The Golden State Warriors have owned the Boston Celtics in the third quarter during the first two games of the NBA Finals.
While the Celtics overcame their sloppy play coming out of halftime to secure a Game 1 victory, Boston’s lackluster effort in the third quarter of Game 2 on Sunday allowed the Warriors to put the game out of reach early.
Golden State outscored the Celtics, 35-14, in the game-altering quarter, and for the series, the Warriors hold a distinct 73-38 advantage in the frame.
“It’s definitely frustrating. I mean, we’ve talked about it pretty much the whole postseason,” Derrick White said, per Jared Weiss of The Athletic. “It’s easy to talk about, but we’ve got to go out there and change something. That was a big quarter for them, and really a quarter that put us away.”
The Celtics faltering in the third quarter during their postseason run has become somewhat of a trend. Aside from their issues in the stanza in the NBA Finals, the Celtics had a horrid third quarter in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals when the Miami Heat outscored them, 39-14, in those 12 minutes.
In Boston’s loss to the Warriors, which evened up the NBA Finals at 1-1, the Celtics struggled with turnovers yet again, and hitting just 4-for-17 shots from the floor in third quarter may have also impacted Boston on the other end of the floor, according to Jayson Tatum.
“Turnovers and I think sometimes letting our offense affect how we defend,” Tatum said. “We were a little stagnant in the third quarter, and I feel like it translated on the defensive end. They got going and hitting shots and things like that.”
For Jaylen Brown, he didn’t have a specific reason as to why the Celtics continue to struggle in the third quarter, but Boston will certainly need to correct their mistakes going forward.
“I don’t know the answer to that question. We’ve just got to come out and play basketball for 48 minutes,” Brown said. “We do the best we can every single night, and it’s gotten us to the finals. We’re not a perfect team, but we’ll figure it out going forward.”
The Celtics and the Warriors will resume the NBA Finals with Game 3 on Wednesday night at TD Garden. Tipoff is scheduled for 9 p.m. ET.