In the first Finals game in TD Garden since 2010, the Boston Celtics used their speed, length and physical superiority to bury the Golden State Warriors 116-100 in Game 3 to take a 2-1 series lead.
The Celtics have built their championship aspirations on the strength of their top-flight defense and the explosiveness of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, their pair of talented attackers.
Both the Celtics' defense and their wing tandem saw mixed results in San Francisco, where the teams split the first two games.
But on Wednesday, Boston's D showed off its versatility while Brown and Tatum turned in mature, heady performances that seized control of the game in the first half.
Over his first six NBA seasons, Brown has traditionally generated many of his opportunities in the flow rather than on set playcalls.
In Game 3, he asserted himself as an initiator in the Celtics' half-court game. Brown attacked relentlessly with assertive drives to the basket against the Warriors' limited rim protection.
When he encountered help defenders, he moved the ball crisply. When the Warriors' defensive rotations opened up quality looks from beyond the arc in the flow, Brown gladly took those too.
Tatum, who averaged 20 points but on less than 30% shooting from the field in the first two Finals games, didn't produce his most dynamic or efficient effort (he scored 26 points overall on 9-for-23 shooting on Wednesday) but thrived as a playmaker.
In Game 3, Tatum notched nine assists against only one turnover, largely by reading the Warriors' defense and finding teammates promptly with smart crosscourt passes and kickouts.
Throughout their first postseason chase in three years, the Warriors have emphasized they're a different squad than the one that won three titles in five Finals appearances.
In Game 3, that was more apparent than it has been during their current title run. This Warriors team is still a work in progress, and for all of their collective basketball brilliance, there's some work to be done.