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Tomase: Warriors' clueless comments prove they don't understand these C's

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Draymond Green

For days leading into the NBA Finals, the Warriors pretended to respect the Celtics.

Coach Steve Kerr waxed about the franchise's mystique. Draymond Green called Jayson Tatum one of "them guys," as in a legitimate superstar and problem. Stephen Curry proclaimed the Celtics were "an amazing test."

But deep down, it's now clear they viewed the Celtics as little more than peasants to be crushed en route to a coronation. They proved it by guffawing on the bench amidst a barrage of early 3-pointers in Thursday's Game 1, and then by relaxing after taking a double-digit lead into the fourth quarter.

Those were their first mistakes, and definitely not their last. When the resilient Celtics erupted for a 40-point final frame to coast to a 120-108 victory, you might've thought the Warriors would get the message.

Celtics-Warriors takeaways: C's steal Game 1 with fourth-quarter explosion

But listening to them talk after the game made one thing abundantly clear: They don't get this Celtics team at all.

"We pretty much dominated the game for the first 41, 42 minutes, so we'll be fine ..." sniffed Draymond Green. "They hit 21 3s and Marcus Smart, Al Horford and Derrick White combined for 15."

In other words, the Celtics got lucky because their secondary scorers made shots.

"Those guys, give them credit, they knocked down every big shot in the fourth quarter," said head coach Steve Kerr. "Boston just played a brilliant quarter, they came in and earned the win."

 

Celtics Talk: Who's the MVP after resilient Celtics produce fourth quarter rally to stun Warriors in Game 1? | Listen & Subscribe | Watch on YouTube

Translation: the Celtics somehow got hot for one aberration of a frame.

"There's a lot of bright spots to how we played," Curry said. "We've got to get over the tough feeling of letting one slip away."

Let's not even countenance the possibility that the Celtics took it. That entire display should be called, "How to prove you know nothing about the Celtics in one press conference, by the Golden State Warriors."

Here's what the Warriors don't understand. These Celtics are survivors like something out of a man vs. nature epic -- they're Tom Hanks in "Cast Away" or Leonardo DiCaprio in "The Revenant." They refuse to be put down, no matter how dire the circumstances.

That's how they outlasted one of the most punishing paths to the Finals you'll ever see, starting with the star-studded Nets, continuing through the defending champion Bucks and the otherworldly Giannis Antetokounmpo, and finishing with the tough-as-nails Miami Heat.

If you've paid even a little bit of attention, you'd understand there isn't a haymaker they can't take. They trailed Game 1 to Kevin Durant and the Nets at home with five seconds left and won at the buzzer. They choked away a huge Game 5 lead against the Bucks and then took the last two games anyway. They went into Miami for Game 7 and led wire-to-wire.

For the Warriors to act surprised that Horford, White, and Smart nailed dagger threes during the comeback betrays a complete and utter lack of understanding of what the Celtics do.

For the Warriors to act surprised that Horford, White, and Smart nailed dagger threes during the comeback betrays a complete and utter lack of understanding of what the Celtics do.

Curry seems mystified by Game 1 performances of Horford, White

Maybe they missed the Al Horford Game vs. the Bucks to keep the season alive. Or Grant Williams bombing seven threes in the clincher. Or Payton Pritchard dropping 10 points in 12 minutes vs. the Nets in Game 3. Or Smart filling the stat sheet in a must-win Game 2 vs. Miami. Or White doing the same thing two games later with Smart sidelined.

Yes, the Celtics revolve around Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, and each came up huge in his own way on Thursday, Brown with 24 points and Tatum with a career-high 13 assists. But this massive run since January has been fueled by trust, specifically the trust that Tatum and Brown have developed in their own teammates. Perhaps the Warriors missed it because they were focused on the Suns and Mavericks and upstart Grizzlies out West.

Golden State can act shocked that Boston made 21 3-pointers, but the C's have hit at least 20 deep balls four times already this postseason, all since the first round. They beat the Nets without making more than 14 in a game. They beat the Heat by 20 points in Game 4 while making only eight.

 

For the Warriors to think that all they have to do is wait for the Celtics to go cold from deep and everything will be OK is contemptuously wrong.

Boston scored 120 points with Tatum only making three shots. The C's watched the transcendent Curry go off for 21 points and six threes in the first quarter and still only trailed by four. They survived an abysmal third quarter and then put the clamps on Curry and everyone else in the fourth, the league's No. 1 defense squeezing the life out of Golden State like a python.

In short, they did what they've done all year. For the Warriors to make it sound like a one-off means they haven't really been paying attention at all.

They so obviously know nothing about the Boston Celtics. But they're about to learn.