The Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors meet on Monday night for Game 6 of the 2022 NBA Finals at Chase Center.
Golden State delivered a strong Game 4 performance at the TD Garden to upset the Celtics on their home floor. The Warriors were down 1-2 in the series after losing Game 3 but Steph Curry scored a spectacular 43 points in Game 4 to allow the Dubs to even the series.
The Celtics looked like they were headed to a 3-1 lead as they had a six-point cushion in the fourth period. But Golden State refused to fold and used their championship experience to rattle the Celtics. Boston took too many three-point shots in the 4th quarter when the Dubs had taken the lead and that was their downfall as they started shooting blanks.
The Celtics had a golden chance to put the Warriors on the ropes when they hosted Game 4 at the TD Garden. Boston had a good start and was not overwhelmed in the third quarter like they were in the previous games of the series. In fact, the Celtics took a six-point lead halfway through the 4th quarter, and then the Warriors took over down the stretch and got the win.
Jayson Tatum had 23 points, 11 rebounds, and six assists but he shot just 8-23 from the field. Jaylen Brown added 19 but was also just 9-19 from the floor while Marcus Smart added 18 on 7-18 shooting. Boston shot only 40% from the floor and was outrebounded 55-42.
Golden State rose to the occasion by preventing what would have been a disastrous 3-1 deficit had they lost Game 4. The Dubs outscored the Celtics by 15 points in the second half, including 9 in the final period as they evened the series at 2-games apiece with the series heading back to Oakland on Monday night.
Steph Curry erupted for 43 points on 14-26 shooting including 7-14 from behind the three-point area. Klay Thompson struggled with his shot but still finished with 18 points while Andrew Wiggins had a big game with 17 points and 16 rebounds. Jordan Poole added 14 off the bench as Golden State made six more field goals than Boston in Game 4. The Dubs also had the 38-32 edge in points in the paint despite the size difference between the teams.
The Celtics are 8-3 SU in their last 11 games played against the Warriors. Boston is also 3-1 in their last four meetings in Golden State.
The Celtics kept Game 4 close by surviving the dreaded 3rd quarter storm of Golden State. Boston had a six-point lead halfway through the final quarter and for a while, it looked like they were ready to put the Warriors on the ropes. However, Golden State got 43 points from Steph Curry, 9 in the final quarter, and they stunned the Celtics at home while facing their largest spread deficit since Game 6 of the 2019 Western Conference Finals.
Boston however may not be unfazed. They have been down in a series before and they picked up a big Game 5 win against the Miami Heat in the East Finals. The Celtics also produced a massive Game 6 win against Milwaukee while trailing 2-3 in the series. Sure, they don’t have Golden State’s championship experience. But they’ve proved they can win on the road, against anybody.
The thing for Boston however is consistency. They have not been able to play a pair of excellent games except perhaps Games 6 and 7 against the Bucks. But coming off a poor outing in Game 4, I expect Tatum and the Celtics to bounce back strong as they’ve always done before.
The Celtics however, have not found a way to stop Steph Curry in the series. Curry is averaging close to 35 points per game on 50% FG shooting and 40% 3P shooting. He has been the best player in the series and unless Boston puts the clamps on him, beating the Warriors will be a very tough job, especially in San Francisco where they have almost looked invincible.
Prediction: Golden State Warriors
Boston is 6-2-1 ATS in their last nine games played against Golden State. The Celtics are also 9-2 ATS in their last 11 meetings in Golden State.
The Celtics are:
The Warriors are:
Both teams have alternated wins in the first four games of the series with each team bouncing back from each loss with a victory and an ATS win.
The Celtics have not lost back-to-back games in the playoffs and are 7-0 SU and ATS after a loss in the playoffs. However, the Warriors are 5-1 ATS in their last six home games and 7-3 ATS in their last 10 overall. They went 40-11 straight up at home overall this season.
I expect both teams to give it their all in what is perhaps the most important game in the series. The Game 5 winner of a best of seven series that is tied at 2-2 has gone on to win in over 80% of the previous instances. Golden State has the momentum after their big Game 4 win. It’s now or never for Boston and the pressure could be creeping up right now.
I think this is where championship experience matters. Golden State has been here and done that. Boston is in unchartered waters. Although they have won big games against the Bucks and Heat, they are playing a three-time champion core with the best player in the series in Steph Curry.
Prediction: Warriors -3.5
The total has gone under in 18 out of the last 24 head-to-head meetings between these two teams. The under is also 8-1 in their last nine meetings in Golden State.
Boston Celtics over/under trends:
Golden State Warriors over/under trends:
These teams have combined to score an average of 213.8 points per game in their last 10 head-to-head meetings and 205.0 points per game in their last three games played. They have gone under the total in two out of the last three games of this championship series, including 204 points in Game 4.
The total has alternated between the over and under in the first four games of the series and has flip-flopped like the ATS winner as both teams have taken turns in waxing hot. There’s no question that there is plenty of firepower on both sides, especially with how each team can get on fire easily from a three-point distance. However, two of the last three games have been low-scoring and have displayed the elite defenses that these two teams possess.
Both Golden State and Boston know that if they let the other team go hot, it may be difficult to keep up, much more stop the opposition. Because of that, each needs to turn to their defense to slow down the opponent and let the offense follow. The 2022 NBA Finals are down to a best-of-three series right now. And it’s shaping up to be a defensive series in the last three games.
Prediction: Under 212.5
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