BOSTON – Bodies were scattered across the parquet floor, diving after a loose ball late in Game 3 of the NBA Finals.
Stephen Curry emerged from the pile limping.
Draymond Green came out of it with his sixth foul.
The Warriors’ last chance at a comeback victory ended with 3½ minutes left on Wednesday night during a scramble that, like the game, went Boston's way. Marcus Smart grabbed the ball, and the Celtics held on to beat Golden State 116-100 and take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
One game after the Warriors manhandled Boston to tie the championship series 1-1, the Celtics pushed back — coming away with a 47-31 edge in rebounds and a 52-26 advantage on points in the paint, and leaving Golden State's leading scorer with a sore leg.
Curry said the injury was similar — “but not as bad” — as the one he sustained when Smart rolled on his ankle during a regular-season meeting in San Francisco in March. Warriors coach Steve Kerr criticized that play as “dangerous.”
But the two-time NBA MVP said it was not bad enough to keep him from Game 4 on Friday night.
“I’ll see how it responds. I don’t feel like I’ll miss a game, though," Curry said. "Take advantage of these next 48 hours to get ready.”
Golden State trailed by as many as 18 points in the first half, but it was a 12-point Boston lead with about four minutes left when Jayson Tatum missed a jumper from the foul line. The rebound was batted around and three Celtics and as many Warriors went to the floor trying to secure the basketball.
During the scramble, Celtics center Al Horford landed on Curry's leg. Green said he heard his teammate scream in pain, and that's why he pulled Smart away — defending Curry, but picking up his sixth foul.
“I saw him getting dove on and that was about that. So I picked up my foul pushing off him because he’s screaming at the bottom of the pile,” Green said. “ I’ll take the foul. I’m going to get him off his legs, though.”
Curry remained on the floor while Green chewed out the referee.
“He said I dove on somebody. Stephen got his legs dove on. I just asked, ‘Is that not the same thing?’” Green said. “He told me it wasn’t the same thing.”
Curry remained in the game but, after the teams traded baskets to leave Boston ahead by 14 points, Kerr emptied his bench. Curry finished with a game-high 31 points.
“The injury didn’t force him out of the game, but I took him out down 14 with two minutes left because we weren’t going to catch up,” Kerr said, adding that he didn’t have any more information to share about the injury. “We will know more" Thursday.
Green was credited with setting the tone in Golden State's Game 2 victory with nine points, seven assists, five rebounds and a technical foul — and very nearly another. But he finished with just two points and four rebounds on Wednesday.
“I was soft,” Green said, also using expletive to describe his play with his 5-year-old son sitting next to him at the postgame podium.
“When you allow a team to get comfortable, especially in their home -- in front the home crowd, then it’s tough,” Green said. “We’ll be better. I’ll be better. Come out, win Game 4. Go back 2-2.”
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