NBA Finals Picks -- Game 6: Facing elimination, Celtics have more to worry about than just Curry
By Charles Jay
If we told you before Game 5 of the NBA Finals that Steph Curry was going to hang a goose egg (0-for-9) from three-point territory, and that his Golden State Warriors wouldn't be a whole lot better (just 22.5% overall), AND that they could only snag four offensive rebounds, you might think that the Boston Celtics would be the team taking a 3-2 lead going into Game 6.
Instead, it's Golden State that is within one game of winning the NBA title, though they have to take their show on the road, as they line up for Thursday night's game, which tips off at 9 PM ET on ABC. That comes by virtue of their 104-94 win on Monday.
As the game is posted by them folks at BetAdrian, the Celtics are the favorites on their home floor as they put up a last stand.
Boston Celtics -4 (-103)
Golden State Warriors +4 (-103)
Over 210 Points -103
Under 210 Points -103
We found out that Steph Curry is human after all
Curry, the two-time MVP who had been carrying the Warriors with 50% shooting from the field, 40% from the arc and 85.7%, went a little cold in Game 5, although one must admit that the Boston defense had something to do with it. Curry hut just seven of 22 shots and missed all nine attempts from beyond the three-point line. He figured out a way to contribute with eight assists.
But he came back down to earth after his 43-point, ten-round performance in Game 4 that came after having his ankle rolled up on in Game 4.
Is Tatum finding some consistency?
Coming into Game 5, Tatum had shot just 34% from the field. But strangely, he was pretty accurate from three-point territory (42%). Well, on Monday, he paced all Boston scorers with 27 points, with five triples in nine attempts. But it was in a losing cause, as his teammates made just 23% of their triples. Tatum's effort was the silver lining; if one or two of his Celtic mates can get hot they will have a genuine chance to stay alive.
What made a difference in Game 5?
Once again, the Warriors took advantage of Celtics miscues, as they scored 22 points off turnovers. And they also had the edge in points in the paint (50-36). Interestingly, this came with their "true" center, Kevon Looney, playing less than 17 minutes, and with a total of only four offensive rebounds.
Golden State bricked it from downtown (9-of-40), but they were right on target from two-point land, making two-thirds of their attempts (32 of 48). The hero in this case was Andrew Wiggins, the former #1 overall NBA pick (and by the way, the only one on either team), who made 12 out of 17 deuces (two-pointers) on the offensive end and pulled down a dozen defensive rebounds. Wiggins is now the leading rebounder in the series.
And it did not hurt that Klay Thompson scored 21 points, making five of the team's nine treys.
What's our conclusion? And why?
Having Gary Payton II on board has been valuable for the Warriors. Payton, who has come off a fractured elbow, is finally being used to advantage by coach Steve Kerr, You know, during the regular season, the Warriors outscored their opposition by 16.9 points per 100 possessions when Payton and Curry were on the floor at the same time. In Game 5, Golden State had a +50 net rating per 100 possessions when Payton was in the lineup. He made six of eight shots, with five rebounds and three steals in 26 minutes. And his presence can definitely be felt on the perimeter, where Boston's shooters are no longer throwing up a blizzard of uncontested threes. He is a difference-maker, and with him out there the W's have a chance to affect an edge in the turnover category.
Obviously the defensive mindset is different than it was in Game 1, when there were 40 triples made. Game 5 produced just 20 of 72 (27.8%) from beyond the arc. Our feeling is that if Looney can play a little more, the Warriors have a shot at holding Boston under, say, 105 points.
Regardless, we're on the UNDER in this game.
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