Not so fast; favorites do not matter. That’s why they play the game. Consider the spread for a second. -140 odds for Golden State and +160 for Boston. But forget the odds for a moment. Just look at the teams from top to bottom.
The Golden State Warriors and Boston Celtics present a true pick-em matchup in the 2022 NBA Finals.
In the Western Conference Champions, you have the three-point king in Steph Curry, a resilient and healthy sniper in Klay Thompson, and the ever-so-humble Draymond Green. For the Eastern Conference Champions, you have a budding young duo of Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum and the helpful-when-hot Marcus Smart.
Golden State boasts 123 Games Of NBA Finals Experience. Boston? Zero. It’s not a slight, but the proof is in the pudding or Boston Crème Pie.
Throughout this week, pay close attention to each team’s coverage. The likelihood is that the Warriors, as the favorites, will dominate the headlines. Not like the 2004 Los Angeles Lakers, but enough to be in the ballpark (court).
As for Boston, they won’t get what the 2004 Detroit Pistons received before they won it all, but with no Finals experience, it’s something to consider. Still, they have some of the league’s youngest rising stars, and given how they have played this postseason, a tip of the hat should be appropriate.
So who wins? Truth be told, it’s a toss-up. A Charles Barkley “guarantee” wouldn’t be enough to indeed pick a team; both sides present a resume worthy of hoisting Larry.
With six Finals appearances in the last eight years, Golden State enters the big stage, having defeated Denver, Dallas, and Memphis, losing just four games in the process.
Curry is having a bounce-back year to remember, as is Thompson. The former averaged 25.5 points, 6.3 assists, and 5.2 rebounds in 2022 prior to the playoffs, while the latter averaged 20.4 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 2.8 assists in a limited role.
Meanwhile, although they are making their first appearance in the Finals since 2010, the journey for Boston this year has been rocky and rough. Tatum and Brown’s core was under in the middle of January and now have rallied to face a team whose offense has analysts salivating. So much for defense, right? Yup, it’s points, shooting, and all the chutzpah that comes with it. After all, Boston is an average offensive team, right?
Maybe. But Tatum did average 26.9 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 4.4 assists, while Brown averaged 23.6 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 3.5 assists. To make a long story short, they are good, and given their young age; they should at least be able to give Golden State a run for their money.
Boston has played well against Golden State in the past, yet none of those matchups have ever reached the stakes like this. There’s a reason why Golden State is favored the way they are. But again, that’s why you play the game.
With this much talent and anticipation, it’s important to note that this series will likely go seven games. Who wins? Let’s just watch and see.
Game 1 of the 2022 NBA Finals is set for tipoff on Thursday, June 2 at 9:00 p.m. ET.