Boston Celtics

The Boston Celtics went on a stunning surge in the fourth quarter of Game 1 of the 2022 NBA Finals, outscoring the Golden State Warriors 40-16 in the final 12 minutes to take a 1-0 series lead in spectacular fashion. Al Horford led the Celtics with 26 points, including 11 in the final 5:10 of the game.

For a while, it looked as though a superlative effort by Stephen Curry would be enough for the Warriors. Curry dominated the first quarter, scoring 21 of his 34 points, including 6-of-8 shooting from three-point range. Curry added three rebounds and two assists and was the only player on either team to play all 12 minutes. He scored as many points as Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and the rest of the Warriors combined.

Despite that early heater, Curry ended up scoring zero points in the second quarter, which helped allow the Celtics to claw their way back to the lead. The Warriors went up 47-37 midway through the second, then the C’s closed the first half with a 19-7 run to take a 56-54 lead to halftime. Jaylen Brown led the Celtics with 12 first-half points, and also made a big play at the defensive end with a block on a Kevon Looney layup attempt.

Both teams racked up the threes in the first half, resulting in a new NBA Finals record for a single half, with 20 combined. The teams ended up combining for 40 three-pointers.

The Warriors found a way to surge back ahead and take their biggest lead of the game in the third quarter, when they went up by as many as 14 points while outscoring the Celtics 38-24. Curry came alive again for nine more points, while Andrew Wiggins scored 12 of his 20. Golden State took a 92-80 lead into the fourth, setting the stage for the Celtics’ furious comeback.

Jun 2, 2022; San Francisco, California, USA; Boston Celtics center Al Horford (42) high fives guard Jaylen Brown (7) after a play against the Golden State Warriors during the second half of game one of the 2022 NBA Finals at Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Jun 2, 2022; San Francisco, California, USA; Boston Celtics center Al Horford (42) high fives guard Jaylen Brown (7) after a play against the Golden State Warriors during the second half of game one of the 2022 NBA Finals at Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

According to Micah Adams of The Sporting News, the Celtics’ 40-16 advantage in the fourth quarter was the most lopsided final frame in NBA Finals history.

Tatum scored just 12 points on 3-of-17 (17.6 percent) from the field in the game. Golden State’s tight, physical defensive attention forced mostly contested shots and, ultimately, deteriorating shot selection and accuracy.

Brown and point guard Derrick White picked up the slack offensively. Brown finished with 24 points, seven rebounds, and five assists. White scored 21, including an efficient 5-of-8 from three.

The series now gets a two-day breather, with Game 2 coming Sunday night at  8 p.m. ET at Chase Center.

PHOTOS: Celtics battle Warriors in Game 1 of 2022 NBA Finals

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Al Horford becomes unlikely hero of Celtics' dominant fourth quarter in Game 1

  • Al Horford is, in fact, good. What he did in Game 1 of the NBA Finals was greatness.

    On a night when the Warriors made life difficult for Jayson Tatum, who ultimately couldn’t overcome the challenge, Horford and others rose to the occasion in the fourth quarter of Game 1, keying a furious comeback that ended up a stunning 12-point win. Horford scored 11 of his 26 points in just the final 5:10 of regulation, including a streak of eight straight points after the C’s tied the game.

    The Celtics never looked back from there. Horford dished it to Marcus Smart on the next Boston possession, and Smart drained another three. Smart would hit yet another triple on the following possession, continuing the Celtics’ relentless gut-punch. This was all part of a blistering 17-0 run in the middle of the quarter.

    Being the consummate pro and teammate that he is, Horford was quick to credit others and laud the Celtics’ complete team effort over the final 12 minutes.

    “It was the way that we were moving the ball on offense, just being in those positions,” Horford said after the game. “I felt like the guys kept finding me time after time. Also Derrick White hit some tough shots there, too. Yeah, it was just get the looks, knock ’em down, that’s that.”

    Adam Jones Show | Instant Reactions: Celtics Win Game 1

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    Horford didn’t exactly have to go out of his way to compliment the effort of his teammates. White scored 21, including 13 in the second half, and shot 5-of-8 from 62.5 percent. Jaylen Brown carried the first half of the Celtics’ comeback, with 10 of his 24 points coming within the first five minutes of the fourth quarter.

