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The Warriors were determined to limit Jayson Tatum's impact as a scorer. They did. Tatum finished with 12 points on 3/17 shooting. But he made them pay as a facilitator, distributing a game-high 13 assists. No one else on either side had more than five.

And while Tatum may not have played up to his standards as a scorer, Al Horford and Jaylen Brown picked up that slack. The former produced a team-best 26 points. The latter was at the center of Boston's fourth-quarter comeback, going from down 12 entering the final frame to outpacing Golden State 40-16, earning a 120-108 victory.

It was one of countless examples throughout this game of the Celtics picking each other up, finding ways to win and looking most comfortable on the brightest stage in the most pressure-filled moments of the night.

Now, for a deep dive into what stood out as Boston handed the Warriors their first playoff loss at home this year.

Curry Sets an NBA Finals Record, But Celtics Keep It Close in First Frame

The Warriors' off-ball activity quickly led to scoring from in close, producing six of their first 12 points.

Twice, no one stayed with Andrew Wiggins as he broke to the best, including on an under-the-basket inbounds, where he got an uncontested layup. Also, there was Stephen Curry beating Marcus Smart, going backdoor while the latter braced for him to curl for a three off a pindown.

Speaking of Curry, the Chef also cooked from beyond the arc in the first frame. At the 5:55 mark, he already had 11 points. It's one thing for him to make tough shots, but it's another to leave him open for a pull-up three or have a defensive breakdown defending a side pick-and-roll as Boston did early.

Curry finished the opening period with 21 points, setting an NBA Finals record with six threes in the first quarter.

But the Celtics kept it within four, 32-28. They made light work of the Warriors' zone defense, played with pace, and moved the ball to the tune of nine assists on 11 field goals. They shot 44 percent from the floor, including 5/13 (38.5 percent) from beyond the arc. Boston made four of its first seven threes.

The Celtics also generated 12 points in the paint. Jayson Tatum and Smart led the team with six points apiece.

A sequence by Boston that stood out came when Curry heaved a pass downcourt to Kevon Looney, but Jaylen Brown swatted his layup from over the top. Brown then took off to the other end, where he got rewarded for his continued effort with a transition dunk.

However, the Celtics needed to do a better job getting back and matching up in transition. They only committed two turnovers but gave up nine fast-break points. Golden State also produced eight second-chance points. Boston doesn't need to make this any harder on itself than it already is. 

Celtics Settle In, In the Second Quarter

Tatum had back-to-back possessions early in the frame where he did a terrific job challenging the defense, attacking off the dribble, and kicking the ball out to first, Derrick White for a three, and then Daniel Theis.

But at the other end, the Warriors scored 15 points in less than five minutes to start the second quarter. And after two Boston defenders went with Jordan Poole after he set a pindown for Klay Thompson, the second Splash Brother buried a three, giving Golden State a ten-point lead, it's largest of the game at that point.

But after that Thompson three, the Celtics went on a 10-0 run, starting with a Brown mid-range pull-up, followed by Tatum finding Robert Williams for a layup after the latter won a jump ball against Looney.

Then, Smart knocked down a step-back jumper as the shot clock expired. It stemmed from Smart making multiple entry passes to Tatum in the mid post and the latter going at Curry after the second one. 

After that, Brown generated a layup and cashed in on a pull-up jumper over Wiggins above the foul line.

At the 2:32 mark, Brown converted on a pair of free throws that gave the visitors a 51-49 advantage, Boston's first lead since it was 9-8 with 8:51 remaining in the first quarter. Unfortunately for them, it was short-lived as Thompson found Otto Porter for a three on Golden State's ensuing possession.

With 1:41 left in the period, Smart did an outstanding job switching onto Curry, staying in his airspace, resulting in Curry getting whistled for an offensive foul, trying to create separation.

Between settling in defensively and the Celtics' ball movement and aggressive approach, Boston earned a 56-54 advantage at the half. They went on a 19-7 run to end the second quarter.

The Celtics assisted on 16/21 field goals, consistently creating in-rhythm shots. They knocked down 46.7 percent of them, including 9/21 (42.9 percent) threes. Boston also produced 18 points in the paint.

Brown had 12 points, a team-high. Smart scored ten, and Tatum and Al Horford had eight, as did White off the bench.

The Celtics also went from giving up eight second-chance points and nine on the fast break in the first frame to four of the former and none of the latter in the second.

As for the Warriors, Curry didn't score in the second quarter, and entered the locker room with three fouls.

And while Jordan Poole was 1/4 with two points, Porter produced nine off the bench, and Thompson and Wiggins scored eight.

The hosts converted on 45.7 percent of their shots, including 11/24 (45.8 percent) of their attempts from beyond the arc. The two teams combined to make the most threes in a first half in NBA Finals history.

Celtics Don't Match Warriors' Energy or Keep Them Off the Glass in Third Quarter

Golden State was the more energized team coming out of the break. The Warriors outscored Boston 12-4 to start the second half.

A rather impressive defensive play early in the third quarter came when Robert Williams stayed with Curry, causing him to retreat for a 27-foot step-back three that the Timelord swatted. It was Williams' third block of the game.

