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NBA Finals: Celtics' Brown, Tatum, Smart hold off Warriors for 2-1 lead

NBA Finals: Celtics' Brown, Tatum, Smart hold off Warriors for 2-1 lead
Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart (C) scored 24 points in a win over the Golden State Warriors in Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday in Boston. Photo by C.J. Gunther/EPA-EFE

June 9 (UPI) -- Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart combined for 77 points and the Boston Celtics held off a second-half rally by the Golden State Warriors to win Game 3 of the NBA Finals and take a 2-1 lead in the series.

Brown scored a team-high 27, with 17 in the first quarter, to get the Celtics off to a good start in the 116-100 victory Wednesday at TD Garden in Boston.

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Warriors guard Stephen Curry scored a game-high 31 points, with six 3-pointers. He also appeared to sustain a a foot injury in the fourth quarter, but stayed in the game and said he expects to play in Game 4.

The Warriors rallied from an 18-point, first-half deficit and took the lead in the third, but were outscored 58-44 over the final 24 minutes.

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"Earlier in the season we would have given up leads and lost games like this, whereas now -- things happen," Tatum told reporters. "They're a great team. They've got great players. They're going to make shots. They're going to go on runs. But it's all about how you respond.

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"We didn't hold our head down or anything. We called a timeout, regrouped, figured it out and made winning plays. I was definitely proud of the group for that."

"That first two or three minutes kind of set the tone for the rest of the fourth and gave them a little bit of a cushion," Curry said. "We had a hard time responding after that. So between the first three minutes of the fourth and the first 12 minutes of the game, that was pretty much it."

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The Celtics jumped out to a 10-2 run off the tip off and carried a 33-22 lead into the second quarter. They used an 8-2 run midway through the second to push the advantage to 54-36 and led by 10 points at halftime.

The Warriors responded with a 16-3 run in the third to take a one-point advantage. The Celtics took back the lead just 32 seconds later and never trailed again. They carried a 93-89 edge into the fourth.

The Celtics started the fourth with a 9-2 run and outscored the Warriors 12-4 over the final 7:56 to seal the Game 3 win.

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Tatum scored 26 points and logged nine assists and six rebounds. Smart chipped in 24 points. Al Horford and Grant Williams scored 11 and 10 points, respectively, for the Celtics.

Warriors guard Klay Thompson scored 25 points, with five 3-pointers, in the loss. Forward Andrew Wiggins chipped in 18 points.

Jordan Poole scored 10 off the Warriors bench. The Celtics outscored the Warriors 52-26 in the paint and 20-18 off the bench.

Game 4 will tip off at 9 p.m. EDT Friday at TD Garden in Boston. Game 5 will be at 9 p.m. Monday at Chase Center in San Francisco. Game 6, if necessary, will be Thursday in Boston. Game 7 could be Sunday in San Francisco.

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