    But Thursday night was another example of Horford’s surprising ability to come through in big moments for the Celtics. They may not survive the series leaning on that kind of effort throughout, but Horford’s timely excellence has complemented his leadership presence for much of this postseason run. He pulled that tricky balance off again in Game 1 of the Finals, keeping his teammates focused and leading by example with his late-game execution.

    “Just continue to play. That was our message throughout the whole game,” Horford said. “They’re such a good team. And for us, it was just, you know, continue to play no matter what. And our guys, that’s what we did.”

    “It wasn’t our best game, but we continued to fight and find different ways to get this win.”

  • What About Jayson?

    Jun 2, 2022; San Francisco, California, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) dribbles the ball while defended by Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) and center Kevon Looney (left) during the first half of game one of the 2022 NBA Finals at Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

    Jun 2, 2022; San Francisco, California, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) dribbles the ball while defended by Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) and center Kevon Looney (left) during the first half of game one of the 2022 NBA Finals at Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

    The Celtics’ come-from-behind win was thrilling and worth celebrating in Boston. But it’s going to be an uphill battle throughout the series if Jayson Tatum can’t take over offensively.

    It was an NBA Finals opening act to forget for Tatum, who scored just 12 points on 3-of-17 from the field. Exemplifying his improved all-around play this season, Tatum managed to rack up 13 assists, which was actually a new record for an NBA Finals debut. But that was mainly because the Warriors committed so much defensive attention to him, used so many resources, that they ensured it wouldn’t be Tatum who beat them.

    “I had a bad shooting night. I just tried to impact the game in other ways,” Tatum said after the game. “We’re in the championship, we’re in the finals. All I was worried about was trying to get a win, and we did, and that’s all that matters at this point.

    “I don’t expect to shoot that bad every night, but if it means we keep winning, I’ll take it.”

    Horford, Brown, and others joined forces to make up for a down night for Tatum, who slogged through a mix of physical defense and deteriorating shot selection. If the C’s do end up winning the series, their superior offensive depth could ultimately be the reason why. But it’s hard to imagine them winning the Finals without a Tatum awakening.

    Still plenty of time for that.

  • Big-Stage Jaylen

    Jun 2, 2022; San Francisco, California, USA; Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (7) dunks the ball during the first quarter against the Golden State Warriors in game one of the 2022 NBA Finals at Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

    Jun 2, 2022; San Francisco, California, USA; Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (7) dunks the ball during the first quarter against the Golden State Warriors in game one of the 2022 NBA Finals at Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

    If Brown keeps this up, he may be worthy of a “Big-Game” type of nickname. “Big-Stage Jaylen” may not quite cut it. But that’s not important right now. What’s important is that Brown is a stone-cold killer in the fourth quarter.

    Brown ignited the Celtics’ late comeback in the first place, and exuded a fearlessness throughout Game 1 that should serve him well in this series, and whenever he gets to this big a stage. He wasn’t afraid to attack, and produced when they truly needed it the most. His explosion was exemplary of the Celtics really coming together as a team in the fourth.

    “Offensively, I just tried to get our team going by being aggressive and finding the right plays, and some shots went down for us and it kind of just snowballed,” Brown told ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt after the game.

    According to StatMuse on Twitter, Brown is now shooting 66.7 percent from the field in the fourth quarter during the 2022 playoffs, and leads all players in fourth-quarter points. So, it’s important for the Warriors to remember that the Celtics have two offensive studs. Even if they can keep Tatum in check, there’s still Brown to worry about.

    He gave them plenty to worry about in Game 1.

  • Sounds of the Game: Celtics’ 17-0 Run

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    Listen above for a recap of the call of the game from Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell on 98.5 The Sports Hub, as the Celtics surged for a 17-0 run in the middle of the fourth quarter.

  • WATCH: Celtics-Warriors Game 1 Highlights

Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @realmattdolloff. You can also email him at mdolloff@985thesportshub.com.

NEXT… Mazz: How the Celtics Teamed Up to Bury the Warriors in Game 1