NBA Finals Celtics vs. Warriors Game 5 Preview & Pick: Will Boston Snag Another Road Win?

NBA Finals Celtics vs. Warriors Game 5 Preview & Pick: Will Boston Snag Another Road Win? article feature image

Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics during Game 2 of the 2022 NBA Finals.

  • Game 5 of the 2022 NBA Finals between the Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors tips Monday night (9 p.m. ET on ABC).
  • The Warriors are 4-point home favorites and seek to hand the Celtics back-to-back losses for the first time in the playoffs.
  • Joe Dellera breaks down Celtics vs. Warriors Game 5 below, including which side has the betting value.

Celtics vs. Warriors Odds

Celtics Odds+4
Warriors Odds-4
Over/Under211.5 (-115/-105)
Time9 p.m. ET
Odds via Caesars. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Golden State Warriors stormed back in Game 4 to tie the NBA Finals at two games apiece. The Warriors have reclaimed home-court advantage, but are now tasked with something no team has been able to do this postseason — hand the Boston Celtics consecutive losses.

Can the Warriors take a commanding 3-2 lead in Game 5 or will Boston set itself up to possibly clinch a championship in front of the home fans?

Let's break it down.

Will the Celtics' Defense Hold Up?

The last time the Boston Celtics suffered consecutive losses was back in March to the Heat and the Raptors, and in the second game, neither Jayson Tatum nor Jaylen Brown played. On the season as a whole, Boston is 27-11 following a loss with an average margin of victory of eight points.

If we look at the Celtics since Jan. 29, the date from which they are No. 1 in Offensive and Defensive Rating, this number jumps to 12-1 SU/ATS after a loss. In the Playoffs? 7-0 with an average margin of victory of 15.57 points. Nothing seems to motivate Boston quite like a loss.

Robert Williams is one of the keys to Boston's success so far. He's been an anchor defensively and a pressure point that the Warriors have struggled to contend with due to his athleticism and ability to effectively defend, even in space.

Additionally, Robert Williams seems to be improving as the series goes along. Although he saw just 14 minutes in Game 2, he's had consecutive games with double-digit rebounds and played 31 minutes (a playoff high) in Game 4.

Part of this has to do with the Celtics continuing to allow Stephen Curry space to shoot — they have not started blitzing him when he has the ball. It's an interesting decision to give the greatest shooter of all time space to operate, but at the same time, this series is tied 2-2.

Ime Udoka said that he "trusts what we're doing on defense". He emphasized that you can't go after Stephen Curry the same way as other stars because the Warriors have a lot of other playmakers along with Curry.

Added that Curry has scored a lot in transition and off breakdowns.

— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) June 12, 2022

In other words, Curry will need to beat Boston. Maybe he can. Maybe the Celtics will adjust if they are down 3-2, but for now, Udoka is confident in his scheme and it makes sense.

Rather than blitz and double-team Curry and give Draymond Green the ability to actually be useful in this series as a floor general, the Celtics are staying home on the Warriors' secondary scorers and making those possessions less fruitful.

The series is tied 2-2, so there's no reason to blink just yet if you're Udoka.

Warriors Making Timely Adjustments 

The Warriors continue to dominate in the third quarter. It's honestly preposterous what they're doing there and it's bailed them out in this series.

They are 4-0 straight up and ATS in the third quarter with a 143.2 Offensive Rating and a 92.6 Defensive Rating for a Net Rating of 50.6 — those are mind-bending numbers. (Of note: They are losing every other quarter in terms of Net Rating.)

Is this type of production sustainable? I think it's possible to continue dominating in the third, but these margins are ridiculous. Boston is better during the other 36 minutes of the game and it's as if the Warriors suddenly remember how to play basketball for 12 minutes in the third quarter.

Regardless, this trend is something to monitor. The Warriors are 13-7 ATS in the third quarter during the playoffs. They successfully make adjustments, but it's also the quarter in which we see Curry and Andrew Wiggins play the most minutes together and that tandem has been incredibly efficient in the postseason.

One interesting wrinkle for the Warriors has been how they've dealt with Boston's defensive scheme. While Udoka does not want to deviate from dropping on Curry, the Warriors have adjusted. They continue to put Al Horford in action, which has decreased his rebounding opportunities and made him a pressure point on defense.

Additionally, the Warriors even started to run pick-and-rolls for Curry at halfcourt to free up even more space for him to operate. They're exploiting the drop, but they need to essentially spam this relentlessly to force Boston to change its coverage.

Even then, it only works if Curry shoots the lights out. Ideally, the Warriors can get Klay Thompson or Jordan Poole to heat up and if that happens, it may force the Celtics to adapt.

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Celtics-Warriors Pick

There are two competing trends in this series. The Warriors' third Quarter and the Celtics after a loss. I'll be playing both.

Isn't that counterintuitive? A bit, yes. But a third quarter victory does not necessarily mean the Warriors can capture the full game. The Celtics' game plans continue to be problematic for the Warriors. Curry has been incredible, but it has not exactly translated into dominance for the Warriors.

The Celtics have more outs, they have more adjustments and they are not as reliant on one player to achieve victory.

It's uncomfortable betting against the greatest shooter of all time, but Boston has been incredible in this spot. This line is simply too long in what has been a coin-flip series.

Pick: Celtics +4 | Celtics Moneyline

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Jul 13, 2024 UTC