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The Boston Celtics outlasted the Miami Heat in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Sunday night, while the Golden State Warriors took care of the Dallas Mavericks in five games of the Western Conference Finals. Now, the NBA Finals are set, and this matchup brings a wide variety of storylines. It will be Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown’s first NBA Finals appearance, while the Warriors are making their sixth Finals appearance in the past eight seasons. Although Golden State has an advantage in terms of experience, let’s look at who our experts picked to win-it-all.
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2022 NBA Finals series odds: Celtics vs. Warriors
The Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors face off in the NBA Finals, and sportsbooks are expecting a close series. The Celtics are currently +140 to win the series at Caesars Sportsbook, while Golden State is -160 to win their fourth title in eight seasons. If Boston can win their first title since 2008, a $100 wager would return $140 of profit. For bettors backing Golden State, $160 must be risked to profit $100. Let’s see which team our experts are siding with and how you can watch this thrilling matchup.
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2022 NBA Finals: How and when to watch
The NBA Finals are here, and Game 1 is set to tip-off this Thursday, June 2. Other than Game 4, there are two or more off days between each game. All of the games will be televised on ABC, and a full schedule of the series can be seen here:
- June 2, 9:00 pm ET – Game 1: Celtics at Warriors
- June 5, 8:00 pm ET – Game 2: Celtics at Warriors
- June 8, 9:00 pm ET – Game 3: Warriors at Celtics
- June 10, 9:00 pm ET – Game 4: Warriors at Celtics
- June 13, 9:00 pm ET – Game 5: Celtics at Warriors*
- June 16, 9:00 pm ET – Game 6: Warriors at Celtics*
- June 19, 9:00 pm ET – Game 7: Celtics at Warriors*
2022 NBA Finals series preview: Golden State Warriors
The Warriors and Celtics start their series on Thursday, and although the Warriors are a much more experienced team, we predict that the Boston Celtics will win their 18th NBA Championship when the dust settles. Even though both teams have plenty of offensive weapons, this Finals matchup will likely be a defensive display. This season marks the first time since 1996 that the top-two teams in defensive efficiency square off, and we predict that there will be a lot of low-scoring affairs.
From 2014 to 2019, the Warriors making the Finals seemed like a given, but the last three seasons have been tough for Golden State. They had the worst record in the NBA two seasons ago, missed last season’s playoffs and were constantly missing either Klay Thompson, Draymond Green or Stephen Curry. Thompson returned in January after recovering from consecutive ACL and Achilles tendon injuries, and when he returned, Green was injured with a back issue. A game after Green returned, Curry sprained his foot and missed the last month of the regular season.
However, these injuries for the Warriors may have been a blessing in disguise, as they allowed Jordan Poole, Andrew Wiggins, and Kevon Looney to grow as playmakers. If Golden State is to win this series, they will need all three players to contribute offensively as the Defensive Player of the Year, Marcus Smart, will look to limit Curry’s production.
Another story to watch will be the health of Gary Payton II, as he has been out since early in the second round due to a fractured elbow against the Memphis Grizzlies. Payton’s defense is his best quality, and he could cause issues for multiple Boston guards and wings throughout the series. If Payton is not able to come back, the Warriors could struggle at limiting both Tatum and Brown’s scoring abilities.
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2022 NBA Finals series preview: Boston Celtics
The Boston Celtics finally broke through to the NBA Finals by defeating the Miami Heat in Game 7. Boston posted the ninth best offensive rating and the number one overall defensive rating in the regular season, and we expect them to continue their strong defensive presence in the Finals.
Boston was able to sweep the Brooklyn Nets in the first round, before coming back in their second-round series against the Bucks and winning in seven games. Many analysts ridiculed Boston for not tanking towards the end of the season in order to avoid playing both Milwaukee and Brooklyn, but the Celtics were up for the challenge.
Now, it feels like icing on the cake that they get to face off with the Golden State Warriors as they were a top-two team in the Western Conference throughout the entire season. If Boston defeats Golden State, they will have defeated three teams that have been to or won an NBA Championship in the last four years (Bucks, Heat, and Warriors).
The key for Boston will be causing Golden State to turn the ball over, as they average 14.2 turnovers a game in the postseason. Additionally, it cannot be overstated how important the extra rest could be for this Celtics squad. Boston endured back-to-back physical series’ against the Bucks and Heat and have played every other day since May 7. Marcus Smart and Robert Williams III have battled injuries, and Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Al Horford are averaging over 38 minutes a game in the playoffs. The extra rest could pay dividends for this squad, especially for a veteran player like Horford.
2022 NBA Finals series prediction: Celtics (+140)
As these two teams get ready to meet on Thursday, it is challenging to try and pick a side. However, we predict that Boston’s defense will be the difference and that they will win the Championship.
The key will be defense, and Boston is unique because they are the first team that Golden State will face this postseason that is very switch-heavy. The Nuggets, Grizzlies, and Mavericks were in the bottom half of the league in the frequency of switching on-ball screens during the regular season, while the Celtics ranked first. Boston has switched 44% of screens in the playoffs, which will cause issues for the Warriors’ free-flowing offense.
In 2018, the Houston Rockets held Golden State’s offense below 95 points in Games 4 and 5, and we expect Boston to model that defensive strategy. Even though the Warriors are a much more experienced squad when it comes to the NBA Finals, this Celtics squad has been to enough Eastern Conference Finals matchups to make the leap this season. Therefore, we predict that the Celtics will win the 2022 NBA Championship.
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