The NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and Boston Celtics have been a back-and-forth affair. Both teams are settling in on their rotations and how they want to play one another. With the series tied 2-2, the margins are fine for both of these two teams. Stephen Curry has done everything the Warriors have asked of him, but it’s the supporting cast who needs to step up. On the flip side, the Celtics have been getting help from everyone as they wait for Jayson Tatum to have ‘that moment’ in the Finals. Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, and even Al Horford and Derrick White have taken on bigger roles as the Warriors have made it difficult for Tatum to find his shot. The Warriors, who reclaimed home-court advantage, have only lost one home game this postseason, and it was to the Celtics in game 1. So what does each team need to do to reach the promised land in this now best of 3 series? Let’s take a look:
Game 5: Boston Celtics @ Golden State – Mon. June 13, 9pm ET on ABC
Game 6: Golden State @ Boston Celtics – Thurs. June 16, 9pm ET on ABC
Game 7 If Necessary: Boston Celtics @ Golden State – Sun. June 19, 8pm ET on ABC
What the Boston Celtics Need To Do To Win:
Celtics fans feel like they should be up 3-1 and you can’t really blame them. Yes, Stephen Curry has been next level in this series, but the Celtics have played good enough defense to win it all (Golden State has yet to eclipse their season scoring average of 111 in this series). The C’s problems lie on the offensive end of the court, where turnovers and moments of inconsistency have been their downfall. Jayson Tatum hasn’t brought the star power that Stephen Curry has on the other side. In game 4, Tatum was 8-for-23 from the field, including 4-for-15 on 2-point shots. Don’t forget about his game-high six turnovers, either. The Celtics are a deeper and, frankly, more talented team holistically than the Warriors. It seems that heads coach Ime Udoka is ok with Curry ‘getting his’ and limiting the output of other Warriors. The Celtics must continue their defense while the supporting cast must continue to be there for Tatum. But this is an inflection point for Jayson Tatum. If he steps up and has his ‘moment’, the Celtics will be too much for the Warriors and Steph Curry to overcome.
What the Golden State Warriors Need To Do To Win:
ESPN’s NBA Expert Zach Lowe said it best in a recap of this series: “The level of play in this series is sky high — the flexibility and smarts of these two defenses, and the creativity they require of opposing offenses.” We’ve talked a lot about the Celtics defense, but the Warriors’ defense is severely underrated because of the fireworks they bring on the offensive end. They’ve kept Jayson Tatum in check and have gotten what they’ve needed from Steph Curry in critical moments. Klay Thompson came alive and Andrew Wiggins had some big moments in Game 4, but the Warriors offense hasn’t been up to their standards.
What better remedy than returning home? As Zach Lowe said, the series is going to come down to offensive execution and creativity. Yes, Boston is 7-0 after losses and 8-3 on the road in the playoffs, but the Warriors are the best offensive team of this generation, with two of the greatest shooters ever. Klay Thompson will be key for the Warriors in the remaining games of this series. If he gets it going and the Dubs continue forcing turnovers and ride Steph Curry’s MVP-worthy performance, they’ll lift their 4th trophy in the last eight years.