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January 22, 2023

In Game 2 of the NBA Finals, the Golden State Warriors sent out a loud statement saying they weren’t finished, beating the Boston Celtics 107-88. Jayson Tatum had a terrific rebound after a poor shooting night in Game 1, finishing with 28 points (but a -36). Stephen Curry had his second consecutive tremendous performance with 29 points.

The first quarter starts very quickly. Jaylen Brown (17 points) picked up where he left off in Game 1 with an incredibly hot shot early on. The Celtics played very solid basketball, but few. . . questionable. . . calls from a crew led by Tony Brothers and Zach Zarba halted the momentum. From there, Boston did the rest of the work with turnovers in stride. In the final minutes, Boston returned the ball 5 times. Golden State entered the second quarter up one point.

The silver lining was that Jayson Tatum finally pitched it, with a 3-point flurry that started as the first quarter neared its end.

Boston regained their composure with a better start to the second quarter. With fewer turnovers and Golden State giving the ball to Jordan Poole (hehe), Boston was able to create a bit of separation. Tatum continued to play freely with the ball, but he caught up with a sensational shot.

Unfortunately, the flow of the game has again been interrupted due to . . . well you know.

That being said, it would have been a double-digit lead for Boston if they had turned the ball half as much, so many of their injuries were self-inflicted.

The second half started with more of the same. Stephen Curry (29 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists) continued his array of shots, which chained the attack by missing the important contributions of Klay Thompson. He really wants that elusive Finals MVP trophy given the way he played those first two games. Golden State extended the lead to 17 behind an 11-0 run. Curry is really the engine that propels this team because hardly anyone else comes in on the offensive side.

Defensively, the Warriors did a much better job frustrating Boston. Besides the reckless turnovers, Boston’s spacing was really lousy at times. Things got worse when Jordan Poole (14 points) ended the third quarter with a half-court shot that beat the buzzer that pushed Golden State’s lead to 23 in three quarters.

Early in the fourth quarter, Boston kept turning the ball over, leading Udoka to wave the white flag early. We saw a lineup made up of all benches with over nine minutes left in the game as the lead grew to 29 points for Golden State.

Al Horford (2 points, 8 rebounds) and Marcus Smart (2 points, 5 assists) played well in Game 1 but went flat in Game 2. After committing his second foul in the first quarter, Jaylen Brown has cooled considerably. Robert Williams didn’t look quite right in his minutes today, and aside from Derrick White, the Celtics bench didn’t really do much until the start of the fourth quarter.

The Celtics are going to have to determine the third quarter if they want the 18-point banner. They can’t keep losing 20-point quarterbacks and win a title. They must also limit rotations. This has been true throughout the playoffs – flip the ball, you lose. Tatum had 4, Smart had 5, and Derrick White had 3. As a team, Boston gave up 18 times. Unacceptable.

However, if you told me the Celtics would come back to Boston tied 1-1 with the Warriors in the NBA Finals a week ago or even earlier this morning, I would be satisfied. Try not to let the way we got there be too daunting. Game 3 will air on your TV Wednesday night at 9 p.m. ET as both teams seek a 2-1 lead in this best-of-seven series.

The Celtics in 5 are still alive!

For more post-game coverage from Game 2 of the NBA Finals, tune into the Garden Report Postgame Show LIVE at right after the game. Join A Sherrod Blakely, Bobby Manning, Josue Pavon, Jimmy Toscano and host John Zannis for the full breakdown. Plus, the guys will be discussing Jayson Tatum getting his shot back.

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