After the Boston Celtics’ dominating performance against the Golden State Warriors in Game 3 of the NBA Finals, the idea that they would be on the brink of elimination in Game 6 seemed a far-off notion.
However, true to their championship pedigree, Steve Kerr and company “found a way.” In Game 4, it took a 43-point, ten-rebound performance from Stephen Curry to wrestle home-court advantage back from Boston. In Game 5, despite getting just 16 points from Curry, the Warriors sent the Celtics reeling with a stunning 104-94 victory. The Dubs turned 18 Boston turnovers into 22 points while committing just six floor errors. The Celtics also struggled mightily from the charity stripe, going 21 of 31 (67.7%).
For Ime Udoka and company, this all has to change if the Celtics are to force a deciding Game 7. Boston must do a better job of protecting the ball and can ill-afford to give Golden State seven extra scoring chances as they did in Game 5.
The Celtics’ resilience following a playoff loss is put to the ultimate test Thursday.
Winning Margin: Celtics 6-10 (+360)
While Boston has been less than stellar at home in the postseason (6-5 record), expect the C’s in front of a raucous TD Garden crowd to look more like the team that dominated in Game 3. All of the games in this series have been decided by double digits, the last two by ten points. With Golden State only 4-5 on the road in this year’s playoffs, look for the Celtics to bounce back and deliver an improved, more efficient performance. That said, Golden State has a resume that lists Finals finishing as a skill. One should expect this game to be relatively close.
Race to 30: Celtics (-175)
Boston, led by a seventeen-point first quarter from Jaylen Brown, easily won this race in Game 3. In Game 4, leading 28-27, the Celtics had several opportunities to put this prop away but could not score, allowing the Warriors to eke out a win courtesy of a dagger three (at least for this prop!) from Jordan Poole. Golden State comfortably took down this prop in Game 5 at home but now must face a Boston team desperate for a good start in a must-win situation. Buoyed by their wildly supportive fans, the circumstances tilt the scales in favor of the Celtics Thursday evening.
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