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 new era of Duke basketball continues with the formation of a new front office position to help players enhance their marketing skills in the new college sports world created by NIL (name, image and likeness).

First-year Blue Devils coach Jon Scheyer announced on Tuesday that Rachel Baker is the program's first general manager – a position she will use to assist players in capitalising on strategic partnerships. 

"The state of college basketball is growing and changing at an exponential rate," Scheyer said. "Rachel is a one-of-a-kind talent with unique experience that will provide our players and their families with an unparalleled resource and partner as we navigate new frontiers of college basketball together.

"Through her work in the NBA and at Nike, she brings nearly a decade of expertise in the business of basketball to our staff, as well as her gifts in relationship and community building, leadership development, and experiential marketing. We can't wait to see all she brings to our program in this newly created position." 

A former lacrosse player at La Salle and the daughter of a collegiate basketball coach, Baker spent eight years at Nike and one year in the NBA league office before joining Duke. At Nike, she led their Elite Youth Basketball League, developing partnerships and managing strategic initiatives. During her year with the NBA, Baker directed the marketing and rebranding of the WNBA. 

"I could not be more excited to join Jon Scheyer and the entire Duke Basketball family," said Baker. "We're in the middle of such a transformative moment – not only for Duke, but for the college basketball landscape – and the chance to be part of it is the opportunity of a lifetime.

"Duke Basketball has remained rooted in honoring our storied history while writing the future of the game. I am humbled and honored to join this tradition and can't wait to get started." 

Baker is the latest major change for the Drake program following the retirement of coach Mike Krzyzewski after he had led the team to five NCAA Tournament championships since his hiring in 1980.  

Scheyer, the 34-year-old former Blue Devils star, had been on Coach K’s staff since 2014 and took over for the Hall of Fame coach following his planned retirement in April. 

Baker, who graduated from La Salle in 2012 and holds an executive education certificate in business of entertainment, media and sport from Harvard University, is the daughter of Rod Baker, who coached Tufts from 1983-88 and Cal-Irvine from 1991-97. 

Darvin Ham insisted Russell Westbrook is one of the best players the NBA has ever seen upon his announcement as Los Angeles Lakers head coach on Monday.

The nine-time All-Star and former MVP had a patchy first season in the purple and gold despite averages of 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists.

The 33-year-old was widely regarded as the cause behind the Lakers finishing with a 33-49 record which saw them finish 11th in the Western Conference, even missing the Play-In Tournament.

Asked about fitting Westbrook with LeBron James and Anthony Davis during his introduction as the Lakers coach, Ham took the opportunity to defend the embattled point guard.

"Don't get it messed up," he said. "Russ is one of the best players our league has ever seen, and there's still a ton left in that tank. I don't know why people tend to try to write him off.

"I'm going to approach him like I do every player I've ever encountered. We're going to talk about our running habits, with the ball, without the ball. And again, the team, the rhythm of the team and trying to establish a rhythm with LeBron, Russ, AD.

"And again, share the load defensively and offensively. Defensively is where you're going to see us make our biggest leaps and bounds. We have to commit to the defensive side of the ball or we don't have a chance to do anything. Our offence won't even matter if we don't get stops."

After an eight-year playing career in the NBA, Ham got his first coaching job in the league working as an assistant at the Lakers, as a part of Mike Brown's staff in 2012-13.

After that season, the 48-year-old spent the following years on Mike Budenholzer's staff with the Atlanta Hawks and Milwaukee Bucks, winning the NBA title in 2021.

"The fact that I got my start as a coach here, this place will always be special for me," Ham said. "It's like a homecoming for me, in all seriousness."

"As sad as it is for me to be leaving coach Bud, sometimes you got to walk that walk on your own. We went from colleagues, to friends, to brothers while all the while making history."

Quin Snyder’s decision on Sunday to abruptly step down as coach of the Utah Jazz took much of the NBA world by surprise.

Especially the franchise's star player.

