Draymond Green 'shocked' Celtics pulled starters early in Warriors' rout

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Draymond 'shocked' Celtics pulled starters early in Game 2 originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

The Boston Celtics faced a tall task in beating the Warriors twice at Chase Center. But few expected Game 2 of the 2022 NBA Finals to be noncompetitive after three quarters.

The Warriors outscored the Celtics 35-14 in the third quarter Sunday night, then turned on cruise control to coast to a 107-88 victory that tied the series at one game apiece. Golden State had a 23-point lead entering the fourth quarter and extended its lead to 29 when Celtics coach Ime Udoka called a timeout to pull his starters with 10:45 remaining in regulation.

Warriors forward Draymond Green admitted on his podcast after the game that he was surprised to see Udoka wave the white flag with that much time on the clock.

"Going into the fourth quarter up 23, all it takes is one blow from there," Green said on "The Draymond Green Show." "You throw one punch, and that's kind of it. And that's what happened. We threw a punch and went up 29, and then they pulled the plug.

"I was a little shocked to see them pull the plug so early. I do understand it and respect it. But I just did not expect to come back out of that timeout and (see) them pull the plug."

Green may have been wary after watching the Celtics outscore his Warriors 40-16 in the fourth quarter of Game 1. Had the C's replicated that exact fourth quarter in Game 2, they would have won 104-103.

After watching Golden State go on a 6-0 run to start the fourth in Game 2, however, Udoka apparently had seen enough, taking Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart and Al Horford off the floor for the rest of the game.

Green gave Boston's reserves props for showing some fight in the fourth quarter, as the Celtics actually outscored the Warriors 24-20 in the final 12 minutes with both teams' backups in the game.

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"That is a championship organization and those guys didn't come in and quit," Green said. "They continued to fight and battle, and we had to continue to close the game out."

This game was never in doubt after the third quarter, though, with the Warriors delivering a championship response to swing the momentum as the series shifts to Boston for Games 3 and 4.

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