Sharp-eyed Warriors guard Gary Payton II thought the TD Garden rim was too high. He was right.


“It’s a good thing the game starts at midnight,” he quipped, referring to the 9 pm start. “We’ll have plenty of time to fix it.”

Kerr went on to add that such a mishap is not especially uncommon during a season.

It happens every once in a while,” he said. “Players have a really sharp eye for that. Players can tell. I imagine somebody went out there, looked at it, didn’t look right. So as long as they take care of it, then everything is good.”

Plenty of history

In Game 4 of the 1984 Finals, Lakers forward Kurt Rambis broke free on a fast break and was clotheslined and taken to the ground by Celtics forward Kevin McHale.

Rambis sprung up to challenge McHale before he stumbled again, and the teams were separated before things escalated further. And in one of the last rows in the upper reaches of the Forum, an 18-year-old Kerr watched it all unfold.

“There’s a mystique that exists with the Celtics, for sure,” Kerr said. “Incredible franchise, incredible history. And for me, just having grown up watching those games and being a fan, it’s pretty cool to be coaching in the Finals against them.”

Steve Kerr and the Warriors welcome the unique opportunity to meet the Celtics in the NBA Finals.Steven Senne/Associated Press

This is Golden State’s sixth Finals appearance with its current core, but the other franchises it faced during this run did not quite have the same mystique. Yes, the Cavaliers—Golden State’s four-time opponent—had LeBron Jamesbut until they defeated the Warriors in 2016, they did not have any championships.

Then in 2019 the Warriors faced the Raptors, who were making their first Finals appearance.

So Game 3 of these NBA Finals, played beneath the Celtics’ 17 championship banners, promised to bring some added juice to a Golden State team that has mostly been the one creating it over the last eight years.

“It’s special,” Warriors star Stephen Curry said. “Historic team, dynasties from the ’80s, how many championships they won over the course of the years, all the different highlights you watch. [They] just have a different, iconic look when you see it on TV.

“Just watching larry [Bird] do what he did in his entire career, looking at the Boston-LA series, [Kevin Garnett], Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, [Rajon] Rondo, getting the championship here. KG’s hilarious postgame, ‘Anything is possible.’ There’s a lot of history in this city, in this building. Should be an amazing atmosphere out there on the court.”

Kerr played in the NBA from 1988-2003 and said some of the fondest memories came in the old Boston Garden at the start of his career. He recalled one game there against the Celtics when some injuries gave him a rare chance to start.

“I remember going out to half court [before tipoff] and bumping fists,” Kerr said. “Larry Bird actually said, ‘Good luck, Steve.’ I was like, ‘You, too, Larry.’ I was like, ‘What is happening right now?’ It was surreal.”

no big deal

The Celtics have mostly been able to maintain their routines throughout the playoffs, but the Finals are a different story.

In addition to the unusually long flights, the situation in Boston is disrupted a bit, too. Rather than practicing at the Auerbach Center, for example, the Celtics have been required to hold the sessions at TD Garden because of media responsibilities there. coach goal Ime Udoka mostly shrugged when he was asked about the changes.

“For me, it’s nothing,” he said. “I don’t think it affects the guys much at all. We do stuff at the practice facility still. But guys know what it is, big stage, and that’s probably one of the things lower on the totem pole. Guys haven’t said one thing about it.”

Turning the page

Entering Wednesday night, the Celtics had not lost consecutive games this postseason. Udoka said his team has a knack for pushing frustrating performances aside quickly. “And kind of attacked the areas that we did poorly and tried to improve on those,” he said. “We’ve had some success on the road, but for us it’s just a resilient group that kind of doesn’t care about the last game, put it behind us and move on to the next.” … Pierce attended Wednesday’s game. Warriors forward Andre Iguodala was active after missing Game 2 because of knee soreness.


Adam Himmelsbach can be reached at adam.himmelsbach@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @adamhimmelsbach.



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