Donovan Mitchell was reportedly "surprised and disappointed" by Snyder's decision to step away after eight seasons in Utah, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, and has been left "unsettled, unnerved and wondering what it means for the franchise’s future."

The 55-year-old Snyder had led the Jazz to six straight playoff berths, three Northwest Division crowns and the NBA's best record in the 2020-21 season, but the team had not been able to advance past the Western Conference semi-finals.

''Love Quin. I love Quin. Love Quin,'' Mitchell said after the Jazz were ousted in the first round by the Dallas Mavericks in April. ''He's a guy that gave me an opportunity when I first got here and trusted in me, believed in me. He's a guy that I think has had so much talked about and he's been headstrong, he's been steady with it throughout the year.''

Mitchell has been the face of the franchise since his 2017-18 rookie season, earning a third-straight All-Star Game appearance this past season while finishing ninth in the league in scoring at 25.9 points per game.

The 25-year-old signed a five-year maximum contract extension with the Jazz in 2020, and considered his positive relationship with Snyder a significant reason he opted to stay in Salt Lake City.

Mitchell, who is owed $67.5million for the next two seasons, followed by a $37m player option, reportedly respects Snyder's decision for stepping down but is left wondering how the franchise will respond to such a sudden and significant change in leadership.

Snyder is the second-winningest coach in franchise history behind Hall of Famer Jerry Sloan, and since he took over in Utah in 2014-15, only Steve Kerr, Doc Rivers, Mike Budenholzer and Gregg Popovich compiled more wins than Snyder's 372.

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."

Draymond Green lauded the performance of Stephen Curry on both sides of the ball after the Golden State Warriors blew the Boston Celtics out 107-88 on Sunday.

The Warriors were up by 29 points at one stage in Game 2 of the NBA Finals, on their way to evening the series up in San Francisco.

Curry was transformative on and off the ball in both offensive and defensive senses, finishing with 29 points, six rebounds, four assists, three steals and something even more reflective of his overall impact, an astounding net rating of +39.6.

Green was full of praise after the win, putting Curry's status even before Kevin Durant left for the Brooklyn Nets into perspective.

"I thought he was incredible," Green said post-game. "Most importantly, his decision-making was great. He got off the ball, he didn't drive into traffic, he took what the defence gave him.

"I think for the first six minutes of that game he had zero points. He wasn't forcing anything and let the game come to him, and we all followed that.

"Our offence is always a lot of Steph. It all starts with Steph. When KD [Durant] was here it still started with Steph, and that's the way it's going to be."

The barrage of three-pointers by the Warriors obscured Curry's three steals and ability to stay in front of the ball, especially given the latter has been an important factor in each of the Warriors' previous three series in the Western Conference this post-season.

Despite offensive focus from opposition teams onto Curry, Green insisted the former unanimous MVP has worked to improve defensively and should be respected on that side of the court.

"I have been talking about it for the last couple of years, how much he's improved on that side of the ball" Green said. "Teams used to try to call him into every action and just try to pick on him.

"That's doesn't work anymore. He guards, and we're all there behind him if he does need help but hasn't been needing that often and it's great.

"I've spoken about how much stronger he is. He's able to hold his ground, so you're not able to bump him off his spot, and that's been huge for us. I'm not shocked he's playing that type of defence."

Quin Snyder has resigned as coach of the Utah Jazz after eight seasons in charge.

Snyder was appointed as head coach of Utah in 2014, signing a three-year contract before extending his deal twice to prolong his stay in Salt Lake City.

The 55-year-old transformed the Jazz into a competitive playoff force, reaching the postseason for the last six straight seasons, although they have not progressed past the conference semi-finals in that run.

Snyder was the joint-third longest-serving coach in NBA, alongside Golden State Warriors' Steve Kerr, who trails Miami Heat's Erik Spoelstra and San Antonio Spurs' Gregg Popovich.

Having overseen a period of change in Utah, Snyder departs with the second-best winning record of any Jazz coach after boasting a 372-264 regular-season record.

"Quin Snyder has embodied what Jazz basketball is for the last eight years," said Jazz owner Ryan Smith.

