2022 NBA Finals: Golden State Warriors vs Boston Celtics
Tale of the Tape:
|53-29||Regular Season Record||51-31|
|111.0 (15th)||Points Per Game||111.8 (12th)|
|105.5 (3rd)||Points Allowed Per Game||104.5 (1st)|
|14th||Pace of Play||24th|
|T-14th||Off Efficiency Rating||5th|
|1st||Def Efficiency Rating||2nd|
|114.5 (1st)||Points Per Game||107.1 (8th)|
|109.1 (8th)||Points Allowed Per Game||101.0 (2nd)|
|37.9% (4th)||3PT Shooting %||36.2% (8th)|
|36.5% (11th)||Opponent 3PT Shooting %||31.7% (2nd)|
|14.0 (12th)||Turnovers per game||13.3 (9th)|
Warriors leaders (playoff stats):
- Stephen Curry, PG: 25.9 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 6.2 APG, 1.1 SPG, 38.0% 3PT
- Klay Thompson, SG: 19.8 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 2.4 APG, 39.9% 3PT
- Jordan Poole, SG: 18.4 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 4.5 APG, 39.3% 3PT
Celtics leaders (playoff stats):
- Jayson Tatum, F. – 27.0 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 5.9 APG, 1.2 SPG, 37.5% 3PT
- Jaylen Brown, G. – 22.9 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 3.5 APG, 1.2 SPG, 38.6% 3PT
- Al Horford, F. – 11.9 PPG, 9.6 RPG, 3.5 APG, 1.6 BPG, 50.0% FG
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- Otto Porter Jr., Golden State: Day-to-Day (Hamstring strain)
- Gary Payton II, Golden State: Questionable (Elbow)
- Marcus Smart, Boston: Questionable (Foot)
- When you look at the tale of the tape above, you can immediately notice that these were the two best defenses in the NBA during the regular season. As a result, it should come as no surprise that defensive matchups, strategy, and consistency will play a pivotal role in this series.
- However, Boston has been the better defense in the playoffs and really at the back-end of the season as well. They were the most efficient defense in basketball over the second half of the year and the number one defense in the playoffs as well. Golden State has slipped in the postseason, but facing the Nuggets, Grizzlies, and Mavericks will do that to you since they are more explosive offenses than Boston’s last opponents: the Heat and the Bucks without Khris Middleton.
- On the other hand, the Boston defense will have their hands full with a Golden State team that is the best offense in the playoffs. Jordan Poole’s emergence has been crucial, as has the performance of Andrew Wiggins and the shooting of both Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry (as we all expected). The key for Boston could be the health of Robert Williams III. He is an elite rim protector and would present an obstacle for attacking the basket that the Mavericks simply didn’t have against Golden State. Al Horford has been great and is a savvy defender, but Williams has the agility and athleticism that could really make life difficult for the Warriors if he’s healthy.
- The Celtics will also need to figure out a way to slow down Curry because you know you’re not going to stop him. Marcus Smart might have had enough rest before the 2022 NBA Finals to handle the responsibility. Smart is a physical and relentless defender, but Golden State will run Curry off of screens and move him all over the court, so we’ll see really quickly just how much Smart’s foot can take. If the Celtics need to rely on somebody else to guard Curry, it could be a major issue.
- The Warriors should also get back Gary Payton II, which will be huge for their own defense. He has the ability to frustrate Jayson Tatum, and the Boston small forward has been turning the ball over at a high rate already in the playoffs, so if the Warriors can continue to force him into miscues, it would likely be hard for Boston to overcome.
- These are also the two best offensive rebounding teams in the playoffs, so each team will need to really clamp down on the boards because these are not offenses you want to give second chances to. Whichever team can continue the success on the offensive glass could see a huge boost in this series.
- An essential component for Boston could be the play of Derrick White off of the bench. When he’s on the court, he often finds himself open as teams focus on Boston’s three other wing scorers. However, White has been streaky so far, shooting 28.6% from the field in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals and 37.5% in Game 7, but having a huge Game 6 that saw him score 22 points on 57.1% from beyond the arc. If that version of White shows up, it could propel Boston to a series win.
|Warriors in seven|
|Joe||Warriors in six|
|Aidan||Warriors in five|
|Christian||Celtics in seven|
|Nick||Warriors in six|