responded: "I can't rate my performances, though. Just win the game."

Jayson Tatum simply stated "I've got to be better" after the Boston Celtics were downed by a Stephen Curry-inspired Golden State Warriors in Game 4 of the NBA Finals.

Curry put in a Finals performance for the ages at TD Garden, scoring 43 points as the Warriors levelled the best-of-seven series at 2-2 with a 107-97 triumph.

It could have been different with the Celtics holding a four-point buffer prior to Curry – playing with a left-foot injury – making a couple of fourth-quarter baskets as part of 10-0 run that swung the momentum.

Tatum had 23 points and 11 rebounds but he made just one basket when playing in the entire fourth quarter, with the Celtics draining only two shots in the final seven minutes, the Warriors outscoring the hosts 21-6 in that time.

Speaking after the game, Tatum said: "I mean, you've got to give them credit, they're a great team, they're playing well.

"But it's on me, I've got to be better. I know I'm impacting the game in other ways, but I've got to be more efficient – shoot the ball better, finish at the rim better.

"I take accountability for that, and I just look forward to Monday, and leave this one behind us.

"We'll learn from it, watching film and things like that, but everybody probably feels like they've got to do better, myself included. [We'll] just go get it on Monday."

Asked about Tatum's scoring trouble, head coach Ime Udoka said: "At times he's looking for fouls. They are a team that loads up [defensively] and certain games he's finding the outlets, and certain games he's shooting over two or three guys.

"That's the balance of being aggressive and picking your spots, and doing what he's done in previous games which is kicked it out and got guys wide-open looks.

"That's an ongoing theme, so to speak, him getting to the basket and being a scorer as well as a playmaker, and they do a good job with their rotations.

"But sometimes he's hunting fouls instead of going to finish, I've seen that in a few games so far."

Curry's tally of 43 was the second highest he has posted in a Finals game, and Udoka conceded there were some plays his team could do little to defend against.

"Obviously we're focused on him, and keeping others in check, but some of those were some crazy shots that were highly contested that he made," Udoka added.

"You look at the overall numbers, the attempts, getting those off is the number we don't like – the 14 [three-point] attempts in general – he came out bombing early, he had nine in the first half.

"Some of the threes he hit were highly contested, and you can't do anything about those, but when we did switch, it kind of got some cross-matches on guys on the rim, and he went after them a little bit later and made some plays."

The series heads back to San Francisco for Game 5 on Monday.

Draymond Green said Stephen Curry simply "wasn't letting us lose" as the greatest shooter of all time scored 43 points to carry the Golden State Warriors to a 107-97 road win in Game 4.

The win tied the series at 2-2, swinging home-court advantage back to the Warriors as they prepare to head back to Chase Center for Game 5.

Curry's ridiculous performance included going 14-of-26 from the field, and seven-of-14 from long range, while also grabbing 10 rebounds and scoring 10 of the Warriors' last 12 points in a tense fourth quarter.

Andrew Wiggins also had a night to remember, pulling in a career-high 16 rebounds to go with his 17 points, finishing with a plus/minus of plus 20 in his 43 minutes, meaning the Warriors were minus 10 in the five minutes he was on the bench.

Speaking to the media after the win, Green let it be known just how special Curry was when his team needed him most.

"Incredible – [Curry] put us on his back, willed us to a win, a much-needed win," he said.

"He came out and showed why he's one of the best players to ever play this game, and why this organisation has been able to ride him to so much success. Just absolutely incredible.

"He's one of the most resilient, toughest guys that I've ever played with. The way defenses guard him, they're constantly grabbing, and he just continues to play… he just continues to do what he does.

"It says a lot about his toughness, and his competitive nature, and what it truly means to be a winner."

When asked if he had a feeling Curry was going to bring it tonight, Green said there was no way they were heading back home trailing 3-1.

"Yeah, [Curry] wasn't letting us lose," he said. "That's just what it boils down to.

"You hear all the noise… I could tell in his demeanour the last couple days, after Game 3, that he would come out with that type of fire, and we were all able to follow."

Warriors head coach Steve Kerr echoed Green's sentiments about Curry's virtuoso performance.

"Just stunning," he said. "The physicality out there is pretty dramatic.

