The Warriors knew they could not afford to fall into an 0-2 hole at home in the NBA Finals, and their urgency and desperation was evident on the floor in Game 2.
Golden State pulled away from Boston in the second half and evened the series at one game apiece with a 107-88 win.
It was another third quarter explosion to set the Warriors up with a big lead entering the fourth, but the Celtics didn’t have a lights-out shooting quarter in them again this time. Other than Jayson Tatum (28 points) and Jaylen Brown (17), the only Boston player with double-digit points was Derrick White with 12, while Golden State forced Boston to commit 18 turnovers.
Meanwhile, Steph Curry once again led the Warriors in scoring, with 29. But Golden State got 17 from Jordan Poole, 12 from Kevon Looney and 11 each from Andrew Wiggins and Klay Thompson. The Warriors only turned it over 12 times.
Here’s what the Warriors had to say after the forceful win:
On Draymond’s engagement level:
Yeah, I thought everybody was more engaged. It was pretty obvious, just our level of force and physicality was ramped up quite a bit, and it had to be. What Boston did in the second half, you know, fourth quarter the other night, we knew we had to come with a much better focus and sense of aggression, and I thought that started right from the beginning. Draymond played a huge role in that.
On Curry’s third quarter:
Yeah, Steph was breathtaking in that quarter. Not just the shot making but the defensive effort. He just doesn’t get enough credit for his level of conditioning, physicality and defense. People go at him to try to wear him down because they know how important he is to us offensively, and it’s pretty dramatic the difference in Steph’s strength and physicality in his body now than from eight years ago when I first got here. So the guy’s amazing. He just keeps working on his game, his strength, his conditioning year after year, and it’s a pleasure to watch him play every night.
On adjustments made to start big second half run:
Really, there wasn’t a whole lot of strategic change. You know, a couple tweaks here and there. The preparation was mostly about our intensity and physicality. It was obviously ramped up tonight, and it needed to be, given what Boston did in Game 1. So that’s the name of the game in the Finals. You know, it’s hard to get an open shot out there, and it’s supposed to be difficult. Game 1 was too easy for Boston with the looks they were getting in that fourth quarter.
On forcing Boston to turn the ball over:
I think turnovers are often a byproduct of physicality and intensity. I thought we brought that from the start. Draymond had plenty to do with that, so did Gary, so did Wiggs. I thought our whole team was physical and intense, and you know, we did a good job of trying to make things difficult for them.
GARY PAYTON II
On playing in the NBA Finals for the first time:
It was amazing. I was itching to get out there. I was in the tunnel just walking back and forth, pacing, waiting for Coach to call me. He kind of pump faked me at first for a little bit, got me going. But after I got on the floor, I kind of calmed down and settled in.
On Green’s intensity in Game 2:
Absolutely. We knew our backs were against the wall. We couldn’t go into Boston being down 2-0. He lit the fire under us, as this whole season. He lights it and everybody else follows, and tonight was one of those big nights that everybody responded.
On difference between Game 1 and Game 2:
Just energy and effort. We were kind of soft in the first game, and that was our emphasis coming out this game and just being aggressive and playing the Warriors basketball we know how to play and being on defense, locked into our assignments and knowing our personnel.
On what helped him get going offensively:
For me it was just trying to find space, working from behind the defense, Steph draws so much attention, him and JP, I was able to stick behind the defense and finish around the rim. They have got some good shot blockers, but I was able to get up quick, so that was about it.
On difference in Warriors’ defense:
Just our physicality. We were able to get them out of their rhythm. We were able to get Horford off the three-point line. Get Derrick White, finish some tough shots, and I think Draymond did a great job setting the tone on Jaylen Brown with his physicality, and we were able to keep them on their heels. I think we did that for the most part last game until the fourth quarter. I think we were just more focused on bringing that understanding and playing with energy.
On if he was concerned when Payton crashed to the floor:
Just a little bit. You know, he’s going to make plays. He’s going to get to the rim. He’s going to fall. But no, Gary is a tough guy. He always plays through injuries. He’s played through things. I know — I think he’s learned how to fall since the last time, so I think we have some confidence in him.
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Author: Alex Simon