Everything was going as expected. Steph Curry had 21 points in the first quarter on a record six three pointers. The Warriors dominated the 3rd quarter to take a twelve point lead heading into the final frame. They completely controlled the first 40 minutes of the game. And then everything changed.
Jaylen Brown looked like a man possessed, making bucket after bucket. Marcus Smart and Derrick White kept hitting three pointers. And Al Horford knocked in a barrage of three pointers himself to lead a 17-0 4th quarter Celtics run as they stole Game 1 of the NBA Finals against the favored Golden State Warriors.
All of a sudden a series in which it seemed like everybody thought it would be “Warriors in 7” – including myself – looks a lot more complicated.
The Warriors have a championship pedigree and the experience that goes with it – but they’re old. Steph Curry is 34 while Klay Thompson and Draymond Green are both 32. The Celtics, on the other hand, have been to a number of Eastern Conference Finals but their two stars – Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown – are only 24 and 25. Both teams’ supporting casts are extremely talented. I can’t recall a more evenly matched NBA Finals in my lifetime.