Last Updated on June 3, 2022 by admin
Like two rivals countering each other in a nail-biter opening match of the Championship, NBA Finals 2022 kickstarted with the match between Golden State Warriors and Boston Celtics. Celtics managed an impressive comeback in a thriller, clinching a 120-108 victory against the Warriors.
The Celtics won the opening match with a 17-0 fourth-quarter run, making a record of the second-largest spurt in a finals game in the last 50 years.
The contest took place on Thursday; there weren’t any surprises for the viewers. The scene on the field displayed the usual; two elite teams were firing their best stuff at their opponent and observing what it could and couldn’t handle. To counter Celtic’s defensive precision, the Warriors came up with their best-suited attack strategy. They displayed their beautiful offense, full of continual motion and brilliant off-ball action. The Celtics used their stretchy drive-and-kick strategy against the Warriors’ rotations, patiently looking for favorable matchups or open looks. Both teams often used switch-heavy defensive schemes, with the Warriors dabbling in zone coverage.
In the fourth quarter, the Celtics made a match-winning comeback, leveling the 15 points lead the Warriors took in the second half. In a spur of a moment, the game dynamics changed. From beyond the arc, Boston unleashed a lethal barrage. The Celtics hit six 3-pointers in less than seven minutes, many fiercely contested. Boston had entirely reversed a 12-point lead before the fourth quarter’s halfway mark. The Warriors, however, were caught off guard. They couldn’t process what had happened. According to ESPN Stats & Information data, the Celtics outscored the Warriors 40-16 in the fourth quarter, hitting 9-for-12 on field goals from a distance, naming a record to their name of the most by any team in Finals history in the fourth quarter.
Although Golden State Warriors‘ defensive approach was centered on first-team All-NBA forward Jayson Tatum, teammates Jaylen Brown, Al Horford, and Derrick White provided the Celtics’ much-needed firepower towards the end of the Celtics’ intense late run. Marcus Smart added 18 points to the game, including four 3-pointers, more than compensating for Tatum’s 3-for-17 shooting performance. Horford’s six 3-pointers were the most in any game of his career, regular season or playoffs, demonstrating the improbability of the achievement. The Celtics have been able to play small and with terrific spacing because of White, a game-changing midseason acquisition. Brown, who was opportunistic in the offensive, never wavered in his aggressiveness.
The Celtics don’t have the same exquisite offense as the Warriors, but they’ve become a dangerous long-range threat. Boston had tried 45.5% of its field goals from 3-point range entering the Finals, second only to the Dallas Mavericks in this postseason.
Even the strong defense in the NBA did little to nothing to stop the absolutely lethal offense that erupted at the Chase Centre in the first half. The Celtics failed to be proficient in the single most crucial requirement of defense despite their defensive prowess during the regular season and postseason, and it was: Early on, track down Stephen Curry and stay with him.
In search of his first Finals MVP, Curry blasted an NBA-record six 3-pointers in the first quarter, four of them uncontested. His 21 points in the first quarter were his most in any Finals quarter, the most by any player in a Finals first quarter, and the fourth most in any Finals quarter, behind only Michael Jordan and Isiah Thomas. Curry’s 34 points were ultimately wasted by the Warriors.
Celtics qualified for the Final for the first time since 2010 because of their unmatched defense strategy. They managed to couple their powerhouse defense strategy with an occasional offense that can hurt the Warriors’ defensive rotation on the right night. Suppose the Celtics can repeat their offensive display from Game 1 with their characteristic defense on three more occasions. In that case, they will have completed a steady nine-year rebuild following their famed Big Three period.
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