This is emphatically not where the Golden State Warriors wanted to be. After suffering an ugly 116-100 loss on Wednesday night, the Warriors find themselves trailing the Boston Celtics 2-1 in the NBA Finals. The need to win three out of four games against the Eastern Conference champs, with two of those games taking place in Boston.
It’s far from impossible. And if you want some perspective, just imagine if I had offered you this scenario before the season began. All of you would have taken it, in a heartbeat.
But there’s a lot of work to be done. And it starts with playing better than they did in Game 3. And to see just how poorly they played in Game 3, let’s break out the red pen and dole out some grades, weighted for our expectations of each player.
Note: League-average true-shooting percentage (TS) this season was 56.6%
35 minutes, 2 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block, 2 turnovers, 6 fouls, 1-for-4 shooting, 0-for-2 threes, 25.0% TS, -13
A gave Green an A+ after Game 2. It was a generous grade if you were just counting how much his basketball playing impacted the game. But do to the energy, liveliness, and motivation that he seemed to bring to the court and instill in his teammates, I thought he had maybe shifted the series.
It’s probably time to retract that. The Warriors came out flat in Game 3, and so too did Dray.
He really didn’t get anything going at all in this game. His offense wasn’t there. His playmaking wasn’t there. His defense — while still good, because he’s the greatest defensive player alive — wasn’t up to his standards. And while he had a few moments of bringing energy, it didn’t really seem to accomplish anything like it did in Game 2.
Just a very bad game. And if you’re looking for reasons to be optimistic about the Dubs in Game 4, it starts with Green: because there’s no way he plays that poorly again on Friday.
40 minutes, 18 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks, 3 turnovers, 4 fouls, 7-for-16 shooting, 1-for-6 threes, 3-for-4 free throws, 50.7% TS, -16
I think you could make the case that Wiggins had a quite good game or a quite bad one. Let’s make the case for each.
On the bad front, he shot the ball inefficiently. He turned the ball over a bit without creating opportunities for teammates. He stagnated the offense a little bit. He looked deflated once the Dubs were down by a large amount.
On the good front, he was aggressive on offense when his shot wasn’t falling. He played strong defense on Jayson Tatum yet again. He did good work on the glass.
The bad outweighed the good with most players on Wednesday, but I think Wiggins deserves a fair amount of credit.
Post-game bonus: Tied for the team lead in rebounds, worst plus/minus on the team.
17 minutes, 6 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 turnovers, 3 fouls, 3-for-4 shooting, 75.0% TS, -7
The Dubs seem a little bit unsure about how to deploy Looney in this series. The times where he scores always feel huge, because it so often comes in an area where the Dubs are struggling.
And seven rebounds in 17 minutes is huge. But it also wasn’t a great defensive game for Looney, and the turnovers were a bit of an issue.
Post-game bonus: Tied for the team lead in rebounds.
37 minutes, 31 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 3 turnovers, 4 fouls, 12-for-22 shooting, 6-for-11 threes, 1-for-1 free throws, 69.1% TS, -14
With the game in the rearview mirror, all of our attention focuses to Curry’s health. Late in the loss he got tangled up going for a loose ball, and hurt his foot. He said it’s a similar feeling to when he hurt it against the Celtics earlier in the season and missed lots of time, but stressed that it was much less severe this time.
He seems optimistic about playing in Game 4, but it’s not an ideal time for there to only be one day of rest.
Steph says he will be alright after hurting his foot during a scramble for the ball pic.twitter.com/zlxj3YQRgR— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) June 9, 2022
As for the actual game, Curry was the team’s best player, and it wasn’t close. Despite Boston fully selling out on him, he still led all players in the game in scoring, and he did so with tremendous efficiency.
Can’t fault him at all for this one.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in points.
39 minutes, 25 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 1 foul, 7-for-17 shooting, 5-for-13 threes, 6-for-6 free throws, 63.7% TS, -3
When the Warriors were sinking in the first half, Klay was there to keep them afloat. How many big shots did he have when the Warriors most needed them?
I lost count.
His performance would be remembered a hell of a lot differently if the Dubs had been able to hang onto the lead that they briefly nabbed in the third quarter.
3 minutes, 0 points, 1 assist, 0-for-1 shooting, 0.0% TS, -2
Bjelica didn’t get much of an opportunity in this game. Didn’t play well in the opportunity he got, but small sample is small.
2 minutes, 0 points, 1 rebound, -2
Just garbage time for Kuminga. Perhaps the Dubs get desperate at some point and try something new, but for now he’s on the outside of the rotation looking in.
2 minutes, 0 points, -2
Iguodala got a few possessions of meaningful run before joining the garbage time crew. It’s unclear if the Warriors don’t trust him because of his injury, or because he’s just not playing well.
Otto Porter Jr.
21 minutes, 6 points, 1 rebound, 4 assists, 1 steal, 1 turnover, 1 foul, 2-for-3 shooting, 2-for-3 threes, 100.0% TS, +4
I wonder if we might see Porter get more minutes in Game 4. The stats aren’t eye-popping, but it sure seems like the offense functions drastically better when he’s on the court, without it coming at the expense of the defense. He seems like an especially important player to have on the court in this matchup.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in assists.
2 minutes, 1 turnover, -2
Garbage time for JTA.
2 minutes, 0 points, 0-for-1 shooting, 0-for-1 threes, 0.0% TS, -2
Also garbage time for Lee.
Gary Payton II
11 minutes, 2 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 1 steal, 2 fouls, -13, 0-for-2 shooting, 2-for-2 free throws, 34.7% TS, -13
Payton didn’t get to play too much of a role in this one. He was quite a bit more impactful in Game 2 than in Game 3. I suspect he’ll be a critical player going forward in this series, but really not much happening here.
24 minutes, 10 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 turnovers, 2 fouls, 4-for-8 shooting, 1-for-4 threes, 1-for-2 free throws, 56.3% TS, -6
Save for some momental threes in the third quarter of Game 2, it’s just been a really tough series for Poole. Boston is playing him tremendously, and while he adjusted and attacked the rim a little bit in this game, he needed to do it a good bit more.
The Dubs need some adjustments from him in Game 4.
2 minutes, 0 points, 1 block, -2
Garbage time for the rook.
Wednesday’s inactives: James Wiseman