Celtics vs. Warriors, NBA Finals

Who you got?

  • Celtics in 4

    Votes: 6 1.5%
  • Celtics in 5

    Votes: 18 4.6%
  • Celtics in 6

    Votes: 146 37.2%
  • Celtics in 7

    Votes: 127 32.4%
  • Warriors in 4

    Votes: 1 0.3%
  • Warriors in 5

    Votes: 23 5.9%
  • Warriors in 6

    Votes: 56 14.3%
  • Warriors in 7

    Votes: 15 3.8%

  • Total voters
    392
  • Poll closed .

coremiller

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I don't quite get the "Warriors are small" take. Looney/Green/Wiggins/Thompson/Curry is very similar height wise to the Cs starters, and they certainly play bigger than some of the Heat lineups we saw.
I think it's because they play a significant amount of minutes with only one of Green or Looney on the floor. The Warriors have no other bigs in their normal rotation besides those two.
 

Mystic Merlin

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If he has another meniscus injury, why is he playing? The way they’ve handled him I’d be shocked if they let him play on an injury that could get worse/threaten future seasons or his career.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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I think someone asked a related question but I can't find the post. At any rate, the Cs have 0 games of Finals experience and GSW has 123. According to ESPN, "this is just the third Finals in NBA history in which one team has had 100-plus games of experience while the other team had zero, and the first time since 1997 (Bulls 134, Utah Jazz 0)."
 

Sam Ray Not

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I think it's because they play a significant amount of minutes with only one of Green or Looney on the floor. The Warriors have no other bigs in their normal rotation besides those two.
True, although Otto Porter Jr. is a rugged 6-8/7-2 wingspanned rebounding beast who has become a de facto big in Kerr-ball. Type of player the Heat didn’t have. I think he could be a big factor in this series if he stays healthy.

Might even see minutes here and there for Bjelica, who played really well in the close-out game v Dallas, and is harder to abuse on D if you don’t have a dominant scoring C like Jokic or an explosive lightning bug like Ja, which the Cs do not.

Overall: Dray, Loon, Wiggs, Otto, Kuminga, Bjelica is a decent complement of “bigs,” even if lacking a gigantic dude like Lopez or Adams. They dominated both Memphis and Dallas on the glass, fwiw.
 

Coachster

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This is nothing but luck-balancing. I voted for the Bucks in 7, and just to keep the feeling going voted for the Heat in 7. My vote is causing us to win these game 7's, right?
 

Ed Hillel

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If he has another meniscus injury, why is he playing? The way they’ve handled him I’d be shocked if they let him play on an injury that could get worse/threaten future seasons or his career.
Agreed, I don’t think he does. Seems to me it’s slowly increasing workloads with rest periods in between (like rehab), but this rest period was a Game 6/7 so he suited up. The one game he looked like he might have potentially injured something was Game 4 on the lob, but his Game 5 was ridiculous and he was everywhere, so that doesn’t square.
 

Sam Ray Not

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The Warriors are a strange, underrated team. They were the best team in basketball by defensive rating, and 17th in offensive rating, which is probably surprising to some people. The defense has probably gotten better during the playoffs, thanks to the resurgence of Looney. They do have some weaknesses on that end, especially at the guard positions; with Poole being a guy that Kerr has to be careful with because they kind of need his scoring, but he's a liability on defense and can be exploited in mismatches.

Curry has been very good (both in the regular season and the playoffs) but not his typical supernova self. The Warriors team is balanced; guys like Klay, Poole and Wiggins contribute 15-25 points a game each; and help carry GS to victory. That will be unlike the last few rounds for the Celtics, who have been met by incredible individual play by Butler/Giannis, but been salvaged by nobody else being capable of scoring. The other major difference is that the other teams were very physical on offense, with big wings crushing it in the paint, while the Warriors are more of a finesse scoring team.

The worry for the Celtics is of course health, and guys just wearing down. They need Brown/Tatum to abuse the few weaknesses in Golden State's defense, and then rely on their steady, inflexible team defense to stifle Golden State. The hope for the Celtics is that their physicality and battle-tested rigor will surprise Golden State early in the series and lead to them gaining some footing and stealing home court. Of course, GS's core is still as experienced as it comes in the Finals, so I doubt they will be that shell-shocked.
I think this analysis is perfect, Kliq. Props.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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True, although Otto Porter Jr. is a rugged 6-8/7-2 wingspanned rebounding beast who has become a de facto big in Kerr-ball. Type of player the Heat didn’t have. I think he could be a big factor in this series if he stays healthy.
The Heat ended up playing Bam and PJ Tucker at the 5 as Dedmon couldn't guard, well anyone.

