BOSTON — The Celtics needed to come out strong Monday night to start Game 5 of the NBA Finals after blowing Game 4 last Friday. They did not come out strong, but have since turned the tables on the Warriors.
The Celtics missed a ton of shots to start Game 5 in San Francisco. They missed layups. They missed free throws. Most notably, they missed threes. A lot of threes.
Boston started Game 5 by going 0-for-12 from three-point range, the most missed threes to start a Finals game over the last 25 years, according to Elias Sports Bureau.
The Celtics didn’t make their first three of the night until there was 4:34 left in the second quarter. Jayson Tatum drained one from the left wing to cut into Golden State’s lead, making it a 37-29 game.
Al Horford hit a three after Tatum and Marcus Smart hit one shortly after that, but the Celtics finished the first half just 3-for-15 from downtown. Tatum and Smart were both 1-for-3 from behind the arc, while Horford was 1-for-2. Jaylen Brown was 0-for-2, Payton Pritchard was 0-for-3, and Grant Williams and Derrick White were both 0-for-1 from deep for Boston.
The Warriors were only 3-for-17 from three-point land, and Steph Curry didn’t hit any from long range. But Golden State turned nine Boston turnovers into 13 points and led 51-39 at halftime.
It wasn’t just threes that the Celtics missed in the first half of Game 5. Boston was just 16-for-41 overall, and a dreadful 5-for-9 at the charity stripe.
The Celtics trailed by 12 at halftime, 51-39, but quickly erased that deficit with a hot start to the third quarter. After missing their first 12 from downtown, the Celtics went on to hit eight straight threes, including their first five of the second half.
A Horford three at the 6:28 mark in the third quarter put Boston ahead 58-55 — the Celtics’ first lead of Game 5.