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.

2022 NBA Finals Preview

Who will win the Larry O’Brien Trophy in the 2022 NBA Finals?

The 2022 NBA Finals are set, and fans everywhere are waiting with bated breath to see this matchup. The Celtics have just gone through the gauntlet in the Eastern Conference making their way through Kevin Durant and the Nets, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and the Bucks, and Jimmy Butler and the Heat in a grueling 18 games. Most view the road the Warriors took out West as an easier route, but they’ve had a great opportunity to round into top form, sharpening their variety of tools against Luka Doncic, Ja Morant, and Nikola Jokic, the reigning MVP. Let’s dive into what each team brings to the table as the series tips off.

Golden State Warriors

“You don’t wanna see us next year.”

Stephen Curry

Once the 2020-2021 campaign ended, Stephen Curry put the league on notice with this iconic quote. So far this season, he’s delivered. Before the season started, most NBA experts had the Warriors finishing on the play-in game border. However, they proved all of the doubters wrong, earning the third seed in the West and an NBA Finals appearance.

The Warriors head into the Finals with the highest rated offense in the playoffs scoring 117.8 points per 100 possessions according to Cleaning the Glass. Stephen Curry remains one of the biggest game-breakers in the league, regularly bending defenses to his will these playoffs. Although Steph has been having a slower playoff (by his standards) shooting 52% FG/ 38% 3PT/ 82% FT, fellow “Splash Brother” Klay Thompson appears to be back.

The key for the Warriors in this series will be to keep up their varied offensive approach. If they let the Celtics slow them down and turn them into a basic isolation/pick and roll team in the half-court they could be in trouble. They have the lowest percentage of Self-Created Field Goal Attempts in the playoffs this year according to PBP Stats, keeping that number low will be crucial against the Celtics who have multiple elite on-ball defenders.

Boston Celtics

On January 1, 2022, the Boston Celtics were 2 games below .500 with a 17-19 record. The national discussion around the team was centered around breaking up Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown because it seemed like the two players could not co-exist.

Furthermore, the first year of Ime Udoka’s coaching career was not looking great. Once 2022 began, the Celtics went 31-11 and ended the season with the NBA’s second-best efficiency differential at +7.4. For reference, only the Phoenix Suns are ahead of them according to Cleaning the Glass. Few teams have turnarounds like this mid-season, and even fewer of them end up getting to the NBA Finals.

The Celtics get things done on the defensive end, led by Defensive Player of the Year winner Marcus Smart. They have the second-best defense in the playoffs this year according to Cleaning the Glass, only allowing a stifling 106 points per 100 possessions. The only team with a better defensive rating in the playoffs? The Milwaukee Bucks, who got a nice boost due to their first-round matchup with the hobbled Chicago Bulls.

The key for the Celtics is to disharmonize the Warriors’ beautiful offense as much as they can. They have the ideal personnel for the job; the Celtics should be able to switch every screen effectively when they play small with Al Horford at the 5 to counter the Warriors’ current iteration of the “Death Lineup.” The Warriors are no slouches on the defensive side of the ball, so Boston will need to continue looking for transition opportunities to bolster their half-court offense which can become sluggish at times. According to Cleaning the Glass, the Celtics have been one of the best transition teams in the playoffs adding 4.2 points per 100 possessions through transition opportunities.


Boston and Golden State are very closely matched in terms of team composition. There is not a massive talent differential – I believe Jayson Tatum will be the best player by a slim margin. In the comparison between each roster’s offensive efficiency below there is no clear outlier on either team.

In a tightly contested series, the teams match up well and the series should be very fun to watch. I believe the old saying “styles make fights” applies here.

Officially, I’m leaning towards the Warriors winning in 7 games. I think their experience and home-court advantage will make the difference in the end.

Jayson Tatum Is Finals Ready and Going For Gold

The Boston Celtics’ rising star has been a dominant force throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs. Now, Jayson Tatum is headed to the finals after putting the NBA on notice. From sweeping the heavily favored Brooklyn Nets to dethroning the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks, to now engaging in a spectacular battle with Miami Heat superstar, Jimmy Butler.

While many expected Tatum and his team to fail, he has greatly outperformed expectations and now confronts another difficult obstacle. That next obstacle comes in the form of the Golden State Warriors, who will provide nothing but fireworks on Thursday.

There is No Question Tatum Is a Superstar

If there was any doubt about Tatum’s ability to take the next step or whether he is indeed the Celtics’ next big star, those doubts have been dispelled. In a win or go home game 7, he big shot after big shot and stepped up on defense. He had 26 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, one steal, and two blocks in last night’s triumph.

Whenever there has been a challenge in front of him, he’s gladly accepted the task. When it came to the first round of the playoffs, it was expected that Kevin Durant would send Tatum packing early, but spoiler alert, the exact opposite happened. Tatum played outstanding defense on Durant, making it difficult for him to function as well as he often does. Tatum averaged nearly 30 points per game in that series, indicating a strong will to win.

The defending champions, the Milwaukee Bucks, were up next. This was a difficult undertaking since eliminating a team that has just won a championship is not easy. While this series went to seven games, it was in their sixth playoff matchup when Tatum once again put the world on notice. He scored 46 points to force a game 7 with his team trailing 3-2 in the series.

Finally, to cap off his spectacular performance in these playoffs, he was the first to win the Larry Bird MVP award while leading his Celtics to the Eastern Conference title. This award is given to the best player in the Eastern Conference Finals.

More Awards On The Way?

It would be ridiculous to think Tatum is content with the two awards he received last night. He has his sights set on the bigger prize, which is the Larry O’Brien Trophy. The only thing standing in his way is a very tough opposition in the Steph Curry-led Golden State Warriors. NBA fans are already giddy at the prospect of back-and-forth battles between him and Curry.

While the Warriors have the experience, Tatum and the Celtics have exceptionally good defense and youth, which will be the difference in this series. If Jayson Tatum in the finals can replicate these spectacular performances on the greatest stage of his career, expect him to be mentioned among the elite players in this league. Battling the Warriors will not be easy, but Tatum has proven time and time again that he is ready for anything.