Is Porter really all that different than PJ Tucker?
 

Kliq

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I think this analysis is perfect, Kliq. Props.
The Warriors have had a weird season; they came out hot, then kind of had a meh second half of the season before picking it up again right before the postseason started. They've had an easier path to the Finals, but at the same time they have also cruised over some good-but-not-great teams, which is what you would expect to see from a great team.
 

BaseballJones

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When both teams are functioning at their peak, Golden State is better. Steph, Klay, Poole, and even Draymond…. That’s a lot for an opponent to handle. Plus they’re supremely well coached.

Can Boston make them function at less than their peak? Yes I think so. No other team is as well-equipped to handle what GS brings as Boston. White, Smart, Jaylen, and Tatum match up as well as possible against the Warriors’ top players.

I’m just not sure Boston can be healthy enough to get it done. But no other team in the league is as well matched against GS as Boston.
 

BigSoxFan

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When both teams are functioning at their peak, Golden State is better.
Based on what?

I think both teams at their peak is basically a toss up. The Warriors are deep and very good but so are the Celtics. The problem for the Celtics is that TL isn’t close to healthy and that likely shifts the advantage to GS.
 

HomeRunBaker

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I heard someone say on some podcast I was listening to that while GSW stresses most defenses with its ball and player movement, BOS is pretty uniquely equipped to guard since they switch everything. The real question is how the Cs bigs are going to hold up guarding GSW's perimeter players.
TL really is crucial in this matchup as the Warriors ball movement and/or flashing Draymond to the foul line is when they look for teams to overplay them resulting in attacking the rim. Having a mobile TL protecting the rim to me is a big variable in this series. Without him close to full strength it makes it more difficult to cover the entire floor.

On the other end, we have advantages in hunting Curry and taking Poole completely out of the game. At full strength on neutral floor I have the Celtics as the better team maybe a -145 favorite. In reality, TL’s health is a question and the Warriors have home court. Of course we have play well on the road all year so there’s that too. Buckle up boys this one may be going long (if we win G1 it may also go short but I don’t expect that).
 

coremiller

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The Warriors have had a weird season; they came out hot, then kind of had a meh second half of the season before picking it up again right before the postseason started. They've had an easier path to the Finals, but at the same time they have also cruised over some good-but-not-great teams, which is what you would expect to see from a great team.
I'm not sure how useful the Warriors' regular season is for predicting how they'll play now. Because of injuries, Steph, Klay, and Draymond played a total of 11 minutes together the entire regular season. They've already played 308 minutes together in the postseason.
 

Rook05

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Based on what?
The existence of time travel? Look, this Warriors team is very good, but it’s a far cry from peak GSW. Klay just got back from Siberia, Draymond wants to shoot threes leas than White does, and while Steph has been efficient but is not STEPH.

I think this is the same as the Heat series in that it goes as the team’s health and endurance goes. Celtics in 6.
 

PedroKsBambino

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I fully healthy Celtics team is, I would argue, better than anything this Warriors team can achieve---primarily because Steph, Klay, Draymond are not the 4 years ago versions of themselves and Tatum and Brown can be more. That's what we saw over last 30 games of the season, though I acknowledge we didn't really see Klay healthy/integrated in that timeline.

However, without TL and with Smart's health questionable still this is a very tough matchup for Cs. Turning the 5 from a strenght to a toss-up or a loss is a big deal, especially since TL is imapctful in controlling some of the penetration and off-ball actions. He might be impactful with the lob game too, GS doesn't really have anyone to match up with him if he's at all healthy.

I worry a great deal Celtics are worn down---they played much better, and much more physical, teams than GS has it that will show. If Tatum/Brown are indeed 2 of the three best guys all series Celtics may have enough; I do no expect Celtics secondary guys to be able to match GS depth (which is both varied and good). A healthy TL is the other x factor---he could win them a game later in series and I almost wonder about a week off just to see if he can get there.
 

Mystic Merlin

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I fully healthy Celtics team is, I would argue, better than anything this Warriors team can achieve---primarily because Steph, Klay, Draymond are not the 4 years ago versions of themselves and Tatum and Brown can be more. That's what we saw over last 30 games of the season, though I acknowledge we didn't really see Klay healthy/integrated in that timeline.

