It’s closing in on Bill Buckner, Deflategate and Babe Ruth Trade as phrases that send chills through fans in greater New England.
Officially the Celtics are not a bad third quarter team. In the regular season, they had a plus-2.7 scoring differential in the third quarter. In the playoffs, it has dipped to minus-0.8—cringey, but not an awful number.
Lately, though, some third quarters have been truly catastrophic. There was the 34–17 blitz Milwaukee put on them in Game 3 of the conference semifinals.
The 39–17 drubbing Miami clubbed Boston with in Game 1 of the conference finals. In Game 1 of the Finals, Golden State hit the Celtics with a 38–24 third quarter.
Boston rallied, stunning the Warriors with a 40–15 fourth quarter to come away with the win.
The Celtics played with fire again in Game 2, allowing Golden State to run off a 35–14 third quarter, stretching a two-point halftime lead to 23.
This time, though, Boston couldn’t rally, allowing Golden State to even the series with a 107–88 win.
For Golden State, Sunday felt therapeutic. For three days the Warriors heard what Draymond Green termed simply “the noise.” About how Golden State coughed up a double-digit fourth quarter lead in Game 1.
About how after a Stephen Curry first-quarter explosion the Dubs’ offense was stifled by a swarming Boston defense. About how Green, the engine of this Warriors team, missed 10 of his 12 shots.