Celtics Scramble to Stop the Offensive Pressure of Warriors

Ben Stewart, Sports Reporter

The 2022 NBA Finals features two of the league’s oldest franchises competing for the Larry O’Brien Trophy after six weeks of heated playoff action. 

Game 1

The Golden State Warriors faced the Boston Celtics in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on June 2 in San Francisco’s Chase Center. Boston gave the Warriors a run for their money by defeating Golden State 120-108 in Game 1 of their best-of-seven series at Chase Center. 

In the second half, the Celtics used their depth to overcome a 15-point deficit. Al Horford led the squad with 26 points, followed by Jaylen Brown with 24 and Derrick White with 21 points off the bench.

Game 2

Golden State didn’t allow a comeback in Game 2. On Sunday, June 5th the Warriors outscored the Celtics by 21 points in the third quarter and led by 29 points early in the fourth for a 107 -88 victory. 

It was exactly the kind of release the Chase Center crowd had been looking for, and a reason to leap out of their seats in delirium in support of a team they couldn’t believe had lost Game 1.

Game 3

Curry scored 31 points in Game 3, including six 3-pointers, but Boston’s Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, and Jayson Tatum all had great performances. In Game 3, the Celtics were eager to get to the basket. As a result, they used their size to harass Golden State Warriors players in the low post and off the dribble.

In the process, Boston even survived one of Golden State’s signature third quarter comebacks to win 116-100 at TD Garden and take a 2-1 series lead. 

Game 4

Despite being on the verge of losing this series, the Warriors rallied on the road in a must-win game.

Before Game 4 of the NBA Finals, the question was how Stephen Curry would play with his damaged foot. After that, the Boston Celtics might wonder if they can stop him.

Curry put up a landmark effort with 43 points and 10 rebounds less than 48 hours after injuring his left foot, leading Golden State to a 107-97 victory at TD Garden, tying the series at 2-2 before returning home to San Francisco.

Game 5

Despite the Celtics’ stifling defense and a big night for Andrew Wiggins, who had a game-high 26 points and 13 rebounds, led the Warriors to victory in Game 5, 104-94. This puts them one win away from their fourth NBA title in seven years.

What’s at Stake

Stephen Curry and the Warriors are after their fourth championship since 2015, while Jayson Tatum is chasing the Celtics’ 18th title which would put them one ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers for the NBA record.

While the Warriors and the Celtics both joined the Basketball Association of America (which eventually combined with the National Basketball League to form the NBA) in 1946, they haven’t met in the Finals since 1964. Bill Russell, the Celtics’ Hall of Fame center, led the team to a five-game victory over Wilt Chamberlain’s San Francisco Warriors that year.

For the Warriors and the Celtics, perseverance has paid off. Following Kevin Durant’s free agency exit and long-term injuries to Curry and Klay Thompson, Golden State ended with the worst record in the NBA two years ago. The Warriors rebounded back with a 12-4 postseason run that included wins against the Denver Nuggets, Memphis Grizzlies, and Dallas Mavericks.

Boston has reached the Finals for the first time since 2010, after reaching the Eastern Conference Finals four times in the previous six years. The Celtics went 12-6 to get there, defeating the Brooklyn Nets, Milwaukee Bucks, and Miami Heat.

Golden State’s has the best offensive in the playoffs, while Boston had the best defense in the league, headlined by DPOH Marcus Smart during the regular season.

The Finals also feature a coaching matchup between Steve Kerr of Golden State and Ime Udoka of Boston, both of whom served as coaches to Gregg Popovich on USA Basketball’s gold-medal-winning team in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. 

Game 6 will be held at TD Garden on June 16 at 9:00 p.m. A possible Game 7 will be held at Oracle Arena on June 19 at 8:00 p.m., if necessary.