The daily preview takes it to the rim with NBA tips for Game 4 of the 2022 NBA Finals between Golden State Warriors and Boston Celtics.
11:00 (AEST), Sat 11th Jun @ TD Garden, Boston
History: Played 372: Celtics 226 V Warriors 146
Last meeting: June 9, 2022: Celtics 116 d Warriors 100 at TD Garden
Final Thoughts: It’s advantage Boston in the NBA Finals, with the Celtics aiming to take an imposing 3-1 series lead over Golden State Warriors at home in Game 4.
All three games so far have been decided by 12 points or more – but there’s been no shortage of drama and remarkable comebacks.
The Celtics took the Warriors on at their own game in the series opener and won, with a stunning three-point shooting display – and a freakish fourth-quarter rally – underpinning a widely unexpected 120-108 result in San Francisco.
Golden State got off to a flyer with Steph Curry racking up 21 first-quarter points. But Boston matched strides with the sharpshooting hosts to lead by two at halftime. The Warriors reclaimed the ascendancy with a 38-point third quarter – but the Celtics produced an incredible 40-16 final term (including a mesmerising 17-0 run) to run out emphatic winners.
The Celtics shot 21-of-41 from three-point range, with top-scoring Al Horford (26 pts, 6-of-8 3PM) the surprise packet, Marcus Smart (18 pts, 4-of-7 3PM) coming up with some big buckets and Derrick White (21 pts, 5-of-8 3PM). Perhaps the most remarkable stat was Boston won with Jayson Tatum scoring only 12 points – though the offensive spearhead did dish up 13 assists. Jaylen Brown (24 pts, 7 reb, 5 ast) was a strong all-round contributor. Curry finished with 34 points and 7-of-14 3PM, while Andrew Wiggins (20 pts) was the only other Warrior to post more than 15 points.
Boston had no answer to another third-quarter surge from Golden State in Game 2. The margin at halftime was again two points before the Warriors exploded with a 35-14 third term and, ultimately, securing a 107-88 victory.
Steph Curry (29 pts, 6 reb, 4 ast, 3 stl) and Jordan Poole (17 pts) both hit five three-pointers. Jayson Tatum (28 pts, 6 reb) was shut down in the second half, adding just seven points. Jaylen Brown (17 pts, 6 reb) and Derrick White (12 pts) were the only other Celtics to score more than six points. Both teams shot an identical 15-of-37 from three-point range.
The Celtics stormed out of the blocks in Game 3 as the series moved to Boston, leading by as many as 18 points. Yet again the Warriors rallied in the third quarter, however, briefly taking the lead. But the Celtics regrouped to lead by four heading into the final term, where they outscored the Warriors 23-11 for a 116-100 victory.
Brown (27 pts, 9 reb, 5 ast), Tatum (26 pts, 6 reb, 9 ast) and Smart (24 pts, 7 reb, 5 ast) fired in unison to become the first trio of teammates to top 20 points and 5 assists in and NBA Finals game since 1984.
Steph Curry (31 pts) and Klay Thompson (25 pts) combined for 11 three-pointers to keep Golden State in the hunt. But the Warriors were outrebounded 47-31, while Curry suffered a footy injury during the fourth quarter. The linchpin is expected to play without restrictions in Game 4 – but it’s more than a mild concern ahead of such a pivotal encounter.
The Celtics boast a 34-17 home record (23-26-2 ATS) for the season and are 6-4 at TD Garden in the playoffs. The Warriors are only 25-24 on the road overall (20-27-2 ATS) and 4-6 in the playoffs.
The Warriors have been caught out by their size disadvantage. But a bigger offensive contribution from Draymond Green and Jordan Poole is also required for the pre-Finals favourites to level up at 2-all. There were some ominous signs from the Celtics’ authoritative Game 3 display, though, and the Tatum-Brown-Smart triumvirate should lead the hosts, who are 3.5-point favourites, to another win.