The Boston Celtics got off to a great start against the Golden State Warriors in Game 3 of the NBA Finals, and although they lost a double-digit lead, they eventually got things back on track using the organic advantages they had practically the entire game.
This has to leave Steve Kerr's team searching for a solution. Will they find one? That's what BetOnline customers want to know. Well, playoff series are characterized by adjustments, and we would expect that this has been the thing the Warriors have been concentrating on as they prepare for Game 4, which begins at 9 PM ET at TD Garden. It's a tough spot for Golden State, which can't go down 3-1 and possibly have a lot of confidence.
Remember that Golden State is behind in the series despite being able to hold Jayson Tatum to a subpar shooting effort. When Tatum has not been launching from three-point territory, he's been forced into taking shots that are less than optimal. In terms of two-pointers, he's only been 27.8% accurate. But the rest of his team really did a good job on the inside on Wednesday night.
Jaylen Brown scored 17 points in the first quarter to get the guys in green off to an 11-point lead. Boston scored 68 points in the first half against a very capable defensive team. The Warriors had gotten to within four points at the end of three quarters, and had even led by two points before to that. But they collapsed in the fourth period. They made just one triple in nine attempts, significant in that they had been dependent upon long-distance shots, and scored only eleven points in the 116-100 defeat.
In the NBA Finals betting odds posted on this game by the folks at BetOnline, the Celtics are favored:
Boston Celtics -4 (-113)
Golden State Warriors +4 (-107)
Over 213.5 Points -111
Under 213.5 Points -109
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Simply put, G-State had a very hard time competing close to the basket. They suffered from a 47-31 deficit in rebounding to begin with. And since the Celtics had been able to pull down 15 offensive rebounds, they also had twice as many second-chance points (22-11) and points in the paint (52-26). Many people talked about the advantage in muscle for the Celts, and here it was on display.
Robert Williams is not able to play a lot of minutes, but he is proving to be remarkably effective in those minutes he's been able to occupy. He led everyone with a 20.4% rebounding rate in Game 3, and had an incredible +21 plus-minus. What is astounding is the difference between his Offensive (152) and Defensive (96) ratings. So he has been a dominant presence, and it is a shame, from Boston's standpoint, that his knee prevents him from putting in more time in the pivot.
Speaking of time in the pivot, that's what Kerr really needs to do as it regards Kevon Looney. he is the best rebounder the Warriors have (more than one every three minutes), and he may be the most impactful defensive player, which apologies to the often-wayward Draymond Green. They need him in there to slow Boston down, and the idea that he saw just 19 minutes of action in Game 3 was a coaching mistake, considering that the W's brought their offense primarily outside of the arc.
It's kind of amazing that while Steph Curry was being covered by Marcus Smart, he was scoreless in almost five minutes. Klay Thompson was scoreless in the fourth quarter, after a 25-point performance. Golden State has to get two-dimensional, as they had been in the other two games. And who knows how much Curry might be affected by the ankle sprain he sustained late in Game 3 (he'll play).
I figured Game 3 to be one where the story was told by defense. At the half, we were at 68-56 and I thought we would never get to the under I wanted. But I was shocked that we actually got close. This time I figure both teams will have a little slower offensive start, and we're going to stay faithful to our UNDER tendency.
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