5 Reasons to Bet the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals
Jed Jacobsohn/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors.
The Warriors are back in the NBA Finals after a two-year absence. Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green have some new teammates they’re looking to get rings for as well as advancing their own legacies and reminding everyone they didn’t need Kevin Durant to get hardware.
But if you’re looking to bet the Warriors, you’re going up against the best team in the league over the last five months in the Boston Celtics. So if that’s your inclination, and what are some reasons to make you feel good about that bet?
Here’s why you should bet the Golden State Warriors.
1. Experience Matters
The Celtics have made the conference finals three times in the Jayson Tatum era, but they haven’t reached this stage before.
When the lights go down before the game, and they play the promo with clips of Bill Russell and the “Bird stole the ball!” call, it really does send chills up spines.
This is still a young Celtics team. Meanwhile, the Warriors have so much experience to them, it’s old hat. They have a new perspective after the struggles since losing in the 2019 Finals, but they won’t be wowed by the moment.
There’s leadership and experience on the Warriors’ side, and if anyone knows that a team can always come down from a series deficit, it’s the Warriors.
2. The Celtics Haven't Seen Anything Like the Warriors
The Warriors had to go through Jokic, Ja Morant (at least for four games), and Luka Doncic. Their offensive path was tougher.
The Celtics have benefited from playing teams that didn’t have a real chance of keeping up with them. Boston’s defense is legit, but it’s not smoke and mirrors. But Golden State is a different beast.
The Warriors force you to navigate a dozen decisions every possession, and if you make a mistake, it’s an open layup or a 3.
Golden State doesn’t grind down possessions with ISO ball vs. the switch; they constantly challenge you to keep up with all the reads they have with their passers.
Boston quite simply will take a few games to get used to it, and if the Warriors capitalize early, the deficit may be too much for the Celtics to get control of the series.
3. Warriors Have More Scoring Options
If Jayson Tatum doesn’t have a great series, the Celtics won’t have enough offense. If Jaylen Brown doesn’t hit 3s, they’re sunk. If Marcus Smart has a bad series shooting, or if Al Horford doesn’t give them anything, they’re in trouble.
With the Warriors, Steph Curry will still find opportunities. Klay Thompson ain’t as good as he once was, but he’s as good once as he ever was. Jordan Poole can have a breakout game to force the defense to adjust. Andrew Wiggins has proven competent challenging and besting what teams give him.
Boston just doesn’t have as many guys who can create offense with the ball in their hands, and that’s always a liability.
4. Warriors Have the Edge in Key Injuries
Golden State is just the healthier team. They get Gary Payton II back, and Otto Porter practiced Wednesday. They have only played 16 games compared to 18 for the Celtics, and far fewer since Round 2 began.
Boston has to deal with not knowing if Robert Williams, their best rim protector, can go. Marcus Smart is good to go for Game 1, but he was really banged up to close the Miami series. Boston just has had a brutal, physical path to the Finals while Golden State has just done some light cardio.
It’s been eight months since the start of the season. That catches up on a team like Boston that’s needed everyone to go all the time, compared to the Warriors that had each of the Big 3 miss time this season for injury and also got to rest the rest of their maladies.
5. Strength in the Clutch
The Warriors are 5-2 in games inside five points in the final five minutes in the playoffs. The Celtics are 6-4, but the two teams are not the same. Golden State has averaged a 121.5 Offensive Rating in those clutch-time minutes, while Boston has scored fewer than 95.
Their close-game success was entirely their defense, and beyond that, just playing teams who absolutely could not find anyone to make a big shot.
That’s not a problem for the Warriors. If these games are close late, the edge goes to the Splash Brothers every time.