Celtics-Warriors score, takeaways: Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum lead Boston to Game 3 win

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The Boston Celtics have retaken the lead in the 2022 NBA Finals vs. the Golden State Warriors. At home for the first time in the series, the Celtics pulled away from the Warriors for a 116-100 victory in Game 3 on Wednesday night. Boston, up 2-1 in the Finals, withstood a third-quarter charge from Golden State, and put the game away in the fourth quarter. Jaylen Brown (27 points), Jayson Tatum (26) and Marcus Smart (24), combined for 77 points to lead the Celtics, who led by as many as 18 points in the first half.

Stephen Curry scored a game-high 31 points on 12-of-22 shooting and had 15 in the third quarter as the Warriors momentarily held the lead. Klay Thompson had his best game of the series, adding 25 points, but it was not enough. Draymond Green struggled, scoring just two points and adding three assists before fouling out in the fourth quarter

Boston is now 7-0 following a loss in the playoffs. Golden State, meanwhile, is also unbeaten in the 2022 postseason following a defeat, and the Warriors have won at least one road game in their past 26 playoff series. Game 4 is set for Friday night in Boston.

Here are three key takeaways from Game 3.

Celtics' balanced attack withstands Warriors surge

Here's a fun stat to show just how impressive Boston's Game 3 win was: Tatum, Brown and Smart are the first trio to each have 20 points, five assists and five rebounds in a Finals game since 1984, per ESPN Stats and Info. The last trio to do that, oh just the Showtime Lakers with Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Michael Cooper. 

Brown got things started early for the Celtics, putting up 17 first-quarter points to ignite Boston's home crowd and help the C's jump out to an early lead. He was knocking in 3s, getting to the free-throw line and working in some mid-range jumpers to show Golden State the entirety of his offensive skillset. Though Brown did a bulk of his damage in the first quarter -- as he scored just 10 points over the next three quarters -- it didn't matter because Smart and Tatum took the baton from him for the rest of the game. Smart's performance was especially noteworthy, given his two-point dud in Game 2. He was getting to the rim with ease and had some favorable rolls from beyond the arc to help Boston maintain its edge in crucial moments. 

But it wasn't just the Big 3 of Tatum, Brown and Smart who got it done for the Celtics. Grant Williams gave Boston huge minutes off the bench, putting together his best performance in this series with 10 points and five rebounds. The same is true for Robert Williams III, who was just two points shy of a double-double (eight points, 10 boards). Though Robert Williams has been battling a lingering knee injury, he still looked spry on the floor, finishing with four blocks on the night. With him patrolling around the rim, the Warriors were limited to just 26 points in the paint, a steep drop off from the 40 points they generated in Game 2. 

Though the Celtics almost let things fall apart in the third quarter -- again -- they managed to withstand a huge performance from Curry to take the 2-1 series lead. 

Warriors lost, but Klay might be back

Entering Game 3, Thompson joked about what he would do to get his shooting touch back for this series. After all, he was shooting just 30.3 percent from the field, and was 4 of 15 on 3s.

"Gosh, probably just YouTube 'Game 6 Klay' because there were some very high-pressurized situations I was in," Thompson said. "I ended up shooting the ball well. When you can do it when your back is against the wall, you can do it at any given moment. It's just about keeping that mental strong."

I'm not sure if Thompson actually loaded up some of his greatest hits from the playoffs prior to Wednesday's game, but whatever he did, it certainly worked. Thompson shot 41.2 percent from the field and 38.5 percent from deep to finish with 25 points. He was punishing the Celtics every time one of their bigs went into drop coverage on pick-and-rolls, and showed he could create for himself in the arc as well.

The only problem, though, is that even his bounce-back performance wasn't enough to lift the Warriors to a win. However, while Golden State still lost, seeing Thompson heat up in Game 3 should be an encouraging sign for the Warriors going forward.

Curry's potential injury could change the series

Late in the fourth quarter, players from both teams were diving to the ground for a loose ball. By the time the whistle was blown and everyone had gathered themselves, Curry was still on the ground wincing in pain. He slowly got up and was limping around and remained in the game, but he didn't look the same after that incident. The replay showed that Horford had inadvertently fallen on Curry's leg amongst the scramble on the floor. After the game, Curry said he had pain in his foot, but was hopeful he could play in Game 4.

Here's a look at the play:

After the game, Warriors coach Steve Kerr declined to give any specifics, saying "We'll know more (Thursday)."

Thompson also chimed in on Curry's injury: "Steph's gonna do everything in his power to play. I really hope he's OK because he's our identity."

