The all-encapsulating question engulfing the Golden State Warriors after their shocking Game 1 Finals collapse versus the Boston Celtics Thursday night: What happened?
The boys from the Bay were breezing through the opening affair of the NBA Finals, stringing together one big shot after another as they cruised to a comfortable 12-point advantage after three quarters.
But basketball games span four quarters, and the last represented a devastating deviation from the norm.
Golden State’s foot slipped off the gas pedal in the final frame, and the team was never quite able to regain its footing. Boston, meanwhile, kicked its momentum into hyperdrive, sinking the first seven 3-point attempts it took. The squad’s 3-point barrage helped it transform a double-digit deficit into a double-digit advantage, finishing on a historic 48-18 run to close the door on a stunned Warriors group, emphatically slamming it shut in a 120-108 stunner.
The Celtics’ plus-24 advantage in the fourth ties the largest margin in a Finals quarter, as they became the first team to enter the fourth quarter trailing by more than 10 and then winning by more than 10. Their 17-0 run was the second-largest in the fourth quarter of a Finals game since 1972.
But despite being on the wrong end of so many unusual feats, Draymond Green heads into Game 2 brimming with confidence.
“It’s fine,” Green said bluntly following the loss. “You get a chance to do something else, do it in a different way, embrace the challenge. We’ve always embraced challenges. It’s no different. We’ll embrace this one. So no, it’s not a hit to the confidence at all, not one bit.”
But according to Skip Bayless, their fourth-quarter crumble is cause for tremendous concern. And he says that Stephen Curry deserves a large part of the blame.
“You can’t do what you did to your team,” Bayless said Friday on “Undisputed” regarding Curry’s performance — he finished with 34 points, five assists and five rebounds. “Curry made six of his first seven 3s in the first quarter. From that moment on, until the bitter end of that game, he made one of his next seven 3s. You just can’t do that. He scores 21 in the first quarter, then zero in the second, nine in the third, then four in the fourth.
“That’s an F for somebody on the verge of vaulting into the all-time top 10. In the end, if you’re up 15 with two minutes left in the third quarter, it is up to you to get this game home. This is vintage Finals Steph.”
Who is to blame for Warriors’ loss?
Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe grade Steph Curry’s performance in Warriors’ Game 1 loss.
Shannon Sharpe was far less critical of Curry’s second-half showing, saying that he needed more help from his teammates to push the squad over the hump.
“He needed Jordan Poole and Klay [Thompson],” Sharpe contested. “He didn’t get that last night. I don’t know how much better he can play, the only thing he could’ve done was spread out his scoring.”
Nick Wright was highly bothered by Golden State’s loss as well, emphasizing that Kevin Durant wouldn’t be waltzing back through the door to save the team.
“They had a 30-point swing,” he said on “First Things First.” “It’s 103-100, and it goes 17-0. Steve Kerr got too cute. Andre Iguodala hasn’t played in five-and-a-half weeks. He does not need to be playing fourth-quarter minutes. Maybe play Gary Payton II. Iguodala gives you anti-spacing when he’s on the floor with Draymond Green.”
Celtics steal Game 1 from Warriors
Nick Wright and Chris Broussard debate if Game 1 had more to do with the Celtics’ comeback or the Warriors’ collapse.
Wright then chastised Kerr for not playing Curry more, while Chris Broussard called “The Chef’s” performance “iconic.” According to Broussard, though, it lost its luster due to the team’s loss.
“Had they won, I do think it would’ve went down as his moment,” Broussard said. “Some of the moves were freakish, the finger rolls, the up-and-under scoop shot. He had several moments, but because they lost and he went scoreless in the last six minutes, it looks like more style than substance.”
Steph Curry, Warriors stumped in Game 1 of NBA Finals
Steph Curry set an NBA Finals record with six 3-pointers in the first quarter, but it wasn’t enough to stop the Celtics from upstaging his historic night.
For Colin Cowherd, the loss had no correlation with Curry’s game.
“Curry shot 50% from the floor, easily the best Warrior offensively,” Cowherd stated on “The Herd.” “He finished with more points than anyone, and this morning it’s, ‘oh, he shrank.’ Oh, good God. Folks, let me remind you that the Celtics devoured Kevin Durant in the first round, made Bam Adebayo a defender, while Jrue Holiday and Giannis Antetokounmpo were shells of themselves.”
Why Steph Curry is not to blame for Warriors Game 1 loss
Despite Steph Curry’s historic performance (21 points, six threes in the first quarter), some may say he ‘folded.’ Colin Cowherd makes his case for the all-time 3-point leader, along with why it demonstrates that Boston’s top-ranked defense is at an elite level.
Can Curry continue his hot shooting, and gain some assistance from his teammates? If it’s anything like the first affair, Game 2 is stacking up to be one for the ages.
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