SAN FRANCISCO — A backbreaking barrage of 3-pointers that leaves the opponent cloaked in helplessness, searching for answers from a higher power. Players on the bench celebrating with earned arrogance every time the ball splashes through the net with no resistance from the rim. A scoring run that leaves you scouring the record books, unable to fathom that something this devastating has ever happened before.
In the first-ever NBA Finals game at Chase Center, that was supposed to be the Golden State Warriors‘ story — their return to the highest echelon of the basketball universe. Instead the Boston Celtics went on an unprecedented run in the fourth quarter, sparked by lights-out shooting and pinpoint ball-movement, to come away with a 120-108 Game 1 win in San Francisco, draining the life from what had been an electrically rabid sellout crowd.
Golden State's too-good-to-be-true narrative was already being written midway through the first quarter. Stephen Curry was on an unstoppable heater that only he's capable of, going 6-for-8 from 3-point range en route to 21 points in the opening frame. Fast forward to the second half, when a trademark Warriors third-quarter run turned a their two-point halftime deficit into a 15-point lead with just over two minutes remaining.
A 38-point third quarter of that nature has been a knockout blow for many an unfortunate opponent over the last eight seasons of Warriors basketball. To say Boston responded would be one of the biggest understatements of the NBA's 75-year history.