Game 1 against the Warriors probably would have been easier for the Boston Celtics if Jayson Tatum didn’t have a poor shooting night, the defense covered Steph Curry while he drained what seemed to be every shot he took or if someone on the C’s dropped 40 points.
But that wasn’t the case, and Boston went into the fourth quarter down 12 to Golden State. The momentum shifted and the Celtics caught a bit of momentum to pull away and go up 1-0 in the NBA Finals after a 120-108 win.
A win is a win at the end of the day, but was Thursday’s victory more rewarding because of the circumstances?
“Yeah, for two reasons I think. Like I said, we do look at ourselves as a complete unit, as a team,” Celtics head coach Ime Udoka told reporters after the game, as transcribed by ASAP Sports. “We’ve seen the teams that rely on guys in the playoffs, whether it was Brooklyn the first round with (Kevin) Durant, Milwaukee with (Giannis) Antetokounmpo and Miami with (Jimmy) Butler. We know if you take those guys out, teams are going to struggle.
“We pride ourselves on everybody being able to contribute on both ends. That’s rewarding, especially on a night when your best guy has an off night. Others step up. Like I said, some of the starters on the bench, other guys are playing great, Al coming in, stepping up late.
“So it is rewarding, and knowing we can play so much better, that’s the main thing. Didn’t have a great three quarters and kept ourselves in the game, then locked down when we needed to.”
It was a full-team effort that had members of the Celtics stepping up in the biggest moments.
The Celtics and Warriors return to action Sunday night for Game 2. Tipoff from Chase Center is set for 8 p.m. ET.