The Golden State Warriors need to play much better in the fourth quarter of Game 2 to pull level with the Boston Celtics in the 2022 NBA Finals.
Boston used a 40-16 edge in the final frame of Game 1 to take an edge in the series. It achieved that without Jayson Tatum showing up in the scoring column.
Tatum played the role of primary provider for Boston's top scorers. Al Horford and Derrick White combined for 47 points and 11 three-pointers.
The Celtics shot 51.2 percent from three-point range in Game 1. That production could dry up if the Warriors close out better from the three-point line or if Boston's output moves back toward its season average.
Golden State needs to make adjustments to avoid going down 0-2 before road-tripping to Boston for the next two games.
The Celtics could win the series in four or five games if they execute as well as they did Thursday and pick up on whatever Golden State's adjustments may be.
Dubs Need to Play Better 4th Quarter, 3-Point Defense
Golden State seemed to have Game 1 under control after it put together a plus-14 point differential in the third quarter.
The Warriors ran out of gas in the final stanza, as the Celtics responded with a plus-24 point differential to steal the Game 1 victory at Chase Center.
Steve Kerr's team gave up nine three-pointers in the final 12 minutes of Game 1. Al Horford, Derrick White, Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown all knocked down a pair of shots from beyond the arc.
Boston's 9-of-12 fourth quarter from three was a stark contrast from the third quarter in which it went 3-of-8 from deep.
Golden State allowed too many open looks in the fourth, and it failed to break free from Boston's perimeter defense on the other end of the floor. A repeat of Game 1's final quarter could result in Boston taking a 2-0 lead back home ahead of Wednesday's Game 3.
If the Warriors make the proper adjustments, they should feel much better about their chances of closing out Sunday's game.
Thompson, Tatum Lead Scoring Column
Klay Thompson and Jayson Tatum combined for 27 points in Game 1.
Each of their respective teams could use massive scoring performances out of them to create an edge in Game 2.
Thompson went 6-of-14 from the field and 3-of-7 from three-point range in a supporting role alongside Stephen Curry, who scored 21 of his 34 points in the first quarter.
Golden State needs more balance from its three-point shooters to ensure that Curry does not run out of gas in the fourth quarter and so that Boston cannot hone in on a single player and shuts down the offense.
Thompson's best performances of this postseason have come later in series. He closed out the Memphis Grizzlies with 30 points and finished off the Dallas Mavericks with 32 points. Golden State needs Game 5 or 6 Klay to show up in Game 2 to counter Boston's offense.
Tatum was still impactful in Game 1 with 13 assists despite having the second-lowest point total of Boston's starters.
Tatum could be the primary assister once again in Game 2, but there is an expectation that he steps up his point production to help Boston avoid the 12-point hole it was in after Thursday's third quarter.
Boston's top scorer produced three point totals in the teens before the NBA Finals. He responded to each of them with 30-point outputs in the following contest.
That could be a great sign for Boston as it tries to find the right combination to land a second win on the West Coast.