Celtics vs. Warriors: Hottest Comments from Experts After 2022 NBA Finals Game 1June 3, 2022
The Boston Celtics produced the largest fourth-quarter differential in NBA Finals history without their star player contributing a lot in the scoring column.
Jayson Tatum did almost everything else but score in the fourth on Thursday, while Jaylen Brown, Al Horford and Derrick White finished off the Golden State Warriors in Game 1 of the 2022 NBA Finals.
Tatum shot 3-of-17 from the field and totaled 12 points, the fourth-highest total for his team. His distribution more than made up for his lack of scoring, as he dished out 13 of the team's 33 assists.
NBC Sports Boston's Chris Forsberg and Bleacher Report's Dan Favale both outlined how Tatum made a difference with his passing:
Chris Forsberg @ChrisForsberg_
The breakdown on Jayson Tatum’s 13 assists: 7 above-the-break 3s 2 corner 3s 35 total assist points Still generated nearly 50 points off PTS + AST on a night his shot was way off. Tatum’s Game 1 assist percentage (37.1%) was his 2nd highest of postseason (5/15 vs. MIL, 40%)
MassLive.com's Matt Vautour pointed out that Tatum recorded a plus-27 in the fourth quarter without making a basket:
Two of Boston's top three scorers in Game 1 were players acquired in trades over the last 12 months.
ESPN.com's Brian Windhorst outlined the makings of the Horford deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder that landed the big back in Boston, and how it marked a different style of deals between the team's two presidents of basketball operations, Brad Stevens and Danny Ainge:
"Stevens sent out a first-round pick, No. 16 last year, to do the deal. This wouldn't have been a typical Ainge move, as he preferred to hoard picks to use either on developmental players or as bait to chase a star. It wasn't that Ainge's process was flawed; the entire core of the team is players he drafted who have paid off. But at this point, Horford was a 35-year-old role player yet Stevens made getting him a priority—all a definite departure from the team's typical priorities."
Boston's midseason trade for White has turned out to be equally as important as the Horford deal last June.
CBSSports.com's Jack Maloney and Sam Quinn pointed out that the Celtics ended up getting a bargain in the White deal with the San Antonio Spurs that sent Josh Richardson and draft picks in the other direction:
"When the Celtics traded Josh Richardson, a 2021 first-round pick and a 2028 first-round pick swap to acquire Derrick White from the San Antonio Spurs, there were some who worried that they gave up too much for a guy who wouldn't even be in their starting lineup. As it turns out, they may not have given up enough."
Boston took Game 1 at the Chase Center despite giving up 21 first-quarter points to Stephen Curry. The Golden State star finished the game with 34 points, but only one other Warriors player had more than 15 points.
The Warriors' defensive play ultimately did them in, as Draymond Green left Horford open on four of his six makes, as The Athletic's Anthony Slater pointed out:
Slater floated out a possible change for Game 2 with Green defending Jaylen Brown instead of Horford:
"Maybe a possible Game 2 adjustment has Green on Jaylen Brown instead of Horford, getting him in the mix instead of floating too far off a shooter. Opponents have always had more success than normal against Green with a stretch big, using his aggressiveness against him. It's boring to just stick on an assignment in the corner. It's more fun and damaging to sprint into the tornado."
Green seemed to brush off some criticism regarding the Warriors' play after the contest by proclaiming the Warriors would "be fine," per Ben Golliver of the Washington Post.
Former Celtics center Kendrick Perkins thought the opposite about the Warriors, as he ripped into Green's comments on NBC Sports Boston's postgame show.
Golden State has two days to install whichever adjustments it needs to make to deal with the Celtics. Game 2 tips off at 8 p.m. ET Sunday.