The 2022 Boston Celtics were known for their defense this season but that was just one of their strengths in dealing a game one defeat to the Golden State Warriors. They got more tricks under their sleeves. Ironically, they are tricks associated with the Warriors during their previous finals trips.
Strength in numbers
This was the Warriors mantra during their previous championship run when going up against the led Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Warriors boosted of a deeper, more talented line-up to counter the unstoppable force in LeBron James.
The Celtics have taken over this battle cry in this year’s finals.
The Warriors may have the best and most experienced player on the floor in Stephen Curry but the Celtics match up well against him and the rest of the crew.
Except for Curry vs Marcus Smart and Klay Thompson vs Jaylen Brown mathups, whose winners are both debatable, the Celtics have the advantage in all of the other head-to-head matchups: Jayson Tatum vs Andrew Wiggins, Al Horford vs Draymond Green, Robert Williams III vs Kevon Looney.
Then the quadruplet of Derrick White, Grant Williams, Payton Prichard and Daniels Theis still have the advantage on any of the Warriors’ bench. Add to the fact that many of them are injured at moment.
The puzzle they presented the Cavs is now one of the big problems of the Warriors: who will they focus on during a certain game.
These Celtics proved any of them could have a big night and take over a game.
Scoring over the century mark
The Celtics defense has proven it could limit any offense to a certain ceiling. They limited the Brooklyn Nets to just 109 per game, Milwaukee to a lowly 97.7, and Miami to 99.7.
On the average, they are just allowing about 101 points before the finals.
This should be another key point to their winning.
Their defense has to hold the Warriors to around 100 and their offense has to muster at least 100 to have a shot at winning the trophy.
Here’s how the Celtics’ offense fell short and how the opponent’s score ballooned during their losses to the Bucks and Heat: (Bucks: 89-101, 101-103, and 107-110; Heat: 107-118, 103-109, and 103-111).
The century mark is clearly a benchmark for both the Celtics offense and defense.
Rain the three point shots
Believe it or not, the Celtics were equally effective in using the three point shot to power their wins as the Warriors.
Against Brooklyn, the Celtics average 12.25 a game (49 in 4 games), a whooping 18.25 against the Bucks (73 in 4 won games), and 13.75 versus the Heat (55 in 4 games).
Meanwhile Golden State were themselves against Denver, averaging 16 triples a game during their wins (64 in 4 games), 15 a game against Memphis (60 in 4 games), but dropped to 12.25 (49 in 4 games).
The Celtics made nine in the crucial fourth quarter of game one, including their first seven. The Celtics finished the game with 21 triples while the Warriors canned 19.
The Warriors must be looking at themselves when thinking how to defend the three point line in the finals. Except for Robert Williams, the rest of the Celtics clearly could not be left open in three-point territory.
By Armando M. Bolislis