However, without TL and with Smart's health questionable still this is a very tough matchup for Cs. Turning the 5 from a strenght to a toss-up or a loss is a big deal, especially since TL is imapctful in controlling some of the penetration and off-ball actions. He might be impactful with the lob game too, GS doesn't really have anyone to match up with him if he's at all healthy.

I worry a great deal Celtics are worn down---they played much better, and much more physical, teams than GS has it that will show. If Tatum/Brown are indeed 2 of the three best guys all series Celtics may have enough; I do no expect Celtics secondary guys to be able to match GS depth (which is both varied and good). A healthy TL is the other x factor---he could win them a game later in series and I almost wonder about a week off just to see if he can get there.
The extra rest between almost all of the games is gonna be big for the Celtics.
 

Gash Prex

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The Celtics, despite a hobbled Rob Williams and Smart, have the best net rating in the playoffs and the best defense. Looking at all the advanced numbers, I see no reason why the Warriors should be favorites over the Celtics other than reputation and talking heads. GS is nowhere near the team it used to be with Steph, Draymond, Klay and Durant back in the day.

Spare me the Looney hype - he averaged 6 pts in the regular season and had a couple of good playoff games with favorable matchups. The game he scored 21 points was the first since 2015 he scored over 20 - he's our Grant Williams. Unless I'm missing something, he is not some major impact in the series.
 

TripleOT

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These teams haven’t met with both at full strength. Boston has a lot of defenders to throw at the Warriors best scorers. I don’t know if the Warriors have an answer for Tatum. If JT goes off, the Celtics will have a great chance to win. Hopefully, they jump on a rusty Warriors in game one. The Celtics did clamp down at GS in the first half of their matchup in the regular season, holding them to 32 first half points. (Steph was injured halfway through the second quarter). The Ws were missing Wiggins and Iguodola.
 

lovegtm

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The Celtics being worn down is a big deal. At the same time, I want to see how GS looks after 2-3 games of playing Boston. The Celtics beat the crap out of teams in ways that have shown quickly in the prior 3 series.

We'll see whether the Dubs are still running around at full speed a couple games in, or whether it becomes yet another war of attrition. I think the Cs would feel more comfortable down in that muck.
 

chilidawg

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These teams haven’t met with both at full strength. Boston has a lot of defenders to throw at the Warriors best scorers. I don’t know if the Warriors have an answer for Tatum. If JT goes off, the Celtics will have a great chance to win. Hopefully, they jump on a rusty Warriors in game one. The Celtics did clamp down at GS in the first half of their matchup in the regular season, holding them to 32 first half points. (Steph was injured halfway through the second quarter). The Ws were missing Wiggins and Iguodola.
Wiggins, Draymond, Porter all seem like decent matchups against Tatum, certainly no worse that what Miami had to throw out there. I think he'll also see same double teams and traps that Miami continually threw at him.
 

BlackJack

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I wonder if that’s baked in regardless, or if they would’ve started earlier than that had either Memphis or Dallas been the WCF winner.
It’s baked in and has been for a long time. I remember being pissed about the late starts in the 2008 finals and seeing a story that they’d been 9 pm starts since at least the 80s. Having trouble finding start times for earlier seasons but this is typical.
 

Mooch

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If I’m the Warriors, the longer this series goes, the more concerned I am about fatigue. This is a pretty old team with a ton of mileage on its best players. Old legs get very heavy late into the Finals. We’ve seen it before with other teams at the end of their championship windows. The Celtics key guys (except Al) are younger and less likely to tire out if this goes 6 or 7 games.
 
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Sox Puppet

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As an X factor, what are the odds Smart/G. Williams (our two best irritants) can bait Draymond into a game-changing flagrant foul or ejection?
 

Imbricus

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I picked the Warriors in 6, after taking the Celtics in 6 against the Heat and the Celtics in 6 or 7 against the Bucks. Celts were really banged up after 7 games of being on the wrong end of no-call offensive fouls by Giannis, and this last series didn't help. Golden State I fear will be a much more consistent team from three; Miami was mostly terrible.

But: I think their best opportunity is to leave Rob in Boston to try to heal up, then use him starting in game three, and also try to steal game 1 on the West Coast when Golden State comes out rusty. I think Celts are actually in a better position in terms of rest: a week I think is just too long, whereas the four days Boston is getting is just about right to get rested, healthier, but stay very much in game shape.
 