"The tireless work ethic and attention to detail Quin displayed each day is a testament to the professional he is. I have nothing but admiration for Quin and respect his decision.

"We thank Quin and Amy from the bottom of our hearts for all of their contributions to the state of Utah and the Jazz and wish them nothing but the best."

 

Reports suggested Utah were intent on agreeing a new contract with Snyder, who is said to want to take a season's break to recuperate before he considers a new coaching role.

"At the core, and what drives me every day is our players and their passion for the game, their desire to constantly work to improve and their dedication to the team and the Jazz," Snyder said.

"I strongly feel they need a new voice to continue to evolve. That's it. No philosophical differences, no other reason. After eight years, I just feel it is time to move onward.

"I needed to take time to detach after the season and make sure this was the right decision. I greatly respect and appreciate Ryan, Danny [Ainge] and Justin's [Zanik] discussions regarding moving forward together, I just know it is time.

"I am forever appreciative of all the players, coaches, partners, and people I have worked with at the Jazz. Your sacrifice, your kinship have made this an incredible and special experience.

"Amy and I are so grateful for our time here as it has been just a tremendous place to raise our family. Thank you to our always supportive and passionate fans. We only want the best for you and to see you raise a championship banner."

Stephen Curry has backed his Golden State Warriors team-mates to "figure it out" after their Game 1 defeat to the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals.

Game 2 of the championship series takes place in Chase Center on Sunday and Curry called on the Warriors to "flip the script".

The Celtics won the first encounter 120-108 on Thursday, turning things around dramatically in the fourth quarter, scoring 40 points to the Warriors' 16 to take the win.

However, Curry - who still top scored with 34 points - believes his team can respond to that setback, outlining after practice on Saturday when he had seen the necessary resilience from the Warriors this season.

"Even moments throughout the regular season where things are starting to get away from us a little bit at times," he said. "And kind of have your 'come-to-Jesus' moment, like we need to play right. How are we going to flip the script and get things back on the right track? We usually responded pretty well.

"It's the first time for a lot of things with this particular group. We are here in the Finals for a reason, because we figured it out along the way. If we're going to get back in this series, we've got to figure it out again."

Draymond Green, who claimed 11 rebounds but made just two of 12 field goal attempts on Thursday, said the Warriors need to improve their defensive performance. 

"We have to play with more force on the defensive end," he said. "I think there were times in the game when they didn't feel us; when you're playing against a great team at this level at this point in the season, they have to feel you every possession.

"We just have to make sure they feel us every possession."

Coach Steve Kerr added his assertion that the experience of Curry and Green will be vital for his team if they are to win their first championship since 2018.

"Draymond and Steph have been in the Finals six times now," Kerr said. "They have seen it all. They have seen everything. They have won championships. They have lost championships. They have had their heart broken. They have had parades.

"This is all part of it. So that's the right mental approach, and that's one that's born out of experience."

Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart insists his side's run to the NBA Finals has been borne of a more balanced defence heading into Game 2 against the Golden State Warriors.

The Celtics gave up the fewest points per game in the regular season at 104.5 while leading the league in defensive rating (106.9) and net rating (+7.5), while they only trail the Milwaukee Bucks for defended field goals made these playoffs at 43.3 per cent.

Smart, who received the Defensive Player of the Year and a third All-Defensive First-Team selection this season, has been a significant contributor in that regard with 1.2 steals along with his 15.7 points per game in these playoffs.

The 28-year-old believes it has been a collective effort for Boston in comparison to previous seasons, however, with every player pulling their weight.

"No offence to those other teams, but there was always somebody on the court that we had to cover for," he said. "Teams did a good job of exploiting that, and especially in the playoffs.

"It's all about adjustments and match-ups, and if it ain't broke don't fix it, so somebody would always pick on a guy that we had and we'd always have to help, and it put a strain on our defence. This year, kind of tough to do that.

"In every position, everybody can hold their own and switch and guard multiple positions, and that's what makes us stronger."