At the 5:10 mark, Wiggins tipped in a Looney floater, capping a 7-0 Golden State run in the span of 2:15. It also gave the Warriors their largest lead, putting them ahead 75-64.

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With 4:17 remaining, Tatum registered the game's next basket, euro-stepping his way to his first field goal in the last 20 minutes.

Shortly after that came a fun sequence where Poole drilled a 30-foot three, White countered from 26 feet, Porter cashed in a clean look beyond the arc, and Horford answered. Those threes made it 83-72 Golden State.

When the quarter ended, the Warriors had outscored the Celtics 38-24, seizing control of the game. Still, the lead was 92-80, so it's not like Boston's out of this, but it will take the visitors best 12 minutes of the night to pull out a Game 1 win.

Two areas that helped Golden State build a double-digit advantage were on the offensive glass and at the free-throw line. The Warriors generated nine 11-chance points, giving them 23 total. Looney entered the final frame with nine rebounds, six coming on the offensive boards.

As for the free throws, Golden State went 10/10 at the line in the third quarter.

Celtics Deliver a Fourth-Quarter Haymaker

The Celtics answered the call to play with urgency to start the fourth quarter, going on a 7-0 run that made it 92-87 with 9:35 to play.

Brown had a hand in all seven points, capitalizing on an 18-foot step back, swishing a pull-up three at the right wing, then lofting an alley-oop to Robert Williams.

After a Steve Kerr timeout and a Warriors turnover, a Payton Pritchard layup cut it to 92-89. 

But then Brown coughed the ball up, leading to an Andre Iguodala dunk. Brown made up for it on Boston's following possession, drilling a three off the catch from the left corner. 

Thompson matched him with a tough fadeaway three, but Brown then attacked the basket for two points at the rim, giving him ten in the quarter and 24 for the night.

A couple of minutes later, Brown made quite the pass out of the left block over multiple bodies, finding White for a three at the right wing to make it 101-100.

The Celtics' following trip down the floor, White buried another three, tying the game at 103. 

Horford then fielded a swing pass from Pritchard, stepping into a three at the right wing that gave Boston a 106-103 lead, forcing Kerr to pause the action. 

It will be in vain if the Celtics don't win, but this is as good a response as one could ask for after their third-quarter struggles.

At the 2:53 mark, Smart capitalized on a right-corner three, extending Boston's run to 14-0 in just over a three-minute span. It also gave the visitors a 114-103 lead.

With 1:44 remaining, Smart drilled another shot from beyond the arc. This time, from above the break, pushing the Celtics' advantage to 117-103. And with 48.3 seconds left, Horford delivered the knockout blow with an old-school three-point play, earning a layup and a free throw that gave Boston a 120-105 advantage.

The Celtics took a forceful blow from the Warriors in the third frame, then responded with a haymaker in the fourth quarter. They outscored Golden State 40-16 in the final 12 minutes.

A critical element of that was making the change to go smaller in the fourth quarter so that they were better-equipped to switch on screens, rather than giving Curry, in particular, space to step into threes. Despite that adjustment, Smart logged only three minutes in the fourth quarter. Still, he was one of the most exuberant players on the visiting bench.

Boston shot 50.6 percent in the win, including an outrageous 21/41 (51.2 percent) on threes. That shot making was the product of outstanding ball movement and consistently challenging the Warriors' perimeter defenders, as the Celtics assisted on 33 of 43 field goals, often generating quality, in-rhythm shots.

Horford finished with a team-high 26 points. Brown, who was at the center of Boston's impressive fourth-quarter start, registered 24, a team-best seven rebounds, five assists, and two steals. Smart produced 18 points, five boards, four assists, and two steals.

And while Golden State limited Tatum to 12 points, on a night where no one else on either team had more than five assists, he distributed 13. The Celtics also got a significant contribution from White, who came off the bench to provide 21 points on 6/11 shooting, including going 5/8 on threes.

As for the Warriors, Curry led all scorers with 34 points. Wiggins chipped in 20, and Looney's six offensive rebounds helped them generate 26 second-chance points.

But Golden State's 14 turnovers translated to 21 points for Boston, playing an essential role in the Celtics erasing the 12-point deficit they faced entering the fourth quarter.

Up Next

Game 2 of the NBA Finals is Sunday night. Tip-off is at 8:00 ET. Inside The Celtics will have content related to the game coming out before, during, and after. And follow @BobbyKrivitsky on Twitter for updates and analysis from pregame to post.

Further Reading

Celtics' Owner Wyc Grousbeck Discusses Danny Ainge's Departure, Ime Udoka, Franchise's Five-Year Outlook

Tony Parker Sizes Up the NBA Finals, Talks Ime Udoka and His Collaboration with MTN Dew LEGEND

From Outside the Play-In Tournament to the NBA Finals, Celtics Discuss Their Season Turnaround

As the Calls to Separate Them Grew Louder, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown Grew Closer: 'two young, extremely competitive guys that just really want to win at all costs'

Ahead of NBA Finals, Ime Udoka Provides Updates on Marcus Smart, Robert Williams

Celtics Prepared for, Not Intimidated by Their Roster's First Finals Trip: 'We know what we're here to play for'