It’s safe to say that for Dub Nation, Game 2 of the 2022 NBA Finals was a whole hell of a lot better than Game 1.
Just as in the first game, the Golden State Warriors and Boston Celtics were neck-and-neck in the first half. And, just as in the first game, the Warriors used a dominant third quarter to build a double-digit lead going into the fourth quarter. But unlike in the first game, the Dubs didn’t squander it in Game 2, and head home with a 107-88 victory, a tied series, and a plane ticket to Boston, where things are about to get very interesting, very quickly.
We’ll discuss that more in the coming days. Until then, let’s grade the Warriors players based on our expectations for each.
Note: League-average true-shooting percentage (TS) this season was 56.6%.
35 minutes, 9 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 1 turnover, 3 fouls, 2-for-3 shooting, 0-for-1 threes, 5-for-7 free throws, 74.0% TS, +9
Despite the fact that Green fills up every column of the box score regularly, he’s a player with a reputation for doing far more than the box score can accurately depict.
And my goodness was that the case on Sunday.
Draymond was a thorn in Boston’s side. He mixed it up with Jayson Tatum. He mixed it up with Jaylen Brown. He mixed it up with Marcus Smart. He mixed it up with the whole damn team.
He got reactions out of them. On one defining play, the Warriors were trying to inbound the ball, and Tatum was guarding Green closely. Dray was getting so physical with the Celtics star forward that the referees had to separate them three or four times before starting the play ... only for Tatum to foul Green on the inbounds.
There’s no better way to describe Dray’s performance than Marcus Thompson II did in this tweet:
Draymond really lives for this— Marcus Thompson II (@ThompsonScribe) June 6, 2022
The box score stats are nice. But the leadership, toughness, mind games, and 4D chess are the things that really make Draymond a superstar for this team.
And I can’t help but think that we’ll feel the impact of his Game 2 performance throughout the rest of the series.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in assists.
31 minutes, 11 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 turnovers, 2 fouls, 4-for-12 shooting, 2-for-3 threes, 1-for-2 free throws, 42.7% TS, +19
Wiggins had a few huge shots in this game, even though his overall offensive output was rather poor.
But it’s still a good grade in my book, simply because his defense on Tatum was mighty impressive. Tatum had a good game scoring the ball, but Wiggins really made him work for it.
21 minutes, 12 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals, 1 block, 2 fouls, 6-for-6 shooting, 100.0% TS, +24
Looney had 12 points. Al Horford and Robert Williams III combined to have 4 points. Looney made 6 shots. Horford and Williams combined to shoot just 5 times. Looney had 7 rebounds and 2 assists. Horford and Williams combined to have 10 rebounds and 2 assists.
His superb postseason run continues.
Looney also played a huge role in the team finding offensive success in the first quarter.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in rebounds, tied for the team lead in plus/minus.
32 minutes, 29 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals, 2 turnovers, 2 fouls, 9-for-21 shooting, 5-for-12 threes, 6-for-7 free throws, 60.2% TS, +24
The biggest reason the Warriors won this game was because of Curry’s gravity. There’s simply no way around that. The way Boston defended the two-time MVP is what allowed the team’s offense to flourish ... they got four-on-threes with Dray leading the charge, they got cutters moving to the basket with limited help defense, and they got many an open shooter.
That’s Curry’s biggest impact. But they also won in no small part because of his excellent defense.
Two big *defensive* possessions from Steph are as responsible as anything for the Warriors rolling late in the 3Q pic.twitter.com/3fWAy2Fp7B— Dieter Kurtenbach (@dieter) June 6, 2022
If the Warriors can find a way to win three more games, Curry — who should already be on anyone’s top-10 list, but is somehow still disrespected — will add a fourth ring and a Finals MVP trophy.
And then maybe, just maybe, people will start to realize that he’s not just an all-time great player, but an all-time great playoff player, too.
Steph Finals career:— StatMuse (@statmuse) June 6, 2022
He is 1 of 3 players ever averaging 25/5/5 on 55 TS% in the Finals. The others are LeBron and Jordan. pic.twitter.com/0VJzjIcBTp
Put some respect on the man’s name. He’s one of the best to ever do it, on this stage and on all stages.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in points, tied for the team lead in plus/minus.
30 minutes, 11 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, 2 turnovers, 1 foul, 4-for-19 shooting, 1-for-8 threes, 2-for-2 free throws, 27.7% TS, 0 plus/minus
There’s no way to sugarcoat this one. This was a really rough game from Klay.
He missed good looks. He forced bad looks. He didn’t do much else, though he had some good defensive possessions.
He’s going to have one of those ridiculous games that he’s known for, and it’s going to be amazing when it happens.
11 minutes, 6 points, 5 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 turnover, 3 fouls, 3-for-4 shooting, 75.0% TS, -7
Bjelica got some rather surprising minutes early in this game, and .... he was excellent.
But more notably, he was excellent on defense.
And even more notably than that, he was excellent on defense on Jayson Tatum.
Bjelica had numerous possessions where he was put on an island and asked to defend the All-NBA star, and he was up to the task. Three fouls in 11 minutes is the only stain on an outstanding game. We’ll be seeing more of him this series.
Post-game bonus: Worst plus/minus on the team.
4 minutes, 0 points, -5
Kuminga remains out of the rotation, but the Dubs got a decent chunk of garbage time in this game.
Otto Porter Jr.
15 minutes, 3 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 steals, 1 foul, 1-for-1 shooting, 1-for-1 threes, 150.0% TS, +24
Porter didn’t get to play a big chunk of minutes, but he was lights out in the minutes he played. He was a menace on defense, did the little things on offense, and was on the court when the Warriors were playing their best basketball. In part because of what he was doing.
Post-game bonus: Tied for the team lead in plus/minus.
4 minutes, 0 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 turnover, 0-for-1 shooting, 0-for-1 threes, 0.0% TS, -5
Garbage time for JTA, but he did some nice things while out there.
4 minutes, 0 points, 0-for-1 shooting, 0-for-1 threes, 0.0% TS, -5
Garbage time for Lee. Nothing to note.
Gary Payton II
25 minutes, 7 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 fouls, 3-for-3 shooting, 1-for-1 threes, 0-for-2 free throws, 90.2% TS, +15
Payton gets a perfect grade here, simply because he returned to the court for the first time since fracturing his elbow in the Western Conference Semifinals, in an injury that looked destined to sideline him until next season. It was incredible seeing him out there.
But he also gets a high grade for playing brilliant basketball on both ends of the court. What a difference maker it is to have him back.
23 minutes, 17 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 3 turnovers, 1 foul, 6-for-14 shooting, 5-for-9 threes, 60.7% TS, +7
Poole picked up where he left off in the first half, with some struggles that gave you pause. But then he turned it on in the second half, which was highlighted by an unforgettable sequence at the end of the third quarter that felt like the biggest moment of the game, turning a comfortable lead into a foregone conclusion by making a deep three followed by a DEEP three.
A lot of his damage came once the outcome was decided, but he still gets a good grade for those monumental shots, and some much improved defense.
6 minutes, 2 points, 1-for-1 shooting, 100.0% TS, -3
Moody still might find himself playing meaningful minutes at some point in this series. But it wasn’t in this game.
Sunday’s inactives: Andre Iguodala, James Wiseman