It was the other end that gave the Celtics Game 1 in San Francisco on Thursday, though, converting on 21 three-pointers at an eye-watering 51.2 per cent.

Jayson Tatum's dribble penetration was key, allowing for defensive collapses that then created relatively open looks for his teammates.

Smart believes that might change in Game 2, with the Warriors defensive help staying a little closer to home.

"I wouldn't say we were surprised," he said. "You've got two great players in Jaylen and Jayson on your team, everybody's focused on those guys, going to make everybody else beat you and you live with the results.

"An adjustment I can see them making, just a little bit more tighter on us and trying to make our shots even tougher, not that open. We're basketball players, just like those guys and we're going to have to adjust to whatever they do."

Andre Iguodala defended the Golden State Warriors and stalwarts Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green ahead of Game 2 of the NBA Finals, claiming their incredible careers should be appreciated "a lot more".

Iguodala, like Curry, Thompson and Green, is playing in his sixth Finals in eight years with the Warriors.

The veteran wing was the NBA Finals MVP in 2015, but his three team-mates have been the chief protagonists of a remarkable Golden State dynasty.

The previous five Finals have yielded three titles, yet the Warriors have work to do to add a fourth with this team after losing 120-108 in Game 1 at home to the Boston Celtics.

This is the first time the Warriors have lost Game 1 at home in the Finals, although the last team to suffer such a defeat were the 2013 Miami Heat, who recovered to win the championship.

Although these circumstances are new, there is little Curry, Thompson and Green have not yet achieved, and they were the subject of praise from Iguodala on Saturday.

"The overall sentiment for those three guys, after we won the first one, was that they were going to continue to be this dominant for this long," he said.

"I think we take it for granted because we're so close to our athletes now, we're so close to them on social media. We start to forget and take for granted.

"We should appreciate them a lot more. It's a really long run to go to the Finals, for this group, six out of eight years. It doesn't happen every day.

"Only the greats, real greats do it – LeBron's the only one around our era that's been able to have the same effect in terms of winning and getting this far.

"We've made it look normal, where people take it for granted and take certain shots at us. In previous generations, throughout sports in general, people understood how tough it really was."

Coach Steve Kerr is backing his key men to bounce back, even if the series opener was particularly painful as the Warriors threw the game away in a fourth quarter in which they were outscored 40-16.

Aided by a 17-0 run, that is the Celtics' biggest point differential in any single quarter of any road playoff game in their history.

"Draymond and Steph have been in the Finals six times now," Kerr said.

"They've seen it all, they've seen everything. They've won championships, they've lost championships. They've had their hearts broken, they've had parades.

"This is all part of it. That's the right mental approach, and it's one that is borne out of experience."

Meanwhile, Thompson suggested the early setback could benefit the Warriors after they "got comfortable".

"It was a harsh reminder but something we all needed to go through, including myself," he said. "It's about how we respond tomorrow, which I am very excited for."

The Boston Celtics stole home-court advantage with their impressive win against the Golden State Warriors in Game 1 of the NBA Finals – but it is a long series, and both teams have some adjustments to make.

In the Celtics' 120-108 victory, Jayson Tatum did not shoot the ball well (three-of-17 from the field), but made up for it with his playmaking, dishing a career-high 13 assists to take advantage of an outlier shooting performance from the rest of his team.

For the Warriors, a dynamic 38-24 third period had them leading by 12 heading into the last, before a fourth-quarter bombardment saw a 103-100 lead turn into a 117-103 deficit courtesy of a 17-0 run.

Stephen Curry was spectacular, with 21 points and a Finals-record six three-pointers in just the first quarter, going on to finish with 34 points, five rebounds, five assists and three steals.

With Game 2 scheduled for Sunday night, here is one key adjustment we could see from both teams as the series progresses, and a storyline to watch.

 

Warriors play no more than one big at a time

When the Warriors were at the peak of their dynasty, Draymond Green would play center, surrounded by four perimeter players.

Due to his excellent play this postseason – as well as playing all 82 regular season games, starting 80 – center Kevon Looney has earned a significant playoff role. 