"Boston's got obviously the best defense in the league. They're huge, and powerful at every position.

"For Steph to take that kind of pressure all game long, and then still be able to defend at the other end when they're coming at him, I think this is the strongest physically he's ever been in his career, and it's allowing him to do what he's doing."

He also made sure to give a mention to Wiggins for his game-changing effort.

"'Wiggs' was fantastic – to go against Boston you've got to deal with [Jayson] Tatum and [Jaylen] Brown," he said. 

"They're just powerful, skilled players. Great size, they're coming downhill at you constantly, so we have to have Wiggs out there.

"I thought he was great defensively, and obviously 16 rebounds – a career-high – and [a plus/minus of] plus 20. We needed every bit of his contributions."

The Golden State Warriors produced a spectacular defensive second half to defeat the Boston Celtics 107-97 in Game 4 of the NBA Finals.

With the win on the road, the Warriors tied the series at 2-2, avoiding the dreaded 3-1 deficit that history shows is almost impossible to come back from.

From the jump, it was the Stephen Curry show, scoring 12 points in the first quarter to keep the Warriors in the fight, trailing 28-27 at quarter-time.

Eight quick points from Jordan Poole off the bench gave the Warriors a jolt to start the second period, before Jaylen Brown answered with 10 of his own. 

Ultimately it was the Celtics' defense controlling the second quarter, holding the Warriors to two-of-12 shooting from long range in the frame to win it 26-22 and head into half-time leading 54-49.

Everyone expected the Warriors to come out hot in the third quarter, and they did not disappoint, with Curry and Klay Thompson both hitting jump shots in the first 40 seconds, igniting a 30-24 period for the visitors.

Curry scored another 14 points in the third, with a late three giving the Warriors a 79-78 lead heading into the last.

All series the Boston defense has gone up a gear in the fourth quarter, but this time the Warriors gave them a taste of their own medicine, holding the home side to 19 points.

A Marcus Smart three-pointer with 5:18 remaining put the Celtics up 94-90, but they would score just three points the rest of the way, spanning nearly four minutes between Smart's bucket and Al Horford's three with 1:32 on the clock.

Curry capped off his magical performance with 10 of the Warriors' last 12 points, finishing with 43 points while shooting 14-of-26 from the field and seven-of-14 from long range. He added 10 rebounds and four assists.

Also shining when the Warriors needed him most was Andrew Wiggins, who snatched a career-high 16 rebounds, including some important offensive rebounds and put-backs with his team trailing, as he also chipped in 17 points and finished with a plus/minus of plus 20. His plus/minus trailed only Kevon Looney's plus 21.

For the Celtics, Jayson Tatum was solid, but scored inefficiently, with 23 points on eight-of-23 shooting, while adding 11 rebounds, six assists and three blocks. Brown was also respectable, scoring 21 on nine-of-19 shooting, while Derrick White added 16 off the bench.

Stephen Curry will not have any minutes restriction in Game 4 as the Golden State Warriors bid to level the NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics.

Curry suffered a foot injury in the Warriors' 116-100 defeat in Game 3 at TD Garden on Wednesday.

The two-time MVP had insisted he would not miss Game 4 and head coach Steve Kerr confirmed Curry will be available for the entirety of Friday's critical clash.

"He's feeling well, just went through shootaround. He said he's ready to go," Kerr told reporters.

The Warriors trail the series 2-1 and will have history against them if the Celtics claim a third win in four.

Only one team in NBA Finals history has come back from a 3-1 deficit to prevail, the Cleveland Cavaliers famously doing so against the Warriors in 2016.

Curry has scored 26.8 points per game so far in the postseason. He has averaged 31.3 across the first three games of the Finals.

Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry left no doubt about his status for Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Friday. 

"I'm going to play," Curry told reporters on Thursday, a day after injuring his left foot while diving for a loose ball late in a Game 3 loss to the Boston Celtics. 

"I don’t feel like I'll miss a game," Curry added. 

The Athletic reported on Thursday that Curry will not need an MRI before Game 4. 

During a scrum to recover possession in the fourth quarter, Boston big man Al Horford leapt into the fray and landed on Curry's left foot, leaving the two-time MVP hobbled. 

