What to Watch For in the 2022 NBA Finals

Credit: John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

It’s the best time of the year. Maybe your semester is ending, you’re entering the summer, but most importantly, the NBA Finals are here again. It almost feels refreshing to have competitive matchups in recent years after the monotony of the annual Warriors-Cavs showdown. The Warriors are back in the Finals again, but this time they will play the Boston Celtics. This series looks like a fantastic one. Let’s dive right into it.

The Warriors have had nothing short of a dominant run to get here. Golden State easily knocked off the MVP Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets in five games. The Warriors then dismantled the Grizzlies in six, and the Mavericks in five.

The Celtics had a much harder route, but found their way here nonetheless. Boston routed Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and the Nets in a surprisingly dominant four-game sweep. After that, the Celtics have won consecutive seven-game series’ against the defending champion Bucks, and the #1 seeded Heat.

The Star Players

Stephen Curry remains one of the most impressive players in NBA history, and his playoff run has been no different. Curry has averaged nearly 26 PPG in these playoffs, and his splash brother Klay Thompson has 19.8 PPG. Their much younger splash brother, Jordan Poole has 18.4 PPG himself.

Jayson Tatum has proven his stardom to the world throughout these playoffs. Tatum has 27 points per game in the postseason, and he’s done that against the Heat and Bucks; two of the best defensive teams in the league. Tatum has struggled at moments, but he seems like a young star who is figuring out how to put together a championship run of his own.

Jaylen Brown has been impressive as well, with 22.9 PPG. Brown has been a little more inconsistent during these playoffs, but when he’s been on, he’s absolutely dominant. While not star players, Al Horford and Marcus Smart have been huge different makers during the postseason as well.

Key Matchups

The first, and most important matchup of the series will be between the point guards; Marcus Smart and Stephen Curry. We all know how impressive Steph is, but Smart often does go under-appreciated. He is the heart and soul of the elite Celtics’ defense. Their chances of winning the series as a whole will dramatically decrease if Smart is unable to limit Curry in any capacity.

Another important matchup will be Andrew Wiggins and either Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown. Depending on different lineups during the game, Wiggins will likely be paired with one of these two. Wiggins’ defense has gotten much better over the past season, and he’s an important cog in the Warriors’ stout defense. He’ll be just as important when he’s forced to defend both of the Celtics’ best players.

Finally, the third matchup to watch will be Draymond Green against Robert Williams, Or Jayson Tatum in a small-ball lineup. Both of these teams can play small-ball, so some funky lineups will be a pretty common occurrence during this series. Green has been the heart and soul of the Warriors over the past half-decade, and he brings a ton of intensity on the defensive and rebounding facets of the game. Whether he’s paired up against Williams or Tatum, that will be important to the Warriors’ success in general.

NBA Finals Preview

This is going to be one hell of a series. The Warriors seem like the best team almost every year, and here they find themselves in the Finals once again. The Celtics have taken an extremely tough path to get here, and find themselves on the biggest stage after it all.

Ultimately, don’t be surprised if this series goes the distance. The Warriors are impossibly tough to beat at home, which makes them an automatic favorite. Boston has shown they shouldn’t be counted out, though, and they’ve shown prolonged periods of dominance against some heavy competition throughout these playoffs.

A good prediction for how the NBA Finals will end? Warriors in seven.

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