*** Writer’s Note: It is currently Wednesday and the tip-off for Game 3 is about an hour away. While I may be late to posting my Finals prediction, I am not going to let the current 1-1 marker change my answer. I’m not as certain as I once was with my prediction, but I am sticking with it. ***
As the NBA’s 75th season gets ready to conclude, the Golden State Warriors and the Boston Celtics will battle it out for the Larry O’Brien championship trophy and the right to raise a championship banner in their respective stadium come next season’s opening night.
My season long prediction of a Milwaukee Bucks vs Phoenix Suns Finals rematch quickly fell apart in the 2nd round this season. And while I did not pick Boston nor Golden State to be representing their conferences in the NBA Finals, I can’t say that I’m surprised they made it giving the way both teams have played since the calendar turned to the year 2022.
The Celtics became the first time in NBA history to reach the Finals after having a below-500 record in the first half of the season (20-21). Boston goes for the team’s 18th title led by the two-way duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Yes, the other starters will be important. They will need game to game contributions from Al Horford, Marcus Smart, and Robert Williams III. But make no mistake about it, the C’s will need a breakthrough game or two from the bench. They will need a Grant Williams, a Derrick White, a Payton Pritchard, or a Daniel Theis to step up and leave their mark on a game. First year coach Ime Udoka and his coaching staff will face the challenge of coming up with the right defensive schemes to attack and limit the fire-power of the Warriors.
The Warriors are the Warriors and they feel they still have a lot to prove! We must give credit where credit is due. After missing the playoffs completely the past two seasons, not many were predicting the Golden State superstars to be back in the Finals. The older-but-still-steady trio of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green have led the way and they are determined to see this goal all the way through. With All-Star game starter Andrew Wiggins and big-man Kevon Looney completing the Starting Five, and Jordan Poole coming off the bench to provide multiple buckets, the Warriors looked poised and ready to claim the top stop of the mountain. Question becomes can their fire power be enough to overcome the C’s stingy defense. My answer is yes.