Curry remained in the game initially but was removed with 2:19 remaining and Golden State down 14 points. 

With the Warriors trailing the series 2-1 and a 48-hour turnaround before Game 4, Curry's status quickly became the focal point. 

"I'll be alright," Curry said after Game 3. "I got caught underneath Al. Obviously there'll be some pain, but I'll be alright.

"Figure out how it feels tomorrow and get ready for Friday. [It was] the same thing I did against Boston during the regular season, but not as bad."

Curry is shooting 48.6 percent from three-point range in these Finals and is averaging over 31 points per game, almost double the Warriors' second-leading scorer in the series: Klay Thompson at 17 points per game. 

"Curry will be needed if the Warriors are to claim a fourth NBA title in eight years. 

"We need him if we want to win this thing," Thompson said of his Splash Brother and team-mate. 

Stephen Curry is confident he will not miss any of the remainder of the NBA Finals despite hurting his foot in the Golden State Warriors' Game 3 defeat to the Boston Celtics.

The Warriors went down 116-100 at TD Gardens to slip to a 2-1 deficit, with Curry scoring a game-high 31 points despite the losing effort.

What was of even bigger concern to the Warriors was the sight of Curry's leg getting caught under the huge frame of Al Horford when jostling for a loose ball deep into the fourth quarter.

Curry was down for a considerable amount of time and when he did manage to get back to his feet he was noticeably limping and did not return for the remaining minutes.

Speaking about the injury after the game, Curry told reporters: "I'll be all right. I got caught. Obviously I'm in some pain, but I'll be all right. I'll see how it feels tomorrow and get ready for Friday.

"That's [a foot strain] what it felt like, and we'll see how it responds. Not much else to say. I don't feel like I'll miss a game. I'll take advantage of these next 48 hours to get ready."

Curry likened the injury to the one he sustained against the Celtics back in March during a similar scenario coming up against Marcus Smart.

The Warriors' talisman, however, does not believe it is as severe as the issue that caused him to miss the final month of the regular season.

"[Horford is] a big body, obviously," Curry added. "I haven't seen the play, so I don't know if it could have been avoided or not. 

"I was in that situation with Marcus back in the Bay, and you just want to get your foot out of there. That's all I was trying to do at that point, knowing the position I was in. 

"Like I said, for what I feel like, it's not as bad. So hopefully it responds well over the next two days."

Head coach Steve Kerr said of Curry: "I didn't say that [there was no concern]. 

"The injury didn't force him out of the game, but I took him out down 14 with two minutes left because we weren't going to catch up.

"We will know more tomorrow."

 

It was a night to forget for Draymond Green, who contributed just two points and struggled defensively leading him to admit afterwards: "I was s***."

Kerr was somewhat more diplomatic, adding: "He had a tough game, but I trust Draymond as much as I trust anybody. 

"You know, he always bounces back from losses and from tough nights individually. He'll be back on Friday."

A hostile home crowd jeered Green with chants of "f*** you Draymond", with Kerr adding sarcastically: "Classy. Very classy."

Green was asked if his struggles could have anything to do with the post-game recaps he has been supplying on his podcast. 

He replied tersely, saying: "No. I don't see much difference on the podcast than I say to you right here, so nah. What's the X's and O's that I said on the podcast?

"If that's X's and O's, you're reaching for something. It's all good, though, keep going.

"The only thing, you find that they are taking X's and O's away from your podcast? Well, the only thing you said is [Derrick] White, Smart and Horford. Hmm.

"You went for it. Appreciate the podcast promo you just gave me, though. The Draymond Green Show. Next time just mention it that way."

Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart highlighted how the bumpy journey to this point is what makes his team so unified, after they produced a near-perfect defensive fourth quarter to defeat the Golden State Warriors 116-110 in Game 3 of the NBA Finals.

The win gives the Celtics a 2-1 series lead, with a chance to go up 3-1 by holding serve at home in Game 4.

In the process, the Celtics core of Smart, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown became the first trio since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson and Michael Cooper in 1984 to all have at least 20 points, five rebounds and five assists in a Finals game.