Sam Ray Not

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The Heat ended up playing Bam and PJ Tucker at the 5 as Dedmon couldn't guard, well anyone.

Is Porter really all that different than PJ Tucker?
Otto’s 2-3 inches taller/longer, a better rebounder, and a much more skilled offensive player (shoots 3s from all over not just the corner, scores at the rim, makes plays, etc.). I think PJ’s more of a dog on D, and possibly a tad more switchable, but is getting a bit long in tooth at 37. I think Otto at 28 is the significantly better / more dangerous player, with the caveat that he’s quite fragile and can’t seem to handle more than 20 mpg without breaking down. Kinda like our version of TimeLord?
 

serotonin

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I'll just say that the Ws depth concerns me. The Celtics are going to need to stay focused and play the D they're capable of if they want to win.
 

RG33

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I said Celtics in 5. They match up well with this team. The Celtics strength overcomes the Warriors strength. GSW turns it over more than the C’s. Our length and size (if TimeLord is healthy) will be really disruptive. I think the Celtics are going to handle them pretty nicely.
 

Euclis20

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Wiggins, Draymond, Porter all seem like decent matchups against Tatum, certainly no worse that what Miami had to throw out there. I think he'll also see same double teams and traps that Miami continually threw at him.
I agree he'll see a ton of traps, but I absolutely think that Tucker/Butler/Oladipo is a tougher defensive trio than those three. Draymond is the best defender in the group, but he's also the slowest of the bunch and Tatum has always had more trouble with the shorter stronger guys than the more athletic lighter defenders (Wiggins and Porter fall into the latter category).
 

teddykgb

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I don’t know why there’s so much talk about the Warriors being an easier defensive matchup. They were very good all year and will be good here. We said the same thing headed into the Miami series and while we did hunt Strus fairly well they mostly got away with their poor defenders. The Warriors are experienced and well coached they’ll have seen what Miami did and have way better defenders to execute a similar game plan to take the ball out of Tatums hands and force him to be a playmaker.

We will go as far as our role players shoot imo. Good Grant and Marcus make us very difficult to guard. Foul trouble Grant and bricklaying Marcus we won’t be able to survive the runs they will go on.
 

The Social Chair

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I agree he'll see a ton of traps, but I absolutely think that Tucker/Butler/Oladipo is a tougher defensive trio than those three. Draymond is the best defender in the group, but he's also the slowest of the bunch and Tatum has always had more trouble with the shorter stronger guys than the more athletic lighter defenders (Wiggins and Porter fall into the latter category).
Horford and GWill should get some clean corner 3s if the Warriors trap Tatum.

View: https://mobile.twitter.com/HPbasketball/status/1531305781517176832
 

Nator

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I think that the Celics will find getting to the rim a hell of a lot easier in this series. Also, they have played every other day for a month. Getting 3 days off is going to do wonders.

Golden State hasn't faced defensive intensity even close to what the Celtics will be bringing this series.
 

coremiller

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I think that the Celics will find getting to the rim a hell of a lot easier in this series. Also, they have played every other day for a month. Getting 3 days off is going to do wonders.

Golden State hasn't faced defensive intensity even close to what the Celtics will be bringing this series.
Memphis was pretty close, especially after Ja (the worst defender in their regular rotation) went out. They bothered the Warriors a lot, especially Jeren Jackson and Stephen Adams' rim protection. Memphis' problem was that without Ja they lacked crunch-time scoring/playmaking and so they couldn't consistently create good shots down the stretch.
 

The Social Chair

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JJJ is a rich man's Robert Williams. I'm not sure a lot of you watched the Memphis series because their defense (without Ja) is just as good as Boston.

Edit: what coremiller said.
 

CaptainLaddie

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On Simmons pod he said that since 2014, when Kerr took over the Dubs, the Celtics are the only team with a winning record against them. This Celtics team (as constituted since 2014, which is to say since the first good Stevens team) has always matched up well with the Warriors.

I'm not saying they're going to have an easy series -- far from it. I see this going 6 or 7, and I honestly can't predict a winner right now. So much depends on TL and his injury.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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No predictions here except that another six or seven game series would be my base case.

