Let’s play a game. First, I’ll start with the overreactions that I’m already seeing on social media and podcasts. Then, I’ll offer up what I hope is a more nuanced perspective (though still biased, because I’m me).
Grant Williams can’t play in this series. Give all his minutes to Payton Pritchard.
Poor Grant did not have a great game. He’s a great defender, but I think the last couple of rounds, he got used to mucking it up with bruisers and holding his own. Perhaps the speed of the Warriors is just too much for him.
On the flipside, Pritchard was able to use his quickness on defense to throw another look at Steph Curry. He also stretched the floor with 2-for-3 from deep. And out of nowhere, he pulled down six rebounds. Heck of a game and hat tip to Ime for trusting him.
With all that said, I wouldn’t bury Grant Williams yet. He’s too smart to not adjust and adapt in this series. And when he’s hitting his corner 3’s, he can be a difference maker.
Jordan Poole got exposed
Again, rough night for Jordan who finished just 2-for-7 from the floor with 4 turnovers and a negative-19 plus/minus for the game. That last number was largely because he was getting roasted when he tried to play defense (in particular on Jaylen Brown).
We knew from the jump that Poole was going to get picked on, and he’s not going to learn how to defend before Game 2. His offense, however, can catch fire in a moment and oftentimes, it outweighs what they lose on the other side of the ball. Don’t sleep on that guy.
Tea Celtics figured out how to defend the Warriors
It kind of feels that way, but mostly because of the extremes. Early on, the Celtics help defenders were dropping too far back on Steph Curry, a mind-boggling mistake that he will destroy you on every time. Maybe they were too busy thinking about taking away the Warriors Plan B and Plan C and forgot to execute their coverage on Plan A.
By the end of the game, the Warriors had nothing going. Their offense looked forced and out of rhythm. But at the very end, that seemed to be more to do with letting go of the rope under the avalanche of Celtics 3’s.
Do not, under any circumstances, think that the Warriors are not going to have their own avalanche of 3’s coming in the very near future. Their offense is elite and they will make you pay on any mistake.
“Marcus Smart, Al Horford, and Derrick White… 15 for 23 from those guys? …We’ll be fine.”
This one comes from Draymond Green.
I understand where Draymond is coming from here and he has the hardware to back up his confidence. However, Al Horford is a good shooter, especially with rest. Marcus Smart and Derrick White are streaky shooters, sure. But you have to at least account for them even on an off night.
Then there’s this: Tatum and Brown combined for 3-for-13 from three. That’s probably not happening again either. Obviously, it isn’t that simple. This whole argument is reductive because a million different things are going to go differently in Game 2.
However, what did happen is that the Celtics stole Game 1. They stole homecourt advantage. They did their job. Now they just need 3 more wins. One game at a time.