The Celtics needed to get up off the canvas after a trademark Golden State Warriors third-quarter run saw them claw back from a 12-point half-time deficit to take an 83-82 lead with just under four minutes remaining in the third.

In response, the Celtics held the Warriors to just 11 points in the fourth quarter, completely shutting down one of the most dynamic offenses in league history to lock up the win at home.


Smart, who has been criticised for trying to be too involved in the Celtics offense while neglecting his point guard duties, credited his star team-mates for helping him believe in his own scoring ability.

"The 'Jays' – Jayson and Jaylen – have done a really good job of encouraging me to be aggressive on the offensive end," he said. "And really understanding that for me, in this team, I have to be aggressive to help us win."

Smart's relationship with the 'Jays' goes deeper than basketball, and he said it took some growing up, as well as some tough conversations for the trio to become who they are today.

"First off, this is a family here," he said. "I grew up with the Jays.

"I've been playing five years with Jaylen, four years with Jayson. When my mom passed… they all came down to the funeral, so we've already had that bond.

"Early on in the season for us, it's just like it is with your siblings. 

"You get into it, you squabble, you're mad at each other – and then the next day you're laughing, talking, hugging… giving each other their roses, and that's what this team is.

"It started off shaky for us, but that right there is what helped us get to where we are now. We had to go through the storm to see the rainbow at the end of it.

"For me, I had to look myself in the mirror. Along with my team-mates, we had to have a heart-to-heart, we had to sit down and have that hard talk, and understand that what we're saying is to help each other.

"It's nothing bad, it's nothing personal, it's to help us get to where we want to be. It's crazy, we're here, and nobody thought we would be here… but we stayed with it, and that's why I'm proud of this team, and it's what makes us who we are."

The Celtics have done plenty of soul-searching this season, and it was the case again after a demoralising Game 2 loss, but Smart said he was determined to not let the Warriors "bully" his side.

"We pride ourselves on being a physical team, and for us, [Game 2] left a bad taste in your mouth," he said.

"Coming out of Game 2, hearing and knowing that we got beat up. It's just like anybody else, if you're in a fight with a bully or anything, you've got to keep going, you've got to stand up."

When asked if he feels like the Celtics are in a fight with a bully, Smart replied: "We definitely are, we got the Golden State Warriors, who have done this before, multiple times, and they understand what it's like to be here.

"We're that little guy that is new to the school, and they want to see exactly what you've got. They came out and punched us in our mouth in Game 2, and we responded.

"We watched the film – and that was a nasty film session for us. It was ugly, we had to sit there and watch the whole film.

"You have to look yourself in the mirror and get it together. Coming out today it was not a matter of 'are we going to be physical' – it was 'how physical are we going to be'."

The Boston Celtics have taken a 2-1 lead in the NBA Finals after defeating the Golden State Warriors 116-100 in Game 3.

In front of their raucous home fans, the Celtics started red-hot on the offensive end, highlighted by Jaylen Brown's 17 points in the first quarter to carry his side to a 33-22 lead at the quarter-time.

Boston's offense did not slow down in the second quarter, either, putting up another 35 points, but the Warriors were able to put up 34 themselves to stay within touching distance, down 68-56 at half-time.

Brown led the way with 22 points, seven rebounds and three assists in the first half – nearly matching his regular season averages of 23.6 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.5 assists.

For the Warriors, Klay Thompson had 15 points, Stephen Curry had 14, and Andrew Wiggins had 13, while the rest of the team combined for 12.

As has been a theme with the Warriors, they exploded once again in the third quarter, winning the frame 33-25 as Curry scored another 15 points in an eight-minute stretch.

The Warriors took the lead 83-82 with Curry's 15th point of the quarter, before the Celtics settled and fought back to take a 93-89 margin into the final break.

This Celtics team will be remembered as one of the finest defensive units of the modern era, and they relied on that end of the floor to pull out the win, holding the Warriors to just 11 points in the fourth quarter, while Jayson Tatum led the Celtics with eight down the stretch.

After setting a career-high of 13 assists in Game 1 of the Finals, Tatum showed it was no fluke, dishing another nine assists to go with his 26 points (nine-of-23 shooting). 

