This will be the fourth NBA championship for Stephen Curry, or the first for Jason Tatum. It would be the story of Clay Thompson’s return to the centuries, or a fabulous end to the debut of head coach Ime Udoka for the first time.
A lot is at stake for the approval of the two teams in the 2022 NBA Finals, Golden State and Boston Celtics. For Golden State this is a chance to challenge the chances of a dynasty revival in the spotlight after a two-season hiatus. For Boston and the composition of its rising stars, these are, as they say, legends being created.
Here’s what to expect in the NBA Finals, which start on Thursday in San Francisco.
Third-seeded Golden State favors home ground over second-seeded Boston for a better record in the regular season.
Experience may not be everything.
After the Boston Celtics won Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, their words about meeting Golden State in the NBA Finals gave a mixture of confidence and respect.
We know we will face a great team with the Warriors. “Great players, great organization,” said Celtics defender Marcus Smart. “They have experience proving this. They know exactly what it takes. They were here. They are veterinarians. We know we have a long way to go, but we are ready for the challenge. “
This final is marked by a lack of experience, with one team well versed in championship basketball and the other full of recruits at this stage. Golden State has five players who made it to the finals – Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Clay Thompson, Kevin Lonnie and Andre Iguodala. The Celtics have no players who have achieved this so far.
Part of that is the age function. The Boston list is full of 20-year-old players, while Golden State is a group of 30 people whose lives have changed since reaching the first finals.
“I can just even balance family life,” Karim said after the 5th game of the Western Conference Finals. “I am happy to have children who are now 9, 6 and 3 years old. For example, when I came back at 14:15, I was chasing these playoffs, just a different mood in terms of everything that happens in life. “
Smart was a 21-year-old rookie in 2015, the first time Curry, Green and Thompson won the NBA Championship. Jason Tatum, who was named the Most Valuable Player in the Eastern Conference Finals this year, was in 11th grade. Their teammate Jalen Brown had just finished high school and went to college to play college basketball at the University of California, Berkeley – just 11 miles from where Golden State was playing at the time.
For the 2015 championship, with the exception of Looney, which the Warriors put up a few weeks after winning the title, Golden State’s return finalists all went through the season and exit the playoffs early.
2021-22 The Celtics have similarly spent the last few years learning how to win the playoffs and deal with the bitterness of losing. Boston has been in the playoffs annually since 2015 and has reached the conference finals four times.
But the Golden State trip shows that the final experience is not everything.
When the Warriors won the 2015 Championship, they faced the Cleveland Cavaliers team led by LeBron James. James played in the finals for the fifth time in a row and in the sixth overall. But he could not stop Golden State from winning the series in six games.
But James was also relatively new to this team. The depth of Golden State experience will help the team this month.
Prophecy: Golden State at Six.
Draymond Green is the “emotional leader” of Golden State.
Stephen Karim has scored no more than 3-pointers in history. Clay Thompson continues his triumphant return from two cataclysmic injuries. And Jordan Poole, as a result of a dynastic pause for two seasons at Golden State, emerged as one of the most dynamic young scorers in the league.
When the Warriors return to the NBA Finals, several players have intensified their series. But in the light of all the pyrotechnics on the team, is it possible that Draymond Green – the team’s great thinker, the tormenting speaker of the referees – is somehow overlooked? Well, maybe not. But in his 10th season, Greene travels sixth in the final, and this is no accident. He is a defense-minded, first force that connects his teammates in more than one way.
“Our emotional leader,” said coach Steve Kerr.
Green has rarely if ever played better basketball than this post-season. In a Western Conference Finals victory over the Dallas Mavericks, Golden State averaged 17 points, 9 assists and 6 rebounds, and threw 7 of 6 pitches. He turned his back on the crime. He was a danger in defense. He used five of his six personal foils.
He also avoided taking many extracurricular activities, which he did in the past – at least until the end of the game, when he spoke about the championship against the Celtics. The problem was that the Celtics were still playing the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals. In fact, the Heat are forcing the 7th game until it crashes. But according to Green, he was never mistaken.
“I thought they were a better team and I was obviously not far away“Green said this week on San Francisco’s KGMZ-FM, a Golden State radio broadcasting partner.
In a way, Greene has been a source of stability for the organization as the team has been working with injuries in recent seasons. He taught his younger teammates. He was in shape when there was no door and Thompson. He admitted that it was not always easy: he was used to fighting for the championship and suddenly Golden State had the worst record in the league.
Now, next to Carrie and Thompson, Green has another title.
“I can not say that I thought I would enter this season, for example, ‘Hey, we’re going to win the championship’ or ‘We’re going to be in the NBA Finals,'” Green said. “But I always believed we had a chance with the three of us.”
Forecast: More relaxed and more experienced, Golden State wins the series in six games.
They are both excellent in defense but different in attack.
Celtics coach Ime Udoka and Golden State coach Steve Kerr – both former NBA players – are numerous. Both led their team to the finals as head coach in the first seasons, Kerr in 2014-15, when Golden State won the championship, and Udoka this year.
They are also linked to San Antonio Spurs coach Greg Popovich. Udoka was an assistant at Spurs from 2012 to 2019, becoming the champion in 2014. Udoka also played three seasons in Spurs, while Kerr played four seasons in San Antonio and won two championships. Both also worked with Popovic on the U.S. Men’s national basketball team.
Popovich’s influence is obvious. Udoka and Kerr preached the value of strong defense. Boston and Golden State were the two best defensive teams in the NBA during the regular season. Like Popovic, coaches are willing to openly criticize players in public.
Where they differ is offensive.
Udoka installed a methodical, slow attack. The Celtics often wear isolators, close to the top of the NBA in the regular season, while Golden State was at the bottom.
In part, it depends on the staff: Boston’s two best players, Jason Tetum and Jalen Brown, deftly grasp the ring and break through the defense one on one, but with fewer passes. In addition, the Celtics are launching Marcus Smart as a defender and he is not a traditional pass-first defender.
Kerry, meanwhile, has long preached egalitarian insults about ball movement – so much so that Kevin Durant, after leaving Golden State for the Net in 2019, complained that Kerry’s offense was limited. Golden State has led the NBA basket cuts this season, while the Celtics were around the middle of the league. Golden State was also second in the league with assists.
There is another difference. Kerr prefers to experiment with composition. He devoted important minutes to newcomers like Moses Moody and Jonathan Cumming, mixing them in rotation and out. In the playoffs, Kerr gave 19-year-old Cumming three starts in the semifinals against Memphis Grizzly. Moody, 20, was in rotation against the Dallas Mavericks in the conference finals.
Udoka preferred his rotations to be quite predictable, especially in the playoffs, rarely reaching the Celtics bench even in the event of gross problems.
Forecast: Celtics at six. Their defenses are well-designed to chase Stephen Carrie.