Celtics vs. Warriors final score, NBA Finals: 3 things we learned in Boston’s Game 3 win

The Golden State Warriors and Boston Celtics each earned a blowout win in the first two games of the 2022 NBA Finals in San Francisco. Tensions were always going to be high as the series moved to Boston for Game 3 — and that was even before the Warriors noticed their rim was two inches too high during warmups.

The Celtics were locked in from the opening tip. Boston held an 11-point advantage after the first quarter, and outscored the Warriors by one point in the second quarter. Of course, the Warriors came roaring back in the third quarter as they always do. That set the stage for a thrilling fourth quarter.

The Celtics dominated the fourth quarter to run away with a 116-100 win in Game 3. Boston now holds a 2-1 lead in the series.

Jaylen Brown carried the Celtics’ offense early, and finished with 27 points, nine rebounds, and five assists on the night. Jayson Tatum added 26 points in the win.

Here are three things we learned from the Celtics’ Game 3 win.

The Celtics’ role players went off

When the Celtics won Game 1 of the series, the trio of Al Horford, Marcus Smart, and Derrick White carried them to victory by getting hot from three-point range. When Golden State won Game 2, Boston’s role players had an off-night while Jayson Tatum carried the scoring load.

In Game 3, Boston’s role players again won it for the Celtics. Smart, Horford, and White were all valuable contributors once again, and this time Grant Williams stepped up off the bench, too.

Smart was outstanding in particular, finishing with 24 points, seven rebounds, and five assists in the win. There’s nothing Golden State can do when he’s hitting shots like this.

Horford only had two points on 1-of-4 shooting in Game 2. While the veteran big man’s Game 3 numbers didn’t jump off the page — he finished with 11 points, eight rebounds, and six assists on the night — he was consistently in the right spot for Boston, and added just enough scoring punch to keep the Celtics’ offense moving.

Even on a night where Brown had it going early and Tatum made some big baskets late, it felt like the success of the Celtics’ role players was the key to the win.

Draymond Green struggled again for the Warriors

Draymond Green has always felt like a harbinger for Golden State’s success since their first title run in 2015. It’s impossible to measure Green’s impact by looking at the box score numbers: he’s the emotional center of the Warriors on and off the floor, as well as a masterful defender and crafty playmaker.

Green is usually the type of player who gets in the head of the other team. In Game 3, it felt like the Celtics were in Green’s head.

Green finished the night with two points on 1-of-4 shooting in 35 minutes. Green fouled out with just over four minutes remaining in the game.

This wasn’t Green’s first bad game of the series. When the Celtics won Game 1, Green finished with four points on 2-of-12 shooting.

Green is 32 years old now, and he was never the biggest or most athletic player in his prime. He’s always won with intelligence and craft. He has an extremely tough matchup against a huge and athletic Boston front line, and so far he’s not giving the Warriors enough production in the series.

The Celtics’ size advantage is paying off

The Celtics are just so much bigger than the Warriors. This has been evident from the start of the series, but it was especially obvious in Game 3.

Boston pounded the Warriors on the offensive glass with a 15-6 margin. The Celtics won the overall rebounding battle, 47-30. Between Robert Williams, Grant Williams, and Horford, the Celtics have three big, strong, and versatile front court players with distinct offensive skill sets. The Warriors just often seem too small.

Golden State simply has no answer for Williams’ length and bounce at the rim. The Miami Heat had the same problem in the Eastern Conference Finals. Williams has been playing through knee pain, but still had four blocks and three steals on the night.

Even a hobbled Williams is giving Green and the Warriors serious problems.

Golden State isn’t going to get any bigger between now and the end of the series. It’s on the Warriors to find a way to combat Boston’s size advantage.

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