The NBA Finals return to the West for Game 5, with the Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors meeting at the Chase Center in a crucial match with the series tied at two games a piece. The two heavyweights have gone blow for blow through four games, and it will only get more exciting for fans from here.
Stephen Curry shrugged off injury concerns in Game 4 by scoring 43 points on a 14/26 shooting to lead Golden State to a critical 107-97 victory. In the loss, Jayson Tatum scored 23 points but still struggled to shoot the ball. In Game 5, the Warriors are 3.5-point favorites, with the point total at 211.
Boston Comfortable Playing on the Road
The two teams have alternated victories, with neither team able to maintain momentum after a victory. The Celtics surrendered home court after losing Game 4 at TD Garden and must now win on the road to capture the Larry O’Brien Trophy. A positive omen for the Celtics is that they have been a strong road team in the postseason, going 8-3 on the road this postseason.
Boston’s defense has been their strength down the stretch. They have the best scoring defense in the league, allowing only 104.5 points per game. Opposing offenses are shooting 43.5 percent from the field, including fewer than 34 percent from beyond the arc, making life difficult for them.
After holding the Warriors to only 44% shooting from the field and 35% from long range in Game 4, the Celtics will need to find a way to slow down Steph Curry, who burned them in Game 4.
The Celtics’ biggest problem in Game 4 was rebounding. They weren’t feasting on second-chance shot opportunities the way they were in Game 3, thanks to getting outrebounded by Golden State. Boston must take the ball away from Curry and force someone else to beat them.
Warriors Look to Take Advantage of Home Court
After falling behind 2-1 in the series, the Warriors rallied in Game 4, driven by Stephen Curry’s outstanding effort. Now that they’ve returned home, the stakes are even higher, as a loss would put them in a bad place heading back to Boston for Game 6.
Through the first four games of the NBA finals, the Warriors are averaging 105.5 points per game, somewhat less than their season average of 111.
Despite shooting just 44 percent in Game 4, Golden State was saved by a stronger effort on the surface, outrebounding the Celtics 55-42, including 16 offensive rebounds.
While Boston is the club that receives the most defensive praise, the Warriors have been among the best in the NBA this season, allowing opponents to score only 105.5 points per game, which is the third-lowest in the league.
Opposing shooters average less than 44% from the field, including less than 34% from long range. Keeping Boston’s three-point shooting under control in Game 5 will be critical to maintaining the lead.
Andrew Wiggins, who concluded Game 4 with a much-needed double-double of 17 points and 16 rebounds, has been one of the series’ unsung heroes. Additionally, Golden State was saved by a strong effort on the glass, outrebounding the Celtics 55-42, including 16 offensive rebounds.
Free Betting Pick
Winning one game at the Chase Center is difficult enough. The Celtics will try to win their second game in Golden State, this time against a Warriors squad riding a wave of momentum.
In this series, the Celtics have already won once at the Chase Center, and it’s not out of the question that they may steal another game on the road. However, on the offensive end of the floor, Tatum and Brown must take the lead.
In the Bay Area, the Dubs are a different animal, however. They should have won Game 1 if not for Boston’s bizarre fourth-quarter outburst, and Golden State has a +12.5 margin of victory inside the Chase Center throughout the playoffs. I think Golden State wins big at home.
Betting Pick: Warriors -3.5
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