The Boston Celtics face elimination at home in Game 6 of the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors this Thursday evening on ABC.
Another fourth-quarter runaway in Game 5 led to Boston losing consecutive games for the first time this postseason.
Can the Celtics avoid their first three-game losing streak since the calendar turned to 2022, or will the Warriors celebrate another championship on the Boston court?
Golden State Warriors vs. Boston Celtics
Thursday, June 16, 2022 – 09:00 PM EDT at TD Garden
Is Game 7 Possible For Boston?
The Celtics (57-44-3 ATS) are a 4-point home favorite over the Warriors (52-46-4 ATS) at BMR’s top-rated sportsbooks.
This is just the fourth NBA Finals in history where each of the first five games was decided by 10 or more points.
The previous three series all reached a Game 7, including the 2016 Finals between the Cavaliers and Warriors. Can Boston push this to seven too?
Game 5 Recap: Warriors 104, Celtics 94
If a team of scriptwriters predetermined every game, then that writing room was on a creative run for Game 5.
After one of the best games of his career, Steph Curry failed to make a three-point shot for the first time in his 133 playoff games.
Curry finished 0-for-9 from three on his way to just 16 points in a head-scratching performance.
Yet, it did not matter as the Warriors led by 16 points early and led for most of the game.
Celtics' Defense Was Aggressive
The Celtics were more aggressive in defending Curry after he scored 43 points in Game 4, and it was working to frustrate him.
However, the Celtics forgot to bring their offense along as they missed their first 12 threes and they trailed by 12 points at halftime.
Then another unexpected swing happened. The Celtics made eight threes in a row and started the third quarter on fire to regain the lead.
Boston ended up winning the third quarter, 35-24, for the first time in this series. However, that proved to be bittersweet as Jordan Poole made a last-second three from deep to take a 75-74 lead into the fourth quarter.
Warriors Performance While Curry Was on the Bench
With Curry on the bench, the Warriors started the fourth quarter on a 10-0 run to take control of the game.
It was not unlike the 17-3 run the Warriors had to salt away Game 4. Boston was never able to get closer than seven points again before losing 104-94.
The Celtics were 4-of-15 from the field in the fourth quarter. Boston also had 18 turnovers with a hurtful five committed by Jaylen Brown in another down game.
Jayson Tatum had some bright moments before another bad fourth quarter. He also missed four free throws as the Celtics missed 10 free throws in the game.
Andrew Wiggins missed all six of his threes, but he was otherwise fantastic again for Golden State with a team-high 26 points and 13 rebounds.
Klay Thompson and Poole had eight of the team’s nine made threes to pick up the slack from Curry. Draymond Green scored eight points in a more helpful performance this time.
Celtics Should Improve Their Performance
The Celtics started poorly, finished poorly, and were sloppy throughout the game with plenty of bickering towards the officials.
They must rebound with a crisp performance immediately on Thursday or this season is over.
Game 6: Is Boston Finished?
These games have been closer than the final scores suggest, but it’s usually been a dominant run in the fourth quarter by the winning team that has made the difference.
But there is also little denying that Golden State has generally been the stronger team in the series.
Curry has outplayed Tatum, and Wiggins has been quite arguably the most consistent player in the whole series for either team.
Andrew Wiggins Analysis
- Wiggins never had more than 11 rebounds in his first 622 NBA games before pulling down 16 and 13 boards in his last two games in this Finals.
- That’s the kind of unexpected contribution it usually takes to win a championship, and the Warriors are outdoing the Celtics in that regard right now.
- That’s not to say Wiggins is going to be named Finals MVP, because Curry is not going to go 0-for-9 from three again.
Boston again missed out on a golden opportunity to take advantage of a terrible shooting night from an all-time great shooter.
Boston Should Make Things Harder
The hope is making things harder on Wiggins and Thompson – not letting Poole hit from half court to end the third quarter would help too – while Curry gets back to scoring more in Game 6.
But this comes back to discipline and pride for Boston. The Celtics cannot miss 10 free throws or shank their first 12 threes or lose the turnover battle by 12, their second-worst game this season like they did in Game 5.
They need to keep the defensive pressure on Curry because the fact is the Warriors have not scored more than 108 points in any game this series.
Boston's Key to Win Game 6
Boston’s offense playing cleanly is the key to winning this game, and that means the stars (Tatum and Brown) need to be sharper, and the supporting cast (Al Horford, Marcus Smart, and Derrick White) need to step up.
White, a good role player this postseason, had just one point in Game 5. The Celtics finally won the third quarter in this series, but they blew the fourth badly.
It’s now or never for them to put things together at home and extend this series on Thursday night.
The talent is there, but the execution has not been with Boston failing to score 100 points in three of the last four games.
NBA Pick and Prediction
There has never been an NBA Finals where every game was decided by double digits. If we are lucky as NBA fans, then we would get a Boston to win in Game 6 and a close, instant classic Game 7 on Sunday.
But while this series has been heavy on wild swings, I am going to back the home team to even it up with a cleaner performance to avoid losing three in a row.
Take the Celtics to cover for your NBA picks this Thursday night.
Score Prediction: Celtics 115, Warriors 106
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.