He was the difference-maker when trusted with an extended run in his side's Game 6 closeout against the Memphis Grizzlies, collecting 22 rebounds, and he was terrific against a Dallas Mavericks side lacking a true center, averaging 10.6 points, 10.6 rebounds and three assists per game for the series.

To put the blame of the Game 1 loss on Looney is simply wrong. He was not just serviceable, he was good, with nine rebounds, five assists and three blocks in his 25 minutes – but the Warriors are simply not the same beast on the offensive end when he and Green are on the floor at the same time.

However, this does not mean they must bench Looney, but instead the Warriors may be forced into some difficult conversations about the effectiveness of Green in this series.

Green is no longer the explosive athlete he was at the peak of his powers – when he was clearly the best defensive player in the NBA – and without that athleticism he begins to feel like the 6'6 center that he is.

Calling him a non-factor on the offensive end is disrespectful due to his incredible basketball IQ and the value he adds with his ball-movement, passing and screening – but these are areas Looney has quietly excelled in as well.

Looney, significantly bigger at 6'9, matched Green with five assists, showing plenty of similar reads and the ability to function in a largely similar role on the offensive end. He also grabbed six offensive rebounds, providing serious tangible value in the form of extra possessions, while also being the Warriors' only real rim protector.

Green will likely not shoot two-of-12 from the field again – missing all four of his three-point attempts and all three of his free throws – but if he is weighing you down offensively while not bringing his once-outlier defensive ability, it just may be a Looney series against the real size of Al Horford and Robert Williams III.

Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka identified Darvin Ham's "no-nonsense and hard-working approach" as key, as he was confirmed as the team's head coach on Friday.

A week after reports emerged of Ham's imminent appointment at Crypto.com Arena, the Lakers officially welcomed their new coach.

Ham previously worked under Mike Brown as an assistant on the Lakers between 2011 and 2013, and he returns to the team from the Milwaukee Bucks.

The 48-year-old – whose only previous head coaching job was with the New Mexico Thunderbirds, now the Cleveland Charge – followed Mike Budenholzer from the Atlanta Hawks to Milwaukee in 2018.

He was part of the staff that helped the Bucks to win their second NBA championship in 2021, adding to a sole success as a player on the 2004 Detroit Pistons.

Now, Ham will be leading the Lakers, looking to improve on a hugely underwhelming season in which the team failed to qualify for the playoffs.

LeBron James is ageing, Anthony Davis has endured injury issues, and the signing of Russell Westbrook as a third superstar was not a success.

James was enthused by reports of Ham's arrival, though, and Pelinka is also looking forward to seeing his latest hire get to work.

"When someone begins his NBA coaching career at the G League level and goes all the way through playing an integral role on the front bench of an NBA championship team, it really speaks to a certain strength of character," Pelinka said.

"Our players and fans will immediately identify with Darvin's no-nonsense and hard-working approach, which we feel will bring toughness and a competitive edge to all we do.

"When you add that to Darvin's sophisticated grasp of in-game strategy and deep knowledge of the game of basketball, we have the ideal coach for this next chapter in Lakers history.

"We could not be more honoured and proud to name Darvin Ham as our new head coach."

Ham is set to meet the media for the first time as Lakers coach on Monday, when potential offseason trades for Westbrook and his significant salary are sure to be a topic of discussion.

Draymond Green assured the Golden State Warriors have nothing to worry about after the Boston Celtics secured victory in Games 1 of the NBA Finals.

The Warriors were in the ascendancy for large parts of the game, leading 32-28 after the first quarter, with Stephen Curry hitting a Finals record six threes in a quarter from eight attempts.

The Celtics responded to take a slender 56-54 half-time lead, but Curry, Andrew Wiggins and Jordan Poole starred to send Golden State into the final quarter 92-80 up.

However, there was to be another twist as Boston went on a rampant 40-16 fourth-quarter run to snatch a 120-108 road win at Chase Center.

