By Gabriel Obiti
The 2022 NBA finals are set with Boston Celtics, having outlasted Miami Heat in 7 games in the Eastern Conference Final. Golden State Warriors will host Game 1 in San Francisco on Friday, at 2:am West African Time (WAT).
Here let’s take a look at things to watch for that may determine the next NBA Champion.
Boston Celtics had the best defence in the league during the regular season, and have put on a postseason defensive clinic so far. Now it has to do it against the best offence in the playoffs this season.
Defending in the NBA is mostly an effort to control the offence’s actions, and to do that against the Warriors’ movement-heavy offence, switching would be necessary.
Boston switched the most times during the regular season and has done so 44% of the time this playoff.
They’re good at it too.
The Celtics will hope Al Horford, Robert Williams III, and Grant Williams can keep GSW ball-handlers in front of them. If that happens, with defenders like Marcus Smart, Taytum, Brown, and Derrick White in their rotation, Boston will be in a good position.
Theoretically, Kevin Looney should find it harder to dominate the glass as he did against Dallas Mavericks, yet, if the Celtics are willing to switch their bigs onto GSW’s perimeter threats that will leave the smaller guys on Looney down low. Golden State will shoot the ball often in this situation and when they miss, Smart, Taytum, and Brown will have their hands full with Looney. Giving up second-chance points to the Warriors is a good way to lose.
Boston has gotten here with their stellar defence, winning games when they’re having poor shooting nights. Against Golden State’s offence, the defence might not hold up every game. The Celtics will need to win games with their offence. Taytum, Brown, Smart, Grant Williams, and Horford have all had great shooting nights this postseason.
With all four in their starting lineup, big shooting outings from two of them in the same game can win a game and turn the series.
The Golden State Warriors had the 2nd most turnovers in the regular season. When you play as fast as the Warriors do turnovers are common. Yet, giving up easy buckets in transition to the athletic Celtics is not an ideal way to win the series.
The numbers back that up.
Overall in the playoffs, Golden State has playoff averages of 14.8 turnovers per game from which they conceded 15.9 points. In the Warriors’ wins so far, the number is 14.2 turnovers for 14.3 points.
In the games they’ve lost, the Warriors’ average of 16.3 turnovers for 20.8 points. The difference is clear. The Warriors need to limit turnovers and the damage it does to them to win games in the series.
Marcus Smart the 2022 Defensive Player of the Year awaits.