The 2022 NBA Finals is still tied after four games. Now comes a very crucial portion of the series, with Game 5 about to be played at the home of the Golden State Warriors. Will the Warriors take the series lead for the first time? Or, will the Celtics put themselves a win away from claiming the NBA crown?
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Away: Boston Celtics (2-2/1-1 Away)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Marcus Smart
- SG: Jaylen Brown
- SF: Jayson Tatum
- PF: Grant Williams
- C: Robert Williams
Jayson Tatum has been solid so far in the Finals, but he’s yet to put up an elite performance. In Game 4, he paced the Celtics with 23 points, it took him 23 shots from the field to get there. He also ghosted the Celtics in the fourth quarter where he shot 1/3 for 3 points. But better decision-making should be a bigger priority for the Celtics, who wasted possessions in the final period of Game 4 with ill-advised threes. The Celtics are shooting over 42% from deep in the series, so they will always try to launch those long tries. After all, they drained 10 of 13 uncontested threes in the last game.
But at some point, they will have to adjust to the situation and timing of when they should take those attempts. Boston’s offensive efficiency has fluctuated wildly in the Finals, and the Celtics can live with that as long as they are consistent on defense. That means being more active on the glass in Game 5 after letting Andrew Wiggins snatch misses like he’s the second coming of Dennis Rodman. Stephen Curry is Stephen Curry and the Celtics could only do so much to contain him, but limiting the other Warriors like Wiggins, Klay Thompson, and Jordan Poole are all more attainable goals for Boston. The Celtics are 6-2-1 ATS in their last 9 postseason games as an underdog.
Home: Golden State Warriors (2-2/1-1 Home)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Stephen Curry
- SG: Klay Thompson
- SF: Andrew Wiggins
- PF: Draymond Green
- C: Kevon Looney
By now, you have heard all about Stephen Curry, who erupted for 43 points in Game 4. His ankle is unquestionably fine, apparently, so that’s a very good sign going forward for the Warriors. What’s not being talked about as much is the effectiveness of the Warriors’ defense. Via Clean The Glass, which scrapes off “garbage time and possessions at the end of quarters that are highly likely to end up in a heave,” in games that the Warriors have won in the 2022 NBA Finals, they have limited Boston to just a 92.5 offensive rating.
The Warriors’ offensive rating, meanwhile, has been pretty much the same in wins and losses in the series (115.7 in Ws and 113.9 in Ls). It’s the Warriors’ defense that is arguably making a bigger impact in the matchup than Curry’s hot hands. The Warriors might be undersized a bit up front with Al Horford and Robert Williams starting for the Celtics, but Wiggins is outrebounding everyone in the series. Curry is also averaging as many rebounds as Marcus Smart and Derrick White combined. Going back home with the momentum, the Warriors have set themselves up nicely for another win. Golden State enters Game 5 with a 5-1 ATS record in their last 6 games at Chase Center.
Spread: The Celtics cover the spread (+3.5).
Over/Under: Taking the Over (212.0).