NBA Finals Game 6
Warriors @ Celtics (-4)
If someone told you that in Game 5, Steph Curry would go 0-for-9 from the 3-point line, and the Warriors would still manage to win the contest, would you believe them? Most likely not, but that is precisely what happened on Monday night.
In a sloppy matchup, the Warriors took advantage of the Celtics’ poor ball handling and won Game 5 to go up 3-2 in the series. Boston had trouble hanging on to the ball as the Celtics committed 18 turnovers en route to a 104-94 loss at the Chase Center. Though the Celtics outrebounded Golden State, they could not capitalize on the Warriors’ 28 personal fouls, shooting only 67.7% from the free-throw line (21-for-31 overall).
It was an off night for both teams from the field. The Warriors shot a dismal 22.5% from the 3 compared to 34.4% for the Celtics. The bench didn’t help the Celtics, as they hit a combined 2-for-11 while Gary Payton and Jordan Poole stepped up for the Warriors, scoring 15 and 14 points, respectively, for Golden State.
Still, despite a wild and inefficient night, the Warriors find themselves with a 3-2 series lead as Game 6 shifts back to Boston. To say this is a must-win for the Celtics is an understatement. Since Boston took a 2-1 lead after Game 3, the Celtics have dropped back-to-back outings and will need to be on their A-game if they wish to extend the series and force a Game 7 in Golden State.
It has been a disappointing series for Celtics’ star Jayson Tatum and an inconsistent one for both Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart. The Big 3 has shown flashes of dominance occasionally, but overall, they have struggled on the court protecting the ball and sinking their shots.
Though Boston has not looked like a championship team the past two games, we are taking the Celtics to win and cover in Game 6. Throw aside any talk that the NBA will make more money if there is a Game 7 and any other conspiracy theories. The fact is that the Celtics play much better at home than on the road. Also, consider that the Celtics were in a similar quandary against the Bucks in Round 2 of the playoffs. In that instance, the Celtics managed to win Game 6 in Milwaukee and Game 7 in Boston to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals, where they also defeated the Heat in 7 games.
Golden State is not the same team on the road as they are at home. In their last 8 games away from the Chase Center, the Warriors are 2-6 ATS and 4-8 Straight Up in their previous 12 games against Boston. The Celtics, meanwhile, are 13-7 Straight Up in their last 20 games at home.
Though the spread currently sits at Boston -4, I don’t think that number is high enough. As we saw in Game 3, the fans at the TD Garden will be loud and deafening come tipoff. Golden State did not respond well in that matchup, as Klay Thompson was quoted after the game chastising Boston fans for being less than classy. The Celtics should feed off their home crowd, and you can expect them to be more aggressive on offense and better at protecting the ball.
When looking at the total, we are leaning Over as well. Steph Curry should have a much better shooting night from the field, as should the Celtics’ bench. Expect a more polished game with a more efficient shot selection.
Call us biased for wanting to see a Game 7, but the Celtics should emerge victorious. There is no doubt the last sight the Celtics want to see is Golden State hoisting the trophy on their homecourt – you know Boston will do anything to prevent that travesty.