The Boston Celtics begin their quest for championship #18 Thursday night in San Francisco, as they’re back in the NBA Finals for the first time since 2010. For the Warriors, they’ll be looking to build on a dynasty of their own, as they go for their fourth NBA title in the past eight seasons.
Who will get things started on the right foot Thursday in San Francisco? Let’s take a closer look.
- Celtics +3.5 (-110), +140
- Warriors -3.5 (-110), -160
- O/U 211.5 (Over -110, Under -110)
Shooting 39.5% from 3-point this postseason, the Celtics will need Jayson Tatum to continue to channel Kobe if they want a shot in this game and series at large. So far this postseason, they’ve relied heavily on their defensive effort, holding teams to just 43.4% from the field while grinding out series after series.
Led by Tatum and his 27.1 points per game, the Celtics have also relied on guard Jaylen Brown who has contributed 22.9 points per game. Reigning Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart, however, has improved invaluable in becoming the team’s go-to player when needing a stop this season.
Golden State Warriors
The Splash Brothers are back like they never left this postseason, as Steph Curry and Klay Thompson are averaging a combined 45.7 points per game; nearly half of the team’s offensive production. The Warriors have also gotten a major boost from second-year player Jordan Poole, who enters the Finals averaging 18.4 points per game to rank only behind Curry and Thompson in terms of production for the Warriors.
One area the Warriors do need to improve on is turnovers, where they’ve averaged the second most this season with 21 per game. Even still, the Warriors made relative light work of the rest of the Western Conference this postseason, beating the Nuggets and Mavericks in five games and needing six for a feisty Grizzlies team.
Prediction and Best Bet
While I do think the Celtics can snag a game or maybe even two in Boston, I see the Warriors as having too much firepower for a Celtics team largely lost once you get past its starting lineup. Though their defensive effort against Miami was impressive keeping them to less than 100 points per game through the seven-game series, the Heat are as banged up as any team in the league including the Sixth Man of the Year and offensive specialist Tyler Herro.
With the Warriors largely as healthy as they’ve been all season, I think they’re too much out of the gates. Add in the fact they’ve beaten all teams this postseason in Game 1s by an average of 14 points per game, and I expect a rout at the Chase Center on Thursday.
Pick: Warriors -3.5
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