Let’s see how strong each team is in different aspects of the game
The Warriors will be slight favorites to win their fourth NBA championship in the last eight years when the NBA Finals begin on Thursday night. The Celtics, on the other hand, have a better than even chance of winning their record-tying 18th championship.
What will either team have to do in order to win? Let’s do a post break down of the matchups that will determine the type of series this will be:
Celtics 3 Point Shooting and Warriors Defense (Celtics have the Edge)
The only defenses that can slow down Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and the rest of the team are those who don’t have any weak spots to exploit. That’s how the Celtics are described. This season, Boston had the best 3-point defense (33.9 percent), and it has improved even more in the playoffs (31.7). Boston outscored their rivals by 11.0 points for each game in the playoffs, which is the second-best in the league.
Rebounds (Celtics have the Edge)
The Celtics may not be able to force the Warriors to go big on the glass, but they can win the offensive rebounding game, especially when Kevon Looney isn’t on the court. They can punish Golden State in a way that Dallas couldn’t with Al Horford, Robert Williams III, Grant Williams, and Daniel Theis.
Getting Fouls and Free Throws (Warriors have the Edge)
Curry has complete control over when he gets to the line. Even if Boston tries to target him on the other end, it’ll be difficult with Gary Payton II available. Against Golden State, Boston drew 31.3 free-throw attempts per 100 shots, the second-highest rate of any opponent. Jayson Tatum’s rate was his second-best against any team (18 free-throw attempts, 35 shots). Thompson, on the other hand, was unable to attend the first meeting, while Andrew Wiggins was unable to attend the second. Tatum now has to deal with both of them.
Warriors Paint Points Ability Vs Celtics Defense (Celtics Have the Edge)
So far in the playoffs, Golden State has shot 72.5 percent in the restricted area, which is third best in the NBA. But doing so against a Celtics club that has restricted opponents to 98.5 points per 100 possessions with Williams on the court would be difficult.
Celtics Paint Points Ability vs. Warriors’ defense (Warriors Have the Edge)
According to Synergy Sports analytics, Draymond Green has allowed just 0.48 points per possession on isolations, which ranks him first among all players who have defended at least 20 isolations. While Boston will be looking for looks against Jordan Poole, opponents have only shot 38.3% against Green.
In Transition (Warriors Edge)
Both sides have the capacity to be sloppy with the ball. The Celtics can force turnovers, but they had too many empty possessions in the conference finals against the Heat. Nobody in the series had more than 12 turnovers, including Tatum, who had 33 and Jaylen Brown, who had 23.
Squad Depth (Even)
At Golden State, Boston can play nine deep and run a lot of big bodies. If the Celtics can’t force the Warriors to go large against their will, Golden State has more wing depth if Jonathan Kuminga, Otto Porter Jr., and Gary Payton can come off the bench.
Ime Udoka has been a first-year sensation, but Steve Kerr is in his sixth NBA Finals, and experience counts in what could be fourth-quarter nail-biters.