The Warriors were determined to limit Jayson Tatum's impact as a scorer. They did. Tatum finished with 12 points on 3/17 shooting.
Jaylen Brown fueled the late charge and scored 24 points, Al Horford hit six three-pointers and the Celtics rode the most lopsided fourth quarter in NBA finals history to a 120-108 victory over the Warriors in Game 1 on Thursday night.
Horford finished with 26 points and the Celtics outscored the Warriors 40-16 in the final 12 minutes after trailing by 15 points late in the third quarter.
The 15th-year big man, who turns 36 Friday, played in 141 previous postseason games, most ever before playing in the NBA Finals.
Boston made their first seven tries from long distance in the fourth and wound up 9 of 12 beyond the arc in the period as almost everybody got involved in the three-point flurry.
Curry scored 34 points in his return to the NBA’s big stage for the first time in three years, but the Warriors couldn’t sustain momentum from a 38-point third quarter that put them ahead 92-80 going into the final 12 minutes.
Derrick White’s three-pointer over Curry with 5:40 remaining tied the game at 103, then Horford hit from deep the next time down as the Celtics took their first lead since halftime.
Brown, who starred at nearby California for one college season, made consecutive baskets that tied the game at 47 with 5:03 left before halftime and the Celtics led 56-54 at the break.
Now the hard work starts for a Warriors team that went a league-worst 15-50 during the pandemic-shortened 2019-20 season two years ago and lost to Memphis in the play-in game last year before eliminating the Grizzlies in the first round this season.