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Why Draymond Green isn’t worried about chances vs. Celtics

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – JUNE 01: Draymond Green #23 of the Golden State Warriors speaks at a press conference during media day prior to the start of the NBA Finals at Chase Center on June 01, 2022 in San Francisco, California. The Golden State Warriors will play the Boston Celtics in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on June 2, 2022. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Moments after a Game 1 lost in historic fashion, the Warriors’ Draymond Green took to the podium in the bowels of San Francisco’s Chase Center and issued a challenge to the Celtics: Do that again. If you can.

“They hit 21 threes, and Marcus Smart and Al Horford and Derrick White combined for 15 of them,” Green said after the loss. “The guys are good shooters, but they combined for, what, 15? 15-for-23. My math right?

“15-for-23 from those guys, eh, you know, so we’ll be fine.”

In other words, Green doesn’t see that happening again.

Now, in his defense, Horford’s 6-for-8 mark from deep was a career-high. Horford entered tonight’s game having flirted with a six triple night with a 5-for-7 performance from three-point land in the C’s Game 4 win over the Bucks in the second round, and has knocked down multiple tries from deep in eight of his 17 postseason games this spring entering this series.

White also finished with 21 points off the bench, and in doing so became the first Celtic to reach the 20-point mark as a reserve in an NBA Finals game since Leon Powe in Game 2 of the 2008 NBA Finals. Smart, meanwhile, put forth his most efficient game of the postseason, with a 7-for-11 effort with five rebounds, four assists, two steals and zero turnovers in 29:55.

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Together, they accounted for all 17 of Boston’s points during their game-sealing 17-0 run in the fourth.

“I think they stayed within striking distance and they made shots late,” Green, whose team lost Game 1 for just the third time in the Steve Kerr Era, said. “We’ll be fine. We’ll figure out the ways we can stop them from getting those threes 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.”

Steph Curry, meanwhile, took a more diplomatic approach to the perhaps surprising success of Boston’s secondary shooters.

“You obviously have to pick and choose where you send attention,” Curry offered. “Al was spaced most of the game, and when he’s making shots like that and you’re slow to rotate, it’s just another threat that you gotta worry about; 26 points, 6-for-8 [from three], that’s tough. And even Derrick, scoring 20 plus and five threes. Those two guys were key.

“You hope they don’t stay that hot but you also have to do something about it and we have to figure that out.”

But for all the Warriors’ beliefs and hopes that the Celtics’ unlikely Ghidorah won’t duplicate their Game 1 efforts when this series resumes Sunday night, the Celtics have their own ‘that won’t happen again’ and with their most important talent.

On the NBA’s biggest stage for the first time in his career, C’s superstar Jayson Tatum went 3-for-17 from the floor, and finished with just 12 points. Tatum found other ways to be an effective contributor for the Celtics (his 13 dimes from him were the most by any player making their NBA Finals debut), of course, but that shooting performance was the worst of his playoff career.

“Obviously Jayson didn’t play his best,” Boston coach Ime Udoka admitted. “We don’t expect JT to have a tough shooting night like that again. I don’t know if you attribute it to jitters [or] some of the defense they were throwing at him, box-and-one, some of those zones. But it shows what we are, which is a team.”

Now comes seeing who proves who is wrong in Game 2.

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

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