On Monday, the Golden State Warriors and Boston Celtics square off in Game 5 of the NBA Finals at the Chase Center in San Francisco, with the series deadlocked 2-2. The Warriors regained home-court advantage in what is now a best-of-three series following an emphatic 107-97 victory in Game 4 at the TD Garden on June 10.
After Boston’s dominating Game 3 victory and reports swirling that Warriors star guard Stephen Curry may be limited in Game 4 after suffering an ankle injury, the Celtics appeared poised to take a 3-1 stranglehold on the series.
Instead, we witnessed one of the greatest individual performances in NBA Finals history, with Curry pouring in 43 points and hauling down ten rebounds to lead the Warriors to a stunning victory. Golden State returns home with momentum decidedly on their side.
The factors critical in Boston’s Game 3 win (points in the paint, rebounding dominance, second-chance points) were nowhere to be found in Game 4. Golden State held a 38-32 advantage in the paint and outrebounded the Celtics 55-42 (16-11 on the offensive glass), leading to a 19-12 edge on second-chance points. Bouncing back from a playoff loss has been a hallmark of this year’s playoffs for both teams. Golden State is now 6-0, and Boston will bring a 7-0 record to Monday’s must-have Game 5 matchup.
As we look at identifying attractive game props, one must consider whether Finals experience is the intangible factor that will make the difference. Coming into this series, the Warriors roster boasted 123 games of experience, while the Celtics roster did not have a single player who had reached the Finals frontier. The veteran, Championship-tested Warriors versus the youthful upstart Celtics has been an element of the backdrop that has made this such a captivating series. With the Finals’ outcome riding on a short series on the game’s biggest stage, experience arguably is a commodity that is rising in value.
Winning Margin: Golden State 1-5 (+400)
Golden State is an outstanding 10-1 at home in the playoffs, the only blemish coming in Game 1 of this series, as Boston rallied furiously in the fourth quarter to post a 120-108 victory. Back before their home crowd after an enormous win in Game 4, it’s hard not to like the Warriors in this one, bringing Boston’s unbeaten record after a playoff loss to an end. While no game in this series has been decided by single digits, the chances of this contest being close is still attractive. Celtics star forward Jayson Tatum has shown an impressive ability to bounce back after a tough game (8-23 shooting, six turnovers in Game 3), and the Celtics’ 8-3 road record in the playoffs must be respected. Take the Warriors with a margin of 1-5 points, recognizing the potential for Boston to cover.
Race to 30: Golden State (-139)
The race to 30 was tight in Game 4, with Jordan Poole’s three just over two minutes into the second quarter winning it for the Warriors. Those who took the Celtics in this prop could not have been pleased to see their team go 0-for-4 with two turnovers to start the quarter while leading 28-27. Golden State, buoyed by their home crowd, is likely to get off to a good start, giving them the edge in a prop that is typically decided in the opening stanza.
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