Sometimes finals series are not won on the court but won through psychological warfare. Witness Kevin McHale‘s actions in the ’84 series against the Lakers. Last night Draymond Green got into the Celtics heads. Green, a great defensive player, was more than that last night. From Boston’s opening possession when he forced a jump ball on Al Horford he was a factor in this game. Aided by two foul calls against the Celtics where he ran over Boston players it seemed he spent the night in Boston’s heads. Green’s instigating appeared to rattle the Celtics. There were times the Celtics were more engaged in trash talking with him than they were in the game.
Green led an outstanding defensive effort by the Warriors. Boston shot 38% from the floor. More importantly Golden State forced eighteen turnovers leading to thirty-three points. Boston was not able to get many open looks at the basket as it looked at times like Boston was playing against seven defenders. The Warriors took a chapter from the Celtics’ book playing a tough physical brand of basketball that made Boston work for every basket they scored.
In the third quarter Boston broke down on both ends of the floor. The Warriors outscored the Celtics thirty-five to fourteen as suddenly Golden State was getting open looks at the basket and were converting those open looks. This left the fourth quarter as extended garbage time. Both teams had their best players on the bench for much of that quarter.
Jaylen Brown got off to a good start in the first quarter with thirteen points. Near the end of the first quarter he was whistled for a second foul and had to come out of the game. When Brown returned his offensive game was out of sync as he managed only four more points.
In the first game of the series Boston appeared to be younger and better than Golden State. Sometimes in these type of series the team that appears to be more talented doesn’t win. The game is much more than basketball and Green and the Warriors won this battle. The big question as we move forward is if Boston is mature enough to handle it.
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