Tonight is game 2 of the NBA finals between the Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors. In game 1, the Boston Celtics surprisingly won, after being down 15 points late in the 3rd quarter. ESPN said that Boston had a 4% chance of winning at this point. And they won the game by 12! In fact, it is one of the greatest comebacks in the history of the NBA Finals. According to ESPN Stats and Info, the Boston Celtics were the only team in NBA Finals history to go down by double digits in 3rd quarter and win the game by double digits! But tonight, still in Golden State, is it a must win game for the Warriors? And even a better question, does it matter?
Something that surprised all of us in game 1 was that the Celtics won with a mediocre scoring performance from Jayson Tatum. The All NBA 1st team participate had 12 points and 13 assists, while shooting just 3-17 from the field and 1-5 from 3. But everyone else stepped up. Horford had 26 with 6, 3 pointers, Brown had 24, Smart had 18 and White had 21 off the bench.
Golden State only had a few good performers in game 1. Stephen Curry had 34 points, 5 assists, 5 rebounds and 3 steals, while making 7 of his 14 3pt attempts. Klay Thompson also stepped up, with a 20 point performance while shooting 3-7 from the 3pt arc. Andrew Wiggins also had 20 points, but shot very inefficient from 3. The Warriors couldn’t generate any offense off the bench or any offensive game in the paint.
But will things will change in game 2? I think Golden State will still try to lock down Jayson Tatum’s scoring ability, that they affectively did in game 1. However, I don’t think Boston’s secondary performers will step up the way they did, especially Al Horford and Derrick White. I also think Marcus Smart’s scoring will decrease, with Gary Payton II making a return to the lineup. His perimeter defense will give Smart and Brown some issues. And when Smart has put up under the 18 points he had last night during the playoffs, the Celtics only have a 4-5 record.
I think the Warriors offense will have a completely different game plan in game 2. The Warriors started off shooting the ball from 3 a lot. And while their 3pt percentage turned out to be about 42%, it was mainly due to only 3 players, which were Curry, Thompson and Porter who are the usual 3pt shooters. I also think they will spread the offense out to many different scorers, including Jordan Poole (who had 9 points and 2-7 3pt shooting in gm.1) and Kevon Looney (who had 4 points and 1-4 shooting in gm.1). This also means I expect Stephen Curry to have less points, but possibly double digit assists in gm.2. Getting the offense going in the paint will also be important for Draymond Green, who only had 4 points on 2-12 shooting in gm.1.
And I also think Golden State will win this game by about 6-9. I think Boston will have to rely much more on Jayson Tatum as a scorer, meaning a possible 30+ point performance from him in gm.2. However, it won’t be good for the overall team.
I also think this is a must win game for Golden State. We have seen that teams can come back from down 2-0 in a playoff series before. But it is more rare. Especially considering Golden State will have to play 2 straight games in Boston in gm.3 and gm.4. And Boston is not a team that loses at home. They had a 68% win percentage at home during the regular season this year. I think Golden State, in a must win game, will take down the Celtics and head Boston with the series even at 1 a piece!
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