Draymond Green downplays Warriors collapse: ‘We pretty much dominated the game in the first 41, 42 minutes’

Draymond Green downplays Warriors collapse: ‘We pretty much dominated the game in the first 41, 42 minutes’

The Golden State Warriors are looking for positives after their disastrous fourth-quarter collapse against the Boston Celtics in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. Boston scored its first seven 3-pointers of the frame in the last 12 minutes en route to a 40-16 shellacking and that helped the Celtics secure a 120-108 win and a 1-0 lead in to take over the series.

But Draymond Green doesn’t dwell on the final minutes. No, in his eyes the Warriors can take solace in how well they played the rest of the game. In fact, in his eyes, the warriors dominated the earlier part of the competition. “They stayed within striking distance and shot late,” Green said said. “We’re going to be fine. We’re going to figure out how to stop them getting those 3s and take them away. I don’t think it was a rhythm thing. We pretty much dominated the game for the first 41, 42 minutes , so we’ll be fine.”

All in all, Green’s argument isn’t crazy. The Warriors led by as much as 15 points in the third quarter and were ahead in most of the three opening frames. But “dominated” is a bit of a stretch. The Warriors were even down 56-54 at half time. The third quarter was dominant in the end, but the Celtics quickly scored the first nine points of the fourth to reduce a 12-point lead to three. If there was a truly dominant stretch for Golden State, it didn’t last 41 or 42 minutes.

The other anomaly Green noticed was in Boston’s shooting. “They hit 21 3s and Marcus Smart, Al Horford and Derrick White combined for 15,” Green said said. “These guys are good shooters but they combined what, 15 out of eight, smart seven, eight, 15 out of 23. Is my math right? Eight, seven and eight. Eight, seven and eight. Yes, that’s 23, right? 15 for 23 from these guys. Eh We’ll be fine.

Again, Green has a point. While all three are perfectly capable of making 3s, neither is a particularly reliable shooter. Before his last three games, which were stellar, White shot 20.8 percent from deep into the playoffs. Boston almost fell apart in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, in part because of the 3s that a wide-open smart kept missing in the closing minutes. Horford only made 33.6 percent of his 3s in the regular season, and while he’s been better than that in the past, he’s always been a somewhat reluctant shooter from deep. The Celtics probably can’t expect to fire all those shots again in Game 2.

But they also can’t expect Jayson Tatum to shoot 3-of-17 again. The Warriors can’t count on Stephen Curry making six 3-pointers in the first quarter. The truth is that the variance will vary wildly from game to game, regardless of who succeeds and who fails. Each game is its own entity, and if the Warriors only focus on what to go back, they will miss all of the other untenable phenomena driving the Celtics in Game 2.

The Warriors lost Game 1 by being overplayed in the fourth quarter. At this point, it hardly matters what happened before, and it hardly matters how it happened either. Golden State needs to get back to the drawing board and figure out how to fix the problem.

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