Celtics vs. Warriors score, takeaways: Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum lead Boston to decisive victory in Game 3

The Boston Celtics have regained the lead in the 2022 NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors. At home for the first time in the series, the Celtics withdrew from the Warriors for a 116-100 victory in Game 3 on Wednesday night. Boston, up 2-1 in the final, resisted an accusation in the third quarter from Golden State, and put the match away in the fourth quarter. Jaylen Brown (27 points), Jayson Tatum (26) and Marcus Smart (24), combined for 77 points to lead the Celtics, who led by a full 18 points in the first half.

Stephen Curry scored 31 points on 12 of 22 shots and had 15 in the third quarter when the Warriors held the lead for a moment. Klay Thompson had his best game in the series, adding 25 points, but it was not enough. Draymond Green struggled, scoring just two points and adding three assists before striking out in the fourth quarter

Boston is now 7-0 after losing in the playoffs. Golden State, meanwhile, is also undefeated in 2022 after the season following a defeat, and the Warriors have won at least one away game in the last 26 playoff series. Game 4 is set for Friday night in Boston.

Here are three key takeaways from Game 3.

The Celtics ‘balanced attack resists the Warriors’ wave

Here are some funny statistics that show how impressive Boston’s victory in Game 3 was: Tatum, Brown and Smart are the first trio to each have 20 points, five assists and five rebounds in a final match since 1984, per ESPN statistics and info. The last trio to do so, to just Showtime Lakers with Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Michael Cooper.

Brown got things started early for the Celtics, setting up 17 points in the first quarter to ignite Boston’s home crowd and help the Cs jump out to an early lead. He knocked in 3s, came to the free throw line and worked in a few jumpers in the middle area to show Golden State all his offensive skills. Although Brown did most of his injury in the first quarter – as he only scored 10 points over the next three quarters – it did not matter because Smart and Tatum took the baton from him for the rest of the game. Smart’s performance was particularly notable, given his two-point dud in Game 2. He got to the edge with ease and had some favorable throws from outside the arc to help Boston maintain its edge in crucial moments.

But it was not just the big three from Tatum, Brown and Smart who managed it for the Celtics. Grant Williams gave Boston huge minutes from the bench, putting together his best performance in this series with 10 points and five rebounds. The same goes for Robert Williams III, who was only two points away from a double-double (eight points, 10 boards). Although Robert Williams has struggled with a long-term knee injury, he still looked crazy on the floor, finishing with four blocks on the night. While patrolling around the edge, the Warriors were limited to just 26 points in the paint, a steep drop from the 40 points they generated in Game 2.

Although the Celtics almost let things fall apart in the third quarter – again – they managed to resist a huge performance from Curry to take the 2-1 lead.

The Warriors lost, but Klay may be back

As he entered Game 3, Thompson joked about what he would do to get the shooting back for this series. After all, he shot only 30.3 percent from the field, and was 4 of 15 on 3s.

“Geez, probably just YouTube ‘Game 6 Klay’ because there were some very stressful situations I was in,” Thompson said. “I ended up shooting the ball well. When you can do it when your back is against the wall, you can do it at any time. It’s just about keeping it mentally strong.”

I’m not sure if Thompson actually uploaded any of his greatest hits from the playoffs before Wednesday’s game, but no matter what he did, it certainly worked. Thompson shot 41.2 percent from the field and 38.5 percent from deep to goal with 25 points. He punished the Celtics every time one of their greats went into drop-coverage on pick-and-roll, and showed that he could also create for himself in the arc.

The only problem, however, is that not even his return performance was enough to lift the Warriors to victory. But while Golden State still lost, watching Thompson warm up in Game 3 should be an encouraging sign for the Warriors going forward.

Curry’s potential injury could change the series

Late in the fourth quarter, players from both teams plunged to the ground after a loose ball. When the whistle was blown and everyone had gathered, Curry was still on the ground and crawling in pain. He got up slowly and limped around and stayed in the game, but he did not look quite right after that incident. The replay showed that Horford had accidentally fallen on Curry’s legs among the scratch on the floor. After the match, Curry said he had pain in his foot, but hoped he could play in match 4.

Here is a look at the play:

After the game, Warriors coach Steve Kerr declined to give any details, saying “We want to know more (Thursday).”

Thompson also said of Curry’s injury: “Steph is going to do everything in his power to play. I really hope he’s OK because he is our identity.”

Thompson hit it right on the head. Curry has been the undisputed MVP for the Warriors throughout the playoffs, and even in Game 3, his 15-point performance in the third quarter was the reason Golden State was back in that game. We’ll have to wait and see what the Warriors say about any injuries, but if Curry is not 100 percent healthy going forward, Golden State will be in trouble. The fact that Curry only wants one day off between now and Friday’s Game 4 only makes matters worse for the required recovery time.