The Warriors, playing in their sixth Finals in eight seasons, looked on course to win Thursday’s Game 1, but a huge fourth quarter comeback saw the Celtics take an early lead in the best-of-seven series with a 120-108 victory.
“It’s first to four, not first to one,” Warriors’ Klay Thompson said after the game.
“And we all have been through situations like this. There’s no reason to panic. I like our chances still, and we’ll go home and we’ll digest what happened. I know we’ll be better Game 2.”
Boston now has a chance to take a commanding lead in the series during Sunday’s game, which gets underway at 8 p.m. ET at Chase Center. After that, the teams contest back-to-back games in Boston.
The surprise win in Game 1, the Celtics’ first NBA Finals appearance since 2010, included a 17-0 run in the fourth quarter — the second-largest scoring run in the final quarter of a Finals game over the last 50 seasons, according to ESPN.
Al Horford led the scoring for the Celtics with 26 points, while Jaylen Brown added 24.
“It wasn’t our best game, but we continued to fight and find different ways to get this win,” said Horford, who had played in 141 playoff games before making his Finals debut on Thursday.
For the Warriors, the positive news is that they have not yet lost consecutive games this postseason in their quest to win a fourth championship with head coach Steve Kerr.
“It’s a seven-game series for a reason,” Kerr told reporters postgame on Thursday. “You give Boston credit, they came in there and earned the win, played a great fourth quarter.
“We’ll come in and watch the film … and see where we can get better. It’s one game, you move onto the next one … We’ve been in this position before and we’ve won series where we’ve lost the first game.”
In the US, the Finals are available to watch on ABC or ESPN3. Alternatively, in the US and around the world you can watch the games live on NBA League Pass.