Poole’s poor Game 1 undercut Curry, Warriors

SAN FRANCISCO — The Warriors were cooking. They had the Boston Celtics — whose young core of players are getting their first taste of the NBA Finals — on the ropes. They had a chance to land a knockout blow.

It’s the kind of opportunity that the Warriors had created and taken countless times throughout their six trips to the NBA Finals over the last eight years. No one can demoralize a team like Steph Curry’s Golden State Warriors.

And sure enough, they were on one of their patented third-quarter runs in Game 1 of the 2022 NBA Finals. A two-point halftime deficit had been turned into a 15-point lead, and the Celtics were rushing, spinning, panicking.

Boston’s star wing, Jayson Tatum, 24 years old, had just clanked a wide-open 3-pointer at the top of the key. The Warriors, who had been turning defense into great offense all quarter, were poised to run the other way.

The death knell was imminent.

And then 22-year-old Jordan Poole, tasked with pushing the team up the floor, handed the ball right back to Tatum. Boston laid it in and stopped the Warriors’ avalanche of momentum. The Celtics gave themselves a chance going into the fourth quarter.

Man, did they ever take it.

Boston’s 17-0 fourth-quarter run stole Game 1 of the series from the Warriors, 120-108. They outscored Golden State 40-16 in the final frame.

It was a jaw-dropping turnaround. The Warriors were, well, Warriored, as Boston knocked down 3 after 3 with beautiful ball movement and swarming defense.

Warriors forward Draymond Green said after Game 1 that the Warriors “dominated the game for the first 41, 42 minutes.”

I’m not sure that’s true of the game I watched, but regardless, an NBA game is 48 minutes.

Yes, the Warriors had Steph Curry and a bit of Andrew Wiggins, too, but that wasn’t nearly enough when the final buzzer sounded.

In those full 48 minutes, Boston shot better, they played better defense, their lineups went deeper and they were the more composed team in Game 1.

That’s an inauspicious start for Golden State.

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