Warriors collapse in 4th quarter to lose Game 1 of Finals vs. Celtics

Jun 2, 2022, 8:51 PM | Updated: 8:51 pm

SAN FRANCISCO — The ball was moving, the shots were falling and the arena was rocking in a very familiar third quarter for the Golden State Warriors.

Then came the fourth quarter and a surprising collapse by the more experienced team as the Warriors dropped a rare Game 1 of a playoff series under coach Steve Kerr, losing the opener of the NBA Finals 120-108 to the Boston Celtics on Thursday night.

The Warriors turned a 12-point lead after three quarters into an 12-point loss in a shocking turnaround that silenced a boisterous crowd that had been celebrating Golden State’s return to the Finals after a two-year absence.

Boston made its first seven 3-pointers of the quarter and ran away, leading to chants of “Let’s Go Celtics!” in the closing seconds in a half-empty arena. The Warriors scored just 16 points in the fourth quarter after a 38-point explosion in the third had put them seemingly in control.

The meltdown left the Warriors complaining to officials and searching for answers after their first home loss in these playoffs after opening with nine straight wins.

It was the biggest blown lead after three quarters of an NBA Finals game in 30 years as the experienced Warriors fell apart down the stretch instead of a Celtics team filled with Finals newcomers. The last team to lose a Finals game when leading by at least 12 points after three quarters was Portland in 1992 in a Game 6 series-ending loss to Michael Jordan and the Bulls.

The Game 1 loss was just the third in 24 playoff series for the Warriors under coach Steve Kerr with the others coming in the 2019 Finals against Toronto and the 2016 Western Conference finals against Oklahoma City.

It also overshadowed what had been a blistering start by Stephen Curry, who made a Finals record six 3-pointers and scored 21 points in the first quarter.

But the Celtics adjusted and Curry made just one 3-pointer and scored 13 points the rest of the way.


Derrick White #9 and Jaylen Brown #7 of the Boston Celtics react after defeating the Miami Heat 104...

Associated Press

At the horn: Celtics force Game 7 with buzzer-beater after trailing 0-3 vs. Heat

Derrick White scored on a putback with 0.1 seconds left and the Celtics moved to the brink of the greatest comeback in NBA playoffs history.

8 days ago

Gabe Vincent #2 and Kyle Lowry #7 of the Miami Heat react after a timeout during the third quarter ...

Associated Press

No. 8 seed Heat stomp Celtics to take 3-0 lead in Eastern finals

Eighth-seeded Heat moved one win from the NBA Finals after rolling past the Celtics 128-102 in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference title series.

14 days ago

Jamal Murray #27 of the Denver Nuggets reacts to a play in front of Anthony Davis #3 of the Los Ang...

Associated Press

Nuggets take 3-0 lead vs. Lakers, another step closer to 1st NBA Finals

The Denver Nuggets rolled to a 3-0 lead in the Western Conference finals with a 119-108 victory over the Lakers on Saturday night.

15 days ago

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) receives applause as he steps off the court near the end of...

Associated Press

Tatum sets Game 7 record with 51 points, Celtics beat 76ers

The Celtics beat the Philadelphia 76ers 112-88 on Sunday to advance to the Eastern Conference finals for the second straight year.

21 days ago

Golden State Warriors guard Gary Payton II, left, shoots as Los Angeles Lakers forward Rui Hachimur...

Associated Press

Lakers rally past Warriors, take commanding 3-1 series lead

The Los Angeles Lakers rallied late to take a 3-1 series lead with a 104-101 victory over the Golden State Warriors in Game 4 on Monday night.

27 days ago

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) celebrates with forward Draymond Green after the War...

Associated Press

Curry scores playoff career-high 50 as Warriors down Kings

The Warriors advanced to the Western Conference semifinals by beating the Kings 120-100 in Sunday's winner-take-all Game 7.

1 month ago

Warriors collapse in 4th quarter to lose Game 1 of Finals vs. Celtics