Steve Kerr Credits Celtics for 'Brilliant' 4th Quarter After Warriors' Game 1 Loss

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVJune 3, 2022

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JUNE 2: Steve Kerr of the Golden State Warriors talks to the media during a press conference before Game One of the 2022 NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics on June 2, 2022 at Chase Center in San Francisco, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

It's easy to focus on the losing side when a team blows a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter of an NBA Finals game and then loses by double digits itself, but Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr gave the Boston Celtics credit for Thursday's 120-108 victory in Game 1.

"It is going to be tough to beat Boston if they are making 21 threes," he told reporters.

Kerr also praised the Celtics for "a brilliant quarter" and said, "They just pounced. … My gut reaction to what I just witnessed, they came in and played a hell of a fourth quarter."

Golden State was largely in control throughout the game on both ends of the floor.

Stephen Curry caught fire from the opening tip with 21 points and six three-pointers in the first quarter. The crowd was into it, and the home team's defense held Jayson Tatum to a mere 3-of-17 shooting from the field.

Yet Boston dominated the fourth quarter to the tune of 40-16, which means all the pressure will be on the Warriors in Sunday's Game 2.

"It's different for sure," Kerr said on losing Game 1 at home. "When you win Game 1 at home, there is a sense of comfort. … It's a different feeling. Obviously you go into Game 2 with more of a sense of desperation. … We have won series where we lost the first game."

There is plenty of reason for optimism from the Celtics' perspective even beyond just the win.

Tatum likely isn't going to shoot so poorly again in this series. And for as excellent as Curry is, hitting six three-pointers and scoring 21 points in a single quarter won't be easy to replicate in future games.

That the Celtics still managed to find a way to not only win but cruise in the final minutes despite the play of those two superstars is notable, and they now have home-court advantage no matter what happens in the next contest.

And if Al Horford (26 points, six rebounds, three assists and 6-of-8 from three-point range) and Derrick White (21 points, three assists and 5-of-8 from three-point range) play at such a level again all while Tatum returns to his typical production?

Golden State may be in trouble.