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Well, I can’t say I’m surprised. Not that I saw a 40-16 or a 35-14 quarter coming for Boston or Golden State respectively, but with how well Boston has played on the road all postseason, an early split is no shocker.
*Insert Dennis Green “They are who we thought they were!” GIF*
Now, things get interesting.
Boston has yet to lose two straight in the playoffs. Golden State seemed to have cracked the code a bit, at least defensively, in Game 2. Let’s look at a few key factors that may decide this crucial Game 3.
Who’s going to help Steph?
Steph Curry has been absolutely phenomenal throughout the first two games of this series, on both sides of the ball. He’s averaging 31.5/5.5/4.5 on 45/46/81 shooting splits. I mean, come on.
The problem for the Warriors in Game 1 — and most of Game 2 — was the lack of help from anyone. Not a single player is averaging more than 15 points. What about Klay Thompson? His shooting splits are a disaster: 30% from two and 26% from downtown. Yes, Jordan Poole (friend of the brand) hit an epic buzzer-beater. Yes, he stepped up for a spurt. But Steph needs a consistent Number 2 option if they want to beat this talented Celtics roster.
My money is still on Klay figuring it out sooner rather than later.
Which version of the Jays do we get?
Tatum and Brown have yet to put their stamps on this series. Brown has been good (arguably great) but is still turning the ball over and only had 2 points in the second half of Game 2. Tatum got the shot going, but hasn’t been able to take over the game in stretches as he did in every other series throughout this Celtics’ playoff run. The series is 1-1 because of Horford, White, and Smart going crazy from downtown in Game 1. If the Celtics can get a dominant and relentless performance from these two instead of the turnover-prone and quiet stretches we’ve seen so far, they have a chance to take control.
Every time they’ve needed him, Tatum has responded in a huge way after a loss, can he do it again in Game 3?
Who wins the chess match?
The coaching match-up has yet to disappoint.
Steve Kerr pushed all the right buttons in Game 2 to adjust from the Game 1 defeat and it lead to a dominating performance. I expect to see the same from Ime Udoka in Game 3. How does he respond to the heavy and effective utilization of Gary Payton II? Does he adjust Robert Williams’s minutes as he is struggling to move and remain effective with an injured knee? For the Warriors, how long does Kerr trust Klay? Does he have a shorter leash after how effective GP2 and Poole were in game 2 or does he let his guy figure it out?
All I know is, that these two are both in the lab cooking up a plan of attack and I can’t wait to see what the result is.
Tatum’s coronation is tonight. I’m calling a 40 bomb. Boston takes the 2-1 lead.
Name the four NBA teams who have made the NBA Finals six times in an eight-season span.