2022 NBA Finals Series Update

The basketball world was greatly anticipating this Warriors vs. Celtics Finals matchup, and so far the series has completely delivered. Boston took care of business in Game 1, stealing a necessary game on the road. Golden State responded accordingly with an emphatic Game 2 victory. What do the first two games tell us about what to expect from Game 3 on Wednesday? Here is your NBA Finals update ahead of Game 3.

Game 1

The key takeaways from Game 1 were that the Celtics are extremely tough mentally, and if you leave their guys open they can make shots. The Celtics weathered a shooting barrage from Stephen Curry in the first quarter in which he set an NBA Finals record for three-point shots made in a single quarter with six made 3s.

Steph doing this is 6 times in a quarter is enough to break the spirit of most teams.

Despite that, Boston found themselves down by only 4 at the end of the first quarter. They held the Warriors to only 22 points in the second quarter and entered halftime with a two-point lead.

Even the great Celtics defense couldn’t stop a vintage Golden State 3rd quarter in which they outscored Boston by 14 points. Boston showed that mental toughness again by keeping level heads. They were rewarded with a very impressive 4th quarter in which they hit nine three-point shots and outscored the Warriors by 24 points. Even though it was a quiet shooting night for Jayson Tatum, the Celtics’ run in the 4th was sparked by a couple of great plays from Jaylen Brown.

These two plays from Jaylen Brown came at a pivotal moment in Game 1 and completely swung the momentum towards the Boston Celtics.

Game 2

Game 2 showed us that the Golden State Warriors are exactly who we thought they were. They came out with the fire you would expect from former champions. They set the tone early and came away with a resounding victory.

This was a vintage Draymond Green game. His line for the night – 9 PTS, 7 AST, 5 REB, 1 STL, 1 BLK. He set the tone physically and emotionally for the Warriors as well. He picked up a technical foul after getting chippy with Grant Williams early. Some argue that he should have picked up a second after some extracurricular activity with Jaylen Brown later in the game.

The Warriors’ attitude was completely different in Game 2. In the first game, we got Steph Curry high-fiving and smiling after his brilliant first quarter, in this game it was all business. Fun and games Steph was not in the building – he was clinical and he delivered two fantastic shots in the 3rd quarter that were the death blow to the Celtics’ comeback chances in the game.

When Steph is hitting shots like this 30 footer you can probably just start warming up the bus.

Gary Payton II made his return from injury in this game as well, and he proved his value to this team yet again. Three of the top five plus/minus lineups for the Warriors in this game included Payton II according to PBP Stats.

Game 3 Prediction

Game 3 of this series will take place on Wednesday, June 8th in Boston. The Celtics have not lost two games in a row yet in this year’s playoffs. My prediction is that this streak will not be broken on Wednesday night. Boston’s role players have all played better in front of their home crowd, I expect the juice from the fans in the TD Garden will propel the Celtics to a Game 3 win. However, the Warriors have won 35 road playoff games since 2015 with this core of players (StatMuse), so history tells us not to be shocked if they head into Boston and steal Game 3 on the road.

Three Keys for the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals

Tonight, the Golden State Warriors kick off their NBA Finals battle against the Boston Celtics. The series is sure to be a battle for both teams. So let’s take a look at three keys the Warriors must keep in mind if they want to win this series.

1. Limit the turnovers.

Almost every Warriors fan has been talking about this throughout the postseason. Golden State has the second-most turnovers per game in the NBA and the most out of any playoff team. The playoffs haven’t changed anything, as the Warriors still struggle with maintaining possession of the ball.

When facing a defensive-minded team like the Celtics, turnovers can haunt a team. Especially in the finals, easy points for the opposition cannot happen. The Warriors must fix this problem if they want to take down the Celtics.

2. Put their foot on the gas as soon as the game starts.

It’s been well known for a while that the Warriors have played their best basketball in the second half. They’ve received the nickname the “3rd Quarter Warriors” due to their dominant stretches throughout the third quarter since the beginning of the dynasty.

As fun as it is to see Golden State thrive in the second half, they need to do the same thing in the first. In the first quarter, the Warriors rank 17th in points per quarter amongst NBA teams. The only quarter that they consistently fall short, is the first. Boston’s defense is prepared to bite at every missed opportunity in the first, which will probably lead to easy points for the Celtics. If the Warriors get too far behind in the first half, a comeback may be hard to come by.

3. Know where Marcus Smart is at all times.

This one may confuse people, as players like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are more valuable to the Celtics. However, Marcus Smart is the best defender and most versatile player on the court. The defensive player of the year can make plays, score buckets, and lock up almost any player in the NBA.

The Celtics’ game plan could have Marcus Smart in many different roles throughout the finals: a shot creator, a playmaker, a facilitator, or all of those. Golden State must know how valuable he is to Boston, and make sure he’s not causing trouble and confusion on the court. If he does, not only will he start making plays, but his teammates will capitalize on his efforts and score at will.

The Warriors have an uphill battle in the finals. If they can capitalize on these three keys, they may be able to bring home their fourth championship in seven years.

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.