Boston Celtics booked their trip back to the NBA Finals since 2010, after eliminating the Miami Heat in seven games last Sunday. But their road to the championship will not be an easy route as they are going to face the dynasty, the Golden State Warriors.
Golden State Warriors have been to the NBA Finals six times out of the last eight years. They’ve won three championships out of those trips and are heavily favored to win another one.
Everybody thought that the dynasty of the Warriors is already over after missing the playoffs for two consecutive seasons. But the Warriors are back at the top of the mountain.
The Splash Brothers Steph Curry and Klay Thompson are expected to lead the team in terms of offensive production. Curry is averaging 26.8 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game. His partner, Thompson posted 19.8 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.4 assists throughout the 2022 playoffs.
Draymond Green still proves to be a valuable asset to the Warriors system. The former Defensive Player of the Year will anchor the team’s overall defense. But the Warriors’ big three is not alone this time around.
2022 NBA all-star starter Andrew Wiggins is also expected to carry the load offensively. He is also expected to be the primary wing defender against the Celtics’ best player, Jayson Tatum. The young and continuously improving Jordan Poole will also make his mark offensively off the bench. We can say that the Golden State Warriors are well-prepared and have probably the deepest bench in this year’s playoffs.
But we cannot take their opponent, the Boston Celtics, lightly.
Composed of young superstars and well-experienced veterans, The Boston Celtics have been dominating the league ever since the all-star break. Their league-best defense matched with their stellar team play and ball movement made them one of the deadliest teams coming into the Playoffs.
Celtics will rely on their superstar forward, Jayson Tatum. Tatum has been cooking teams left and right in the playoffs averaging 27 points, 6.7 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game, which then earned him the first Eastern Conference MVP. Boston will also bank on the services of their all-star Jaylen Brown to help Tatum on the offensive end.
This year’s Defensive Player of the Year, Marcus Smart, will have his hands full in this series. Smart will anchor the Celtics’ defense as well as defend and try to limit the production of Steph Curry. The Veteran Al Horford and the young bruiser Rob Williams will man the paint for Boston.
Talking about match-ups, it is expected that Andrew Wiggins will try to stop and defend Jayson Tatum.
Tatum might face different defenders throughout the Finals. The Warriors have a lot of great wing defenders in that they can throw against Tatum. They have Draymond Green and the expected return of Gary Payton II and defensive veteran Andre Iguodala.
Marcus Smart is expected to annoy and chase around Steph Curry. Although it is not as easy as it sounds, Smart may be the only Celtics player that can guard Curry consistently in a seven-game series.
But the most vital match-up in this year’s finals is going to be between Jaylen Brown and Klay Thompson.
Despite the tremendous defense of both teams, Tatum and Curry will produce at a high level. But the deciding factor will be the production of the second-best player of the respective teams.
Jaylen Brown must contribute consistently and help Tatum penetrate the defense of the Warriors. Without his scoring, the Celtics might have a hard time keeping up with the former champions.
On the other hand, Thompson must play at a high level consistently and be a great wing defender once again. Having gone thru two major injuries, Thompson is finally healthy and should be a threat once again. Otherwise, Wiggins will be forced to play the second option and might decrease his ability to defend Jayson Tatum.
Looking at their personnel, we can say that the Boston Celtics and the Golden State Warriors matched up perfectly against each other. Both teams play tremendous defense and stellar ball movement on the offensive end.
Warriors’ championship experience might overwhelm the Celtics, but Boston is coming as the hottest team in the playoffs, and their guys are hungry to put banner number 18 in the Beantown. All in all, what we can expect is a gritty and great finals series.