BetOnline patrons can readily see that the Golden State Warriors were about as good as the Boston Celtics this season at defending opponents shooting from three-point territory, allowing just 33.9%. But it did not play out like that in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, as Boston came with a barrage of three-pointers, particularly when the game was on the line for them in the fourth quarter. As a result, they were able to come back from 15 points down and win a 120-108 decision to steal one on the road.
Now, if Golden State doesn't figure out how to get to the perimeter and contest some shots, they are going to be traveling to Boston with an 0-2 deficit. And that is going to be a rough one to overcome.
Game 2 at the Chase Center in San Francisco is slated for 8 PM ET on Sunday. These are the numbers:
Golden State Warriors -4
Boston Celtics +4
Over 215.5 Points -110
Under 215.5 Points -110
It happened so rapidly as to be almost shocking. The Warriors were up by 15 points late in the third quarter and carried a twelve-point lead into the final period. And then the Celtics came on like a freight train, scoring 40 points and running away with things. And the incredible part of it is that they did it all without one point from Jayson Tatum.
It was to their leading scorer's credit that as he was hassled by the Golden State defense and making just three shots in 17 attempts, he facilitated offense in different ways, with 13 assists, and all but one of those assists was in service to a three-pointer.
So while the Warriors had an eleven-point advantage in both points off turnovers and second-chance points, they lost.
Boston made 21 triples in 41 attempts. But the good news for the Warriors is that they can make some adjustments to correct their problem. The bad news, of course, is that they could open themselves up for something else in the process.
The bottom line is that you can't simply allow the opponent to stand out at the circle and take open shots. And the W's have done that far too many times in the playoffs. Dallas did not shoot as well from downtown as they had during the regular season. But Boston proved to be different.
It's quite possible that G-State respected Boston's size enough that they didn't dare allow the easy baskets if they could help it. And when you're on defense, you can't be everywhere. But coach Steve Kerr has to get defenders like Draymond Green and Klay Thompson (and off the bench, Andre Iguodala) out there to either chase the Celtics' shooters off the three-point line or get in their face. Remember, the triples count 50% more than the deuces.
It would be logical to look for a bounceback from the W's here. After all, a team with as much championship people as they have couldn't be expected to go down two games on their own floor, could they?
On the money line at BetOnline, you have to lay -195 for a straight-up Golden State win. And while the Warriors are a more-than-solid 30-19-2 against the spread at home, the Celtics have sizzled at 34-16-1 ATS as a road squad. So you'd have to proceed with caution there.
As for the total, well, we expect this is going to be a game where the defense plays better. Let's not lose sight of the fact that the Warriors also hit a lot of three-pointers (19, to be exact) and they were 42% from out there. Game 1 was probably an outlier when you consider 86 triples attempted and 40 makes. These are outstanding defensive teams - they were both in the top three in Defensive Rating and points allowed. We don't know if Steve Kerr is going to have his team run more. The Celtics - at least coming into Game 1 - had a Defensive Rating of 86.8 in halfcourt possessions, which is by far the best out of all the teams in the playoffs.
Curry will draw particular attention from the Celts, especially early. Al Horford and Derrick White are not going to combine for eleven triples again. And, well, you've got Draymond Green, who'll help the W's more on defense and perhaps hurt them on offense. Considering all this, the "Under" is well worth looking at.
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