Brown cooled off late to finish on 27 points (nine-of-16 shooting) with nine rebounds and five assists, while Marcus Smart put up similar numbers, scoring 24 points (eight-of-17 shooting) with seven rebounds and five assists.

The game-changer for the Celtics, however, was Robert Williams III. The injury-plagued center showed exactly why he received Defensive Player of the Year votes and NBA All-Defensive Second Team honours, finishing with four blocks and three steals to go with his eight points and 10 rebounds. Williams also finished with a game-high plus/minus of plus 21.

For the Warriors, Curry was terrific, scoring an efficient 31 points on 12-of-22 shooting, hitting six-of-11 from long range, while Thompson had his best game of the Finals with 25 points on seven-of-17 shooting.

Public enemy number one in Boston was Draymond Green, and the crowd gave him a fitting send-off when he fouled out in the fourth quarter with just two points, four rebounds and three assists in his 35 minutes.

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr and star point guard Stephen Curry have both backed Klay Thompson to respond from his "mini slump".

Thompson produced his worst shooting percentage of the season in Game 2 of the NBA Finals, making four-of-19 from the field as the Warriors won 107-88 over the Boston Celtics.

The five-time NBA All-Star shooting guard managed only 11 points in Sunday's win, including one-of-18 from three-point range.

Thompson scored a decisive 32 points in Game 6 of the Conference Finals against the Dallas Mavericks but has only scored more than 15 points twice in his past seven games.

"I think he’s just pressing a little bit," Kerr told reporters ahead of Wednesday's Game 3 in Boston.

"He wants so badly to do well. He's taking some bad ones. I’m not particularly concerned about it.

"This isn't the first time it's happened. Klay has a way of responding to mini slumps."

Curry helped pick up the slack in Game 2, hitting five triples on his way to 29 points to level the series.

The two-time MVP also backed the 32-year-old shooting guard to find a way back to his best.

"History has shown that there's no predictor to when he can just take it to another level," Curry said.

"He’s always just found a way, especially in the playoffs, to make an impact that’s loud.

"The best you can probably say is keep shooting, as that’s the only way to get yourself out of some rough patches."

Thompson was buoyed by his Game 6 display against the Mavs, where he landed eight three-pointers at 50 per cent from beyond the arc.

"I’ll probably just YouTube Game 6, because there was some very high pressurised situations I was in and I ended up shooting the ball well," Thompson said about how he would manage his shooting issues.

"When you can do it when your back is against the wall, you know you can do it at any given moment. It's just about keeping mentally strong."

The Boston Celtics were left to wonder what might have been after a poor third quarter saw them lose Game 2 of the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors on Sunday, levelling the series at 1-1.

An underwhelming first half performance saw the Celtics trail by only two points, and after their incredible fourth quarter showing in Game 1, the hope for Boston was they could finish strongly again and take a commanding 2-0 lead.

However, after finding themselves trailing by 23 points by the time the final quarter arrived, they had left themselves far too much to do.

Celtics coach Ime Udoka blamed the amount of turnovers, saying after the 107-88 defeat at Chase Center: "That's been an ongoing theme in the playoffs so far. We've turned over the ball. Take teams out of scoring against us in the half court, give them some baskets.

"But it was more of the same in that third quarter. We had 11 for 18 points in that first half and gave up five or six more in that quarter. Kind of blew it open, and that hampered our offense, as well."

Jayson Tatum - who top-scored for the Celtics with 28 points, though ended the game with a minus-36, which is the worst plus-minus of the 24-year-old's career - agreed with Udoka on turnovers, but also pointed to the general sloppiness at the start of the third-quarter that saw the Warriors pull away.

"I think tonight, turnovers, and I think sometimes letting our offense affect how we defend, kind of was a little stagnant in the third quarter," Tatum said.

"I feel like it translated on the defensive end, and they got going and hitting shots and things like that."

Boston have now been outscored by at least 14 points on four occasions in the third quarter during this year's playoffs, and guard Derrick White also expressed his frustration at the increasing trend of losing the game just after half-time.

"Yeah, it's definitely frustrating," he said. "I mean, we've talked about it pretty much the whole postseason. It's easy to talk about, but we've got to go out there and change something.

"That was a big quarter for them and really a quarter that put us away."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.