I do wonder if the Celtics more grueling path actually favors them. This should count for exactly what it costs anyone to read but in my NBA playoff watching experience, the teams who make it through to the finals in a survivor-fugue-state don't suddenly relax when they are there. The Warriors have faced some tough opposition but nothing like the rabid animal emerging from the ECF. The Bucks engaged them in a boxing match. The Heat series was a street fight. The Warriors were tested in spots but nothing like what Boston has faced. Maybe the Celtics are light work for them too from a series wins/losses perspective but I strongly doubt it.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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These teams haven’t met with both at full strength. Boston has a lot of defenders to throw at the Warriors best scorers. I don’t know if the Warriors have an answer for Tatum. If JT goes off, the Celtics will have a great chance to win. Hopefully, they jump on a rusty Warriors in game one. The Celtics did clamp down at GS in the first half of their matchup in the regular season, holding them to 32 first half points. (Steph was injured halfway through the second quarter). The Ws were missing Wiggins and Iguodola.
Wiggins was great on Luka I hear and would be able to bother JT but I'm guessing that GSW will continue to switch screens like BOS. This series is going to key on how well teams handle the mismatches. Those who watched GSW might have a better idea about that.
 

coremiller

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Wiggins was great on Luka I hear and would be able to bother JT but I'm guessing that GSW will continue to switch screens like BOS. This series is going to key on how well teams handle the mismatches. Those who watched GSW might have a better idea about that.
I don't think GSW will take any single approach against Tatum. Wiggins will probably start with primary responsibility but they will throw a lot of different looks at Tatum: switching, trapping, drop coverages, hedging, and force Tatum to adapt and make the right reads against all the different looks. It will also depend on the other personnel on the floor on both sides. E.g. if Poole is in the Warriors have to try to hide him, which affects what they can do (they have to pre-switch a lot with Poole). And if Boston has non-shooters on the floor the Warriors will be more aggressive sending doubles against Tatum and daring other guys to make shots.
 

RedOctober3829

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I love Smart, but he can’t be taking the most shots on the team in the 4th quarter of these games like he was the last two. Tatum is almost too willing to pass it out of the double teams. There’s got to be something done schematically to get him away from doubles. If he has to pass it, where’s JB to come get it instead of Smart?
 

chilidawg

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I love Smart, but he can’t be taking the most shots on the team in the 4th quarter of these games like he was the last two. Tatum is almost too willing to pass it out of the double teams. There’s got to be something done schematically to get him away from doubles. If he has to pass it, where’s JB to come get it instead of Smart?
Because Smart is the guy they're willing to double off? I don't know the answer, but that's a guess.
 

cardiacs

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Marcus' teammates were not very open at the end of the game from what I remember. Seemed like the J's were not shaking free and movement could have been better off the ball. Smart could have been more mobile to hand the ball off to the primary scorers, though.
 

NomarsFool

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Double and triple teaming is pretty much the easiest defensive strategy in the world to execute. It all comes down to whether Tatum passes out of it quickly enough (which he can do) and whether the players he passes to make the shots (which they sometimes do). I’m not sure there is much they can do to avoid the double team.
 

RedOctober3829

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Marcus' teammates were not very open at the end of the game from what I remember. Seemed like the J's were not shaking free and movement could have been better off the ball. Smart could have been more mobile to hand the ball off to the primary scorers, though.
Tatum moved well without the ball on a couple possessions. The thing with Smart is if he gets the ball out of a double he needs to try to attack the basket and try to get a layup/create contact/create for others. Chucking up 3’s is not the answer especially if he’s not shooting it well.
 

BigSoxFan

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Tatum moved well without the ball on a couple possessions. The thing with Smart is if he gets the ball out of a double he needs to try to attack the basket and try to get a layup/create contact/create for others. Chucking up 3’s is not the answer especially if he’s not shooting it well.
And he’s a pretty reliable FT shooter, as we thankfully saw down the stretch.
 

Big McCorkle

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I love Smart, but he can’t be taking the most shots on the team in the 4th quarter of these games like he was the last two. Tatum is almost too willing to pass it out of the double teams. There’s got to be something done schematically to get him away from doubles. If he has to pass it, where’s JB to come get it instead of Smart?
I'm pretty sure the Heat were intentionally leaving Smart open in order to double team Tatum. As in, Spoelstra's not the sort of dumbass who'd think it a good idea to leave Brown uncovered for the sake of doubling Tatum.

Smart's not actually a bad shooter and I'm content with him both getting open threes and taking them, but if the Celtics really want to scare away an overemphasis on Tatum they would probably be well-served by putting Pritchard out there as the sole guard--although obviously that creates problems on the other end and reduces the playmaking on the court.

What this team could really use is White figuring out how to shoot threes again, but I'm not holding my breath for that to happen in the course of the next few weeks.