In Game 3, the Celtics reclaimed that edge.
“We had to,” Smart said of the physicality with which Boston dominated Golden State. “Game 2, they brought the heat to us. For us, that left a bad taste in our mouth because what we hang our hat on is effort on the defensive end and being a physical team.”
Golden State was not able to match it, not for long enough anyway.
Golden State has outscored Boston by 43 points in the third quarter this series, and took a lead in Game 3, 83-82, on a 3-pointer by Curry. That basket had followed a quick stretch of 7 points without Boston gaining possession. Curry was fouled shooting a 3-pointer, and since the foul was flagrant, Golden State got the ball back and scored another 3.
But as the quarter closed, Golden State’s grip on the game slipped.
“Take the hits, keep fighting,” Williams said was the message in the huddle after the third quarter. “Obviously, they’re a great team that goes on runs, a lot of runs, but just withstanding the hit.”
Golden State couldn’t get through the defense, nor could it stop the Celtics from grabbing second chances. Hustle plays typically went to Boston.
At one point in the fourth quarter, several players tangled over a loose ball, and Smart came up with it before Draymond Green pushed him. It was Green’s sixth foul, and the crowd jeered at him after having spent the evening chanting curses at him.
Golden State’s Klay Thompson complained about fans swearing with “children in the crowd.”
“Real classy. Good job, Boston,” he said.