Thompson hit it right on the head. Curry has been the undisputed MVP for the Warriors throughout the playoffs, and even in Game 3, his 15-point third-quarter performance was the reason Golden State was back in this game. We'll have to wait to see what the Warriors say about any potential injury, but if Curry isn't 100 percent healthy going forward, then Golden State will be in trouble. The fact that Curry will only get one day off between now and Friday's Game 4 only makes matters worse for any needed recovery time. 

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BOS -3.5, o214.5
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BOS -3.5, O/U 214.5

Season Leaders

points
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S. Curry27.4 PTS, 5.9 AST, 5.2 REB
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S. Curry27.4 PTS, 5.9 AST, 5.2 REB
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J. Tatum25.6 PTS, 6.2 AST, 6.7 REB
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J. Tatum25.6 PTS, 6.2 AST, 6.7 REB
assists
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D. Green8.0 PTS, 6.3 AST, 7.2 REB
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D. Green8.0 PTS, 6.3 AST, 7.2 REB
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J. Tatum25.6 PTS, 6.2 AST, 6.7 REB
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J. Tatum25.6 PTS, 6.2 AST, 6.7 REB
rebounds
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K. Looney5.8 PTS, 2.2 AST, 7.6 REB
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K. Looney5.8 PTS, 2.2 AST, 7.6 REB
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A. Horford12.0 PTS, 3.3 AST, 9.3 REB
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A. Horford12.0 PTS, 3.3 AST, 9.3 REB
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Can Warriors respond in Game 4?

Game 4 is set for Friday night in Boston, with the Celtics looking to get to within one win of a title. Boston improved to 7-0 following a loss on Wednesday in Game 3. Golden State, meanwhile, is currently 5-0 after a loss in these playoffs, winning those five games by an average of 15.4 points. That includes the 19-point win in Game 2 of these NBA Finals.

Other promising news for the Warriors? They have won at least one road game in their past 26 playoff series. 

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Time Lord playing through pain

Boston big man Robert Williams III had his best game of the series in Game 3. He was a menace on the defensive end, with four blocks. He also had eight points and 10 rebounds and was a team-best +21 in 25 minutes. Williams has been dealing with a knee injury and was listed as questionable ahead of Game 3.

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Draymond doesn't hold back

Draymond Green was very critical of... Draymond Green after his two-point performance in Game 3. Green had just four rebounds and three assists, while turning it over twice. 

How did Draymond think he played? "Like shit."

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Curry makes history in defeat

This ended up being a bad night for Curry and the Warriors, especially if he ended up suffering an injury that will impact the rest of the series. But for the first three quarters, he was special. Some of the shots he was making off the pick-and-roll were just ridiculous, and he finished with 31 points on 12 of 22 from the field and 6 of 11 from 3-point land. 

This was his third straight game with at least five made 3s, which makes him the only player in NBA history to have multiple such stretches during the Finals

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Warriors will know more tomorrow about Curry's injury

Late in the fourth quarter, there was a wild scramble for a loose ball, with bodies strewn all over the floor. When play finally came to a stop on a Draymond Green foul, everyone picked themselves up except for Steph Curry. He remained on the ground and seemed to be in some real pain. While he stayed in the game, he didn't seem to be 100 percent over the final few minutes. 

Replays show Al Horford incidentally landed on Curry's leg, but it's still not clear exactly what's wrong. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr declined to give any specifics postgame, saying ""The injury didn't force him out of the game… We'll know more tomorrow."

The Warriors will obviously have to hope it's nothing serious. This team is simply not the same without Curry

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Celtics take commanding 2-1 lead with pivotal win

With their Game 3 win, the Celtics defended homecourt and took a 2-1 lead in the series. While there is still a long way to go, the Celtics are now the clear favorites to win it all -- at least based on history. In the 39 previous times that the Finals have been tied 1-1, the team that won Game 3 went on to win the title 82.1 percent of the time. 

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Tatum, Brown, Smart make history

The Celtics' three leading men stepped up in a major way in Game 3, and led the Celtics to victory. In the process, they made history by becoming the first trio of teammates to each have at least 20 points, five rebounds and five assists in a Finals game since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson and Michael Cooper in 1984. 

Jayson Tatum led the way down the stretch, and finished with 26 points, six rebounds and nine assists. Jaylen Brown, who got the Celtics off to a strong start, went for 27 points, nine rebounds and five assists. And Marcus Smart added 24 points, seven rebounds and five assists. 

