The Celtics were 4.5 point underdogs coming into Game 1 of the Finals on Thursday. They pulled off the upset, beating the Warriors handily 120-108.
That final score isn't indicative of how topsy-turvy this game was.
The Warriors looked to be in control for large portions of the game, leading by as many as 10 in the second quarter before giving that entire lead back by halftime. They built up another 15-point lead towards the end of the third quarter, but the Celtics closed on a 48-21 run over the last 14 minutes to take the game.
The Warriors were able to build an early lead because of extremely hot 3-point shooting and poor defensive coverage by the Celtics. Steph Curry set a Finals record with his six 3-pointers in the first quarter, with some due to the Celtics bigs playing way too far back in drop coverage.
In one of the rare in-game wired segments that provided some insight into strategy, Marcus Smart drilled his teammates on meeting Curry higher up the floor rather than giving him space to pull up to shoot off screens.
Celtics defense breakdown vs. Stephen Curry
“This isn't the Heat series,” Smart said. “We can't start back, you have to start up, especially if they setting [the screen] so high. You start up and drop because we're chasing.”