100 points is the barometer for both the Boston Celtics and the Golden State Warriors in their battle for the NBA championship.
The protagonists of the 2022 NBA Finals are holding their end of the bargain so far.
This is manifested on how many points the Warriors scored each game. For the record, the Warriors scored 315 in the first three games, an average of 105 per game.
This is probably what both teams expected based on their performances during the year.
Celtics defense held Bucks, Heat to under 100; low 90s during wins
The Boston Celtics were known for their defense this season. It was what made their mediocre start turn into what is at moment a 2-1 NBA Finals lead after three games.
True to form they are limiting their opponents in the playoff to about 100 per game when they win.
The first round Brooklyn series was some outlier because of the two great scorers of the Nets. They surrendered 109 a game to the Nets but got the job done, putting them away in one of the closest sweeps ever in the NBA playoffs.
They held Milwaukee to just 97.7 a game in the semifinal series. They were even better during wins, limiting the Bucks to just 92.75 a game.
The same thing happened in the Eastern Finals series against Miami, The Celtics held them to 99.7 a game overall but the average drops to 90 a game in wins.
Given what happened during the first round and the prolific scoring trio of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Jordan Poole that the Warriors flaunt, the Celtics should be okay with the 105 they give up a game. That should be a manageable number for them.
Warriors offense scored over 110 against Nuggets, Grizzlies, Mavericks
The Warriors mark have been always to outscore their opponents. This was exactly what happened in their first three playoff series.
They averaged a whooping 118 points a game against the Denver Nuggets overall, although they had to close out the first round series with a 102-98 win in Game 5.
They dropped 111 a game against the Memphis Grizzlies in the semifinals. They raise it to 117.50 during wins.
They flooded the Mavericks with 115.2 a game. The average slightly went up to 116.75 during wins.
While their current 105 against Boston seems to be way low compared to these numbers, scoring over the century mark against the elite Celtics defense should be a manageable number for them.
Boston’s offense vs Golden State’s defense is the real battle
Given that both teams are imposing their specialization upon the other, the battle now shifts to what they don’t normally do.
Can the Warriors’ defense limit the Celtics below a 100 or the Celtics’ offense score above 100?
The Celtics showed they struggle to score points in their losses. They averaged 99 in three defeats against the Bucks and 104.3 in three defeats against the Heat.
Here’s how the Celtics’ offense fell short against the Bucks and Heat: (Bucks: 89-101, 101-103, and 107-110; Heat: 107-118, 103-109, and 103-111).
On the other hand, the Warriors allowed too many baskets in their losses.
They allowed 126 in Game 4 against Denver, 120 a game in two losses against the Grizzlies, and 119 against Dallas in Game 4.
The first three games proved the finals is shaping up towards the 100-point barometer.
The Celtics scored 120 and 116 when they won while the Warriors allowed 88 when they won.
Making their respective margin from 100 larger to their favor is the key to both team’s improving their chances of winning the series.
By Armando Bolislis