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Celtics stay perfect after a loss

The Celtics have had some bizarre losses during the postseason, but to their credit they've never let their bad games become bad stretches. They still haven't lost consecutive games during the postseason, and with their Game 3 win moved to 7-0 following a loss. Impressive resilience 

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Celtics taking care of the ball in the fourth

A minute ago, Andrew Wiggins poked the ball away from Jayson Tatum and got out on the break for an easy dunk. While that wasn't a great play for the Celtics, it was notable because it was just the first turnover for the entire quarter. It's no surprise that they've regained control of the game once they stopped turning it over

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Curry comes up limping after diving for loose ball

In the midst of several Warriors and Celtics players diving for a loose ball with four minutes left in the fourth quarter, Curry got tangled up at the bottom of the dog pile and was seen shouting in pain on the floor. He came up limping and has stayed in the game, but obviously something to keep an eye on as this series continues. 

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Celtics going heavy on Tatum iso-ball

The Celtics have really leaned into Jayson Tatum iso-ball over the last few minutes, which has not always worked out well for them down the stretch of games. So far, however, it's been good enough. Tatum just had an incredible finish through traffic to push the lead back to double-digits, and is up to 26 points on the night. 

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Sloppy start to the fourth for the Warriors

After closing in on the lead by two points, and retaking it for a split second in the third quarter, the Warriors are getting really sloppy in the fourth quarter. They've coughed up the ball four times on just six possessions, and are now down again by 11 points. Both of these teams have a tendency to get sloppy with the ball, and it's happening at the worst time for Golden State right now. 

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Celtics respond to start the fourth

The game has gotten pretty hectic and sloppy on both ends of the floor, but it's the Celtics who are getting the breaks to start the fourth quarter. Marcus Smart banked in a 3-pointer, then the Celtics got an offensive rebound off a shot-clock heave that barely caught rim, and turned it into two points. They've pushed the lead back to double digits

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Celtics have to fix pick-and-roll defense

Look, the Warriors made some unbelievable shots in that quarter, but they had the space to take them because the Celtics aren't guarding the pick-and-roll well enough. Too often, the Celtics' big man is sinking below the 3-point line as Steph Curry or Klay Thompson come off the screen. It's not easy, because those guys will often launch from well beyond the line, but the Celtics have to do a better job getting up on those plays. 

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Curry's taking over in the third

The Warriors went into halftime down 12 points, and have fought all the way back thanks to Curry's hot hand. He's got 15 points in the third quarter alone, and Golden State's gotten right back in this game. Third quarters are where the Warriors live, as they've outscored Boston 73-38 in this series in the third quarter, and Curry's impressive quarter is keeping that trend alive. 

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Celtics melt down again

There's still a few minutes of the third quarter remaining, but the Celtics were not able to withstand the Warriors' third quarter surge. To be fair, the game swung on a seven-point possession for the Warriors, that featured two absurd makes by Steph Curry and Otto Porter and a controversial flagrant foul, but still. That wasn't the only possession of the quarter, and the Celtics just haven't been good enough out of the break again. Bad offense, bad defense and they're left clinging to a lead. 

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Steph Curry picks up fourth foul

Curry now has four fouls three minutes into the third quarter. It happened in the worst way possible as he swiped at Marcus Smart from behind as he was setting up for a jumper. That's going to be a huge storyline to watch for the rest of the game, and the Celtics will surely continue to target Curry every trip down the floor. 

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Can Celtics withstand the Warriors' third quarter surge?

In Game 1, the Warriors won the third quarter by 14. In Game 2, they won it by 21. Throughout their dynastic run, the Warriors have been the best third-quarter team in the league, and often swing games with their runs coming out of halftime. Can the Celtics withstand that surge in Game 3? If they do, they'll be in good shape to win. If not, we'll have a tight fourth quarter on our hands. 

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Warriors halftime summary

The good: Klay has finally arrived to the Finals. He's up to 15 points, and after missing his first four shots of the game, he's shooting 44 percent from the field and 42.9 percent from deep. Wiggins has also been key for Golden State, especially since Steph Curry's been in foul trouble. He's got 13 points, and has been disruptive on defense.

The bad: Golden State's defense as a whole has been rather non-existent. The Warriors are getting beat on back door cuts and are allowing Boston to get whatever it wants in the paint. Towards the end of the second quarter, Marcus Smart had back-to-back possessions where he took it straight to the rim and was met with no resistance. The Warriors can't keep letting Boston get easy points in the second half if they want to come back in this game. 