Al Horford hit a career-high eight threes on his way to 26 points, while Derrick White set a new season-high from deep, hitting five-of-eight for his crucial 21 points off the bench.

Experienced campaigner Green pinpointed the pair, along with Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart, as he called for calm from the Warriors in the seven-game series.

"They stayed within striking distance and they made shots late," Green told reporters after the loss.

"They hit 21 threes and Marcus Smart, Al Horford and Derrick White combined for 15. Those guys are good shooters, but they combined for what... 15-for-23, from those guys. We'll be fine.

"We'll be fine. We'll figure out the ways we can stop them from getting those threes and take them away. I don't think it was a rhythm thing.

"We pretty much dominated the game for the first 41, 42 minutes, so we'll be fine."

Boston Celtics big-man Al Horford called Jayson Tatum a "special player" after they came back from a 12-point deficit at three-quarter time to defeat the Golden State Warriors 120-108 in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

The Celtics were on the ropes after the Warriors unleashed a 38-24 third-quarter to seemingly take control of the contest, threatening to run away with things as Stephen Curry had 30 points up to three-quarter time.

But the Warriors had no answer for the barrage from long range that came in the final period, with the Celtics hitting nine-of-12 from deep in the quarter and 21-of-41 for the game as the two sides combined to hit a Finals record 40 three-pointers.

The Celtics ended up shooting 15-of-22 from the field in the fourth, winning the quarter 40-16, despite Tatum not scoring in the final 16 minutes of play. 

Instead, Tatum finished with a career-high 13 assists, and Al Horford – who himself had a career-high six three-pointers with his 26 points – told NBA TV that the league is seeing the evolution of the Celtics star.

"He's letting people know man, Jayson is a special player," he said."Even this year, the growth is unbelievable with him. 

"He's the kind of guy where – tonight he was passing, getting assists, getting other people involved while he struggled a little bit shooting – but he's always going to find a way. He's always going to continue to get better.

"That's who we follow – offensively he gets us going, he defends, and then he has the responsibility to find and make plays for others. His maturation is unbelievable, it's something I'm really proud of, because I've seen him grow."

He added: "When the Celtics trade happened, it was something I was grateful for, and straight away I told Jayson. 

"I said 'hey, I can't wait for us to be in those positions, in Conference Finals, and the NBA Finals' – because I believed that much in the group, and I believed that much in him."

When asked about his new career-high in his post-game media appearance, Tatum said it was something first-year head coach Ime Udoka addressed at the start of their relationship.

"That was kind of his message from day-one, just to challenge me to be the best player I can be, and improve other areas of my game," he said.

"We watched a lot of film throughout the course of the season… obviously playmaking was one [area of focus], drawing a lot of attention, and just to help my team out as much as possible.

"He's done a great job of challenging myself, and the group in that aspect."

Tatum was key in keeping the Celtics offense clicking, but his shot was not falling, finishing three-of-17 from the field. 

When asked how he felt about his inability to put the ball in the basket, Tatum emphasised his team-first mentality.

"Ecstatic – 40 points in the fourth quarter," he said. "[Jaylen Brown], Al, Payton [Pritchard], [Derrick] White, those guys made big shots, and timely shots, as well.

"And we won, right. I had a bad shooting night, but I just tried to impact the game in other ways. 

"We're in the Finals, all I was worried about was trying to get a win, and we did. That's all that matters at this point.

"I don't expect to shoot that bad again, but if it means we keep winning, I'll take it."

The Warriors were aggressive in trying to make sure Tatum had no clean looks, and he said sometimes basketball is a simple game.

"Just reading the play – they do a great job of helping, and things like that," he said.

"It's as simple as – if you draw two, find somebody that's open. That's what I was trying to do."

He added: "This time of the season, you feel great after a win, and you feel terrible when you lose, but you've got to just be able to stay mellow, and stay balanced.

"Especially this early – it's far from over, it's just one game, and we have to be ready to respond.

"They're going to make adjustments... we've got to be prepared."

Game 2 will remain in Golden State, before the series heads to Boston for Game 3 and Game 4.

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