Salem Radio Network News Sunday, June 26, 2022


NBA-Celtics storm back to beat Warriors, draw first blood in Finals

By Rory Carroll

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) -The Boston Celtics staged a furious fourth quarter comeback to beat the Golden State Warriors 120-108 and stun the home team in Game One of the NBA Finals on Thursday in San Francisco.

In his Finals debut, veteran forward Al Horford was sensational for the Celtics, scoring a team high 26 points including 4-for-4 shooting in the final frame.

The Celtics squad made a combined 21 three pointers and saw five players finishing in double digits behind a balanced attack that made up for an off-night from forward Jayson Tatum.

“That’s kind of who we’ve been all year: tough, grinders, a resilient group,” Celtics rookie head coach Ime Udoka told reporters.

The Celtics looked all but dead when the Warriors turned a two-point halftime deficit into a 92-80 lead entering the fourth quarter.

But the visitors roared back, outscoring the Warriors 40-16 in the final frame behind nine three pointers to steal home court advantage and improve to 8-2 on the road this postseason. It marked the Warriors first home loss of this year’s playoffs.

Warriors guard Stephen Curry opened the game red hot, scoring 21 points in the first quarter to send the crowd of gold-and-blue clad “Dubs” fans into a frenzy.

But the athletic and long Celtics defense limited Curry to just 13 points the rest of the game.

Perhaps the best news for the Celtics is that they managed to win despite Tatum scoring 12 points on 3-of-17 shooting.

“We don’t expect JT to have a tough shooting night like that again,” Udoka said.

“I don’t know if you attribute it to jitters, some of the defense they were throwing at him … but it shows what we are, which is a team.”

The Warriors remained upbeat despite the disappointing finish.

“They stayed within striking distance, and they made shots late,” said Warriors guard Draymond Green.

“So we’ll be fine. We’ll figure out the ways we can stop them from getting those threes and take them away … we pretty much dominated the game for the first 41, 42 minutes. So we’ll be fine.”

Warriors coach Steve Kerr said the Warriors will need to be better at closing out games if they are going to prevent Boston from hanging an NBA record 18th championship banner.

“You give up 40 in the fourth and the other team makes 21 threes, it’s going to be hard to win,” Kerr said.

“They came in and played a hell of a fourth quarter and it’s just as simple as that.”

Game Two in the best-of-seven series is Sunday in San Francisco.

(Editing by Kim Coghill, Robert Birsel)


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