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Halfcourt domination (again)

If I've written this once, I've written it a thousand times: The Celtics are dominating in the halfcourt, scoring 123.4 points per 100 halfcourt plays, according to the website Cleaning The Glass. The Warriors are only scoring 92.9 per 100, but they're killing it in transition. (Golden State has a 12-2 advantage in fast break points.)

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Celtics close half strong

The Warriors went on a run and briefly cut the deficit down to seven points, and appeared to be right back in the game. But the Celtics had a response ready. They settled down, started running smarter offense and pushed the lead back to double digits at halftime. After all that happened that quarter, the Celtics ended up winning it by one, 35-34. 

This game is far from over, but a 12-point lead at halftime is much different than seven points -- if only from a psychological standpoint. It would have been quite disappointing for the Celtics to have such a narrow lead at the break after how well they played for the majority of the half. 

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Celtics getting sloppy

It looked like the Celtics were on the verge of running the Warriors out of the gym, but they've gotten very sloppy out of the last timeout. First, Al Horford bricked two free throws, then Jayson Tatum took an ill-advised runner and traffic, and Marcus Smart made it a trifecta of mistakes with a ridiculous turnover

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And just like that...

Here come the Warriors. A couple of costly Boston turnovers, coupled with some much-needed shotmaking from Klay and Wiggins, and all of a sudden Golden State is down by 9 points. The Warriors are on an 11-2 run, and this is exactly why you can never count this team out.

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Celtics going to work in the paint

The Warriors don't have a ton of rim protection in general, but especially when Kevon Looney is out of the game. In the first half tonight the Celtics have made a point to try and exploit that. They are going to rim at every opportunity and have even run a few deep post ups for smaller guards like Marcus Smart. So far they have 24 points in the paint, compared to just 10 for the Warriors. 

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Klay heating up

The Warriors have been waiting for Klay to  get going in this series, and it may be happening in Game 3. In the second quarter he's scored all six of the Warriors points, and he looks like he's starting to find his rhythm. Prior to this game, Thompson was shooting 30.3% from the field, but he looks like he's getting back on track tonight. 

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Small, but big!

This shouldn't be a big surprise, but Boston's starting frontcourt -- Al Horford and Robert Williams -- only played 2:15 together in the first quarter. Derrick White checked in for Williams early, and Williams came back in for Horford for the last 2:55. This is part of why the Celtics' spacing has looked good. The concern when playing this way is that the Warriors might dominate the glass, but Boston actually has the advantage in both offensive rebounds (4-3) and second-chance points (9-3) after 12 minutes.

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Nowhere to go but up for the Warriors?

You couldn't picture a worse quarter for Golden State. It shot just 34.8 percent from the field and 20 percent on 3s. Thompson is 1 of 4 from the floor and Steph has two fouls. There have been some miscues on defense, and senseless turnovers, and while the Warriors are down 11 points, it's not impossible to overcome. Wiggins has been more aggressive this game, and while Thompson has been inefficient, he's remaining aggressive. 

The shots may start to fall over the course of the game as Golden State gets settled into this atmosphere, but the defense needs to step up. There's been too many easy looks for the Celtics, and Golden State will need to tighten up to get back in this game.  

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Brown throws it down

Jaylen Brown has been the best player on the floor through the first quarter, leading the Celtics with a game-high 17 points, five rebounds and three assists. He's hit a bunch of 3-pointers, but the highlight so far was this huge slam off the back door cut. 

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Spacing out

Pregame, a reporter asked Ime Udoka how the Celtics can be aggressive attacking the basket without turning the ball over so much. "Understanding where your outlets are at, guys getting into spacing quicker," Udoka said. "A lot of times we're cutting or slashing or getting flares and kind of clogging the lane. We want to get spaced out well, but guys got to be decisive." In the first 8 minutes or so tonight, Boston's spacing has been much, much, MUCH better than what we saw in Game 2. The Celtics aren't doing anything crazy to build this 26-11 lead; they've just made simple plays, taken advantage of favorable matchups and, crucially, spaced the floor well. Their offense is coming much easier than it did the other night.   

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Warriors can't buy a bucket...or defend

Well this certainly isn't the start Golden State envisioned. The Warriors are shooting just 31.3 percent from the field, and an even worse 11 percent from long range. While Golden State got off to a rough start in Game 2 where they couldn't make a bucket, they managed to get stops on the other end, something that's not happening so far tonight. Celtics are having their way on both ends, and things are falling apart rather quickly in this opening quarter. 

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