Warriors enjoy Jordan Poole’s third-quarter finale

SAN FRANCISCO — Jordan Poole and Steph Curry talked about it last week.

No, this wasn’t about free throws, which remain a perplexing issue in the Warriors’ playoff run.

Instead, the topic was half-court shooting. Curry certainly is the more-accomplished taskmaster. Sunday night, Poole got his shot his, and made it with thunderous applause.

Poole’s 38-foot, buzzer-beating bomb capped the Warriors’ third-quarter surge in a 107-88 home win over the Boston Celtics, evening the NBA Finals at 1-1.

“We talked about it in shoot-around a couple days ago, (that) somebody was going to hit a half-court shot in this series, whether it was me or Steph,” Poole said. “I just happened to hit it.”

Said Curry: “We shoot halfcourt shots every practice. We have a little competition going. So we count — if you make one during the game, we count it. So he took the lead tonight.”

Poole, 22, also became the youngest player to make five 3-point shots in a NBA Finals game.

Poole’s first came in the first half, when he made just 1-of-5 shots from the floor. Then he sat most of the third quarter while Curry and others pulled away from the Celtics.

With 1:19 until the fourth quarter and with a 27-point lead intact, Poole checked back in and promptly nailed a 3-pointer over Daniel Theis. The Celtics missed an ensuing 3-point try, Andrew Wiggins grabbed the rebound and then Poole nailed his long-distance 3-pointer — just after crossing halfcourt — for the 87-64 cushion entering the fourth quarter.

“Jordan is still a very young player, learning on the fly, but he’s had such a great season, and he’s so talented and confident that I have a lot of faith that he’ll figure this out,” coach Steve Kerr said. “And I thought tonight he did a good job of finding his way.”

Kerr noted that all Warriors must adjust to Boston’s steeper competition defensively.

Poole’s outlook on the Celtics through two games: “Extremely long. Extremely lengthy. They do have a lot of shot-blockers. They have a lot of guys that can meet at the rim. Just trying to figure out ways to play around that. Just keep watching film. That’s pretty much all there is to it, I guess.”

After struggling and losing in his NBA Finals debut Thursday night, Poole finished with 17 points in this encore. He shot 6-of-14 from the floor, and 5-of-9 on 3-point attempts, the final of which he was wildly off the mark in the final minute.

Poole had a team-high three turnovers but did add three assists, two steals and two rebounds.

He came looking for his shot more this game.

“The first game, I was trying to get my teammates involved, trying to get them easy looks, because they were crowding me and they had a lot of attention on me in the non-Steph minutes,” Poole said.

Those non-Steph minutes opened the door for the Celtics’ comeback in Game 1, not in Game 2.

“He was a little bit more aggressive, a little bit more under control tonight,” Curry said. “He didn’t go his way much early, but then he had that flurry. I think he had the two threes in the last two minutes of the third quarter. So just continue to find rhythm. He’s capable of that.”

So we count — if you make one during the game, we count it. So he took the lead tonight.

This time, they didn’t waste their third-quarter rally.

“We know how important it is to deliver that first punch and try to be aggressive, physical, decisive,” Poole said.

The next chance to do that: Wednesday, in Boston, for Poole’s first NBA Finals game away from Chase Center.

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