The feeling out process is complete. All up 2-2 in the NBA Finals, the Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors are now vying for the top three for the championship.
Two relatively healthy teams, inspired by previous success at Golden State Stadium, and revamped after two days of rest, will compete in Game Five in San Francisco Monday night.
“It’s the finals,” Celtics star Jason Tatum summed up. “It won’t be easy. It shouldn’t be.
“We know we both want it, and we have to go get it.”
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Game 5: Monday. 9:00 PM ET on ABC pic.twitter.com/vEvVSwD3hR
– NBA June 13, 2022
The first four matches were nearly as competitive as they got…except for the final results.
The Warriors outperformed the Celtics by just 422-421, which upsets the fact that not a single game has been decided by less than 10 points.
Golden State also has slight edges in percentage of field goals (44.9-44.2), offensive rebounds (40-39) and the fewest turnovers (59-60), while Boston is better at free throws made (57-50) and total Follow-ups (171-167).
Each team made 64 three-pointers.
Stephen Curry has a best 25 streak out of the Warriors’ 64 triples, including seven of 14 attempts in a dramatic performance from 43 Golden State attractions up to a 107-97 victory in Boston in Game 4 on Friday.
“This guy’s heart is incredible,” his teammate Clay Thompson shouted. “The things he does we take for granted from time to time, but to go in there and put us on his back, I mean, we have to help him (in Game 5).”
The Warriors did so the last time the two teams met in San Francisco for Game Two. Curry had 29 points, but Jordan Paul scored 17 off the bench, Gary Payton second came back from his broken elbow to make all three shots, and the other four Golden State players combined with 43 points, 21 rebounds, 12 assists and six Times in a team effort led to a 107-88 win.
It came three nights later after the Celtics, the best team on the road in the post-season, temporarily stole the home grounds advantage by having a similar kind of balanced production in their 120-108 series opening win. Al Horford (26), Jalen Brown (24), Derek White (21) and Marcus Smart (18) contributed 89 points on a night Tatum struggled to get to 12.
The Celtics went 8-3 on the road in the postseason, outperforming their opponents by 38.1 percent for 31.2 percent from three-pointers.
The Warriors went 10-1 at home, making 40.7 percent of triples versus 36.3 percent for the visitors.
The biggest factor in determining the series’ winners and losers was recovery.
Boston had the upper hand on the boards 86-70 in two wins, including 22-18 on the offensive end.
The opposite was true of Golden State winning twice, as they dominated the cup by 97-85, including 22-17 on the offensive end.
After seeing rival Curry at his best in Game 4, Tatum believes his role is playing the part of a difference maker.
“I have to be better,” insisted the only player from the first team to perform in the NBA in this series. “I know I can be better, so it’s not like I, myself or my team are asking me to do something I’m not capable of. They know the level and I know the level I can play at.
“There is not a lot of pressure at all. It is kind of like my job.”