The Golden State Warriors needed to bounce back with a big effort in Game 2 of the NBA Finals. And that is exactly what happened. They registered their best Defensive Rating of the postseason, befuddling the Boston Celtics en route to a 107-88 romp that was over, for all intents and purposes, at the end of the third period.
BetOnline patrons watched as Stephen Curry, who scored 29 points, took a seat and get some rest for the final twelve minutes. Things got out of hand in the third quarter, as G-State outscored Boston by a 35-14 margin. And the Warriors "got well" with a split at home, as they head to Beantown and the TD Garden for Game 3, which begins at 9 PM ET on ABC.
NBA Finals Picks -- Here are the numbers....
BetOnline has posted the Celtics as the favorites at home in Game 3:
Boston Celtics -3.5 (-105)
Golden State Warriors +3.5 (-115)
Over 213.5 Points -110
Under 213.5 Points -110
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NBA Finals Picks -- Boston has to stop turning the ball over
Incredibly, over the first two games of the series the Warriors have had a cavernous 54-25 advantage when it comes to points scorre off turnovers. To illustrate this disparity, Steph Curry had 14 points off turnovers all by himself in Game 2. The Celtics as a team only had 15. And to think that Golden State was considered the much more turnover-prone team coming into the series.
It's not necessarily a matter of a lot of unforced errors either; the Warriors had 15 steals in Game 2.
Maybe that kind of thing evens out as we progress in the series. Maybe not.
NBA Finals Picks -- Are halftime adjustments going one way?
In the third quarters of the first two games of these NBA Finals, Golden State has outscored Boston by a total of 35 points. Perhaps it has been a matter of Steve Kerr, who's won three NBA titles as a head coach, having the experience edge over Ime Udoka, who is in his first season.
Maybe that evens out too. But while the Celtics are third in the NBA in third quarter margin, the Warriors are # 1 in that category, by far, outscoring opponents by an average of 2.8 per game over the entirety of the campaign.
NBA Finals Picks -- Tatum bounces back..... sort of
In Game 1, Jayson Tatum made just three of 17 shots from the field, although he contributed greatly by dishing out 13 assists, a dozen of which led directly to three-pointers. In Game 2 he went 8-for-19 and had 28 points (which included six triples), but the shooting percentage was just 42%.
And with regard to his plus-minus figure, it was horrendous. How horrendous was it? Well, it was minus-36, and that is the worst for anybody in a Finals game in the last 25 years.
NBA Finals Picks -- Our conclusion
In Game 1, Golden State eventually paid the price for leaving Boston's shooters out all alone on the perimeter. But the Warriors demonstrated in Game 2 that they could slow down the Celts considerably by contesting shots more aggressively.
Al Horford, who had 26 points in Game 1, made just one field goal. Marcus Smart had only one field goal as well. Boston shot only 29.4% when contested (G-State made 48.6%). And the Celtics were just 35% on two-pointers, and that is dreadfully low.
Draymond Green had a big effect on the proceedings, especially with Horford. And their team effort on defense held Jaylen Brown to one field goal in the last 40 minutes.
The bottom line is that Boston came up with something of a defensive formula. With the blowout, legs are fresh,and it's still a matter of who can stop who. The Celtics are not overwhelming at home (just 22-26-2 ATS). We'll take the points with Golden State and go UNDER the total.
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