Look at Steve Curry, man, very inspiring.
The two-time MVP played what could have been the best game of his career, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Steve once again showed us why he’s the greatest offensive weapon in league history with his amazing 4/10/43 drop in 54/50/89 splits.
But with things closing at 2-2 and both teams needing to win two more games before being crowned champions, there is still a long way to go in the series, so let’s take a look at some of the adjustments that may be made going forward.
The main factor that came into the series was the number of turnovers the Celtics would commit to each game. This postseason, Boston is 13-2 when they flip it 14 more or less times, and 1-6 when they throw the ball away 15 or more times.
And imagine what? They committed 15 spins Friday night and lost. Sometimes, basketball can be that simple.
With that said, the Warriors already had 16 spins and only outdone Boston by two (19-17) in spin stops, so that didn’t surprisingly play a major factor in the game.
What he did, however, was a stagnant Celtics attack along the expanse. They stopped moving the ball and went back to playing iso, which Golden State had an easy time containing.
It’s important to note that iso-ball isn’t necessarily a bad thing because both Brown and Tatum have successfully attacked Warrior one-on-one. Instead, the problem arises when they abandon their game plan and move aimlessly before raising a competing stronglink at the end of the shot clock, which is what happened during the crisis time in Game 4.
No one will confuse Boston’s attack with the beautiful Warriors game system, but they need to go back to the combos that were played at the start of the game (like the one below) if they want any chance of scoring consistently on a semi-court.
The Celtics also need to be more aware of which warrior they should hunt in defense. Tatum and Brown fired 1-4 at Bellica with three turns and went 3-4 against Paul and Steve. It’s a small-sized specimen, but Bellica is a deceptively competent defender, at least, who holds much better than Paul. Meanwhile, Steve has turned into an above-average defender – as a goalkeeper – but the Celtics still have to try to tire him out, so they have to do a better job chasing down the two goalkeepers than Bellica.
Defensively, Boston was suffocating: Game 2 was the only time in the series when the Warriors had an offensive half-court rating exceeding 95. But with Steve turning to a Supernova, there are still things the Celtics can do to improve. their own end.
There was some talk early in the series that Boston’s VIPs were falling back too often in pick-and-rolls involving Steve, which has been largely corrected since they’ve now hit the three-point line. Remember, however, that this is steve freaking curry We’re talking about him, so going into his arc still isn’t enough when he’s filming shots like this.
The possible solution is just to corner him and force him to take the ball out of his hands. Sure, he’ll be playing Warriors 4 on 3 after that, but I’ll catch Steph playing the game as if NBA2K was in rookie mode.
It is likely that the main recipient of those passes will also be Draymond, who The backpack looks really heavy These days it can be left unattended. Golden State doesn’t have any specific bowlers outside of Steph, Klay, and Poole either, so the Celtics will likely play mini-zone in those odd guy situations and have some success with them.
The Boston team stopped Steven in one of the last game catches and managed to score goals, but then again, I think they’d rather concede those chances than shoot Steve out of nowhere, especially if they had the time to come up with a game plan and practice executing it.
GS scored after Steve got trapped here, but if I was in Boston I’d take my chances with this play above him standing from a parking lot pic.twitter.com/FDNsF8NmIb
– Bill Huan (@ill_huan) 11 June 2022
If the Celtics decide to catch Steph more, they’ll still have to hold him off the ball – or else he’ll teleport for an open three.
Steven’s release is another world (duh), but it’s his movement that makes him so special, and the Bostonians can’t let their efforts go to waste by losing him even for a split second.
pat beef Draymond’s trick, man… He just ran, did nothing.”
Seriously, what’s up with Draymond? The most useful thing Golden State can do is somehow alter the remaining gaming schedule without telling him so that he is busy podcasting at home instead of playing.
On that note, I think Steve Kerr really did the big tweak, which is to play more Looney and Draymond seated. In Game 3, the Boston Warriors were killed on the glass by 47-31. The Celtics had 15 offensive boards that led to 22 second-chance points, versus Golden State’s six and 11 points, respectively. Looney accounted for half of those offensive rebounds, and it was no coincidence that the Warriors struggled so much for the trophy considering he played under 17 minutes.
The fourth game was a completely different story. Golden State beat Celtic 55-42 while outselling them 19-12 on second chance points. They snatched 16 attacking planks to Boston’s 11, as Draymond and Looney combined for nine. Looney also played over 28 minutes, and that will likely continue into the remaining games.
All this talk of recoil is important, but the chances of the Warriors still hinge on how Steve plays. If Boston chooses to corner him further, it will be up to Golden State’s minor options to strike. Kerr leaned hard to run Steph pick and rolls with Big, and if that was taken too far, he’d need to run more checks and wait times to free Klay and the others for open picks.
Speaking of Clay, he still wields tremendous offensive value due to his gravity, even if he’s not the same player he was before.
Assuming Steve has less ball, the Warriors should consider running some two-player action between Draymond and Clay/Poll, similar to what the Heat used to do for Pam and Robinson. These plays have never been Golden State’s bread and butter because they prefer to involve everyone, but given that Kerr has already overhauled their kinetic attack in favor of pick and rolls, it’s something worth considering at least.
Draymond must also stop shooting. a period. I know he wants to be aggressive, but no one respects him, and his shots don’t come in regardless of whether they are in contention or not. At this point, he’s just wasting offensive property and giving viewers PTSD from watching him chop it all off, so it’s time to focus on distribution and grabbing rebounds instead.
In defense, Golden State made a great impression on Jekyll and Hyde. They set the Celtics’ half-court attack rating to 84.3 and 77.1 in games two and four, but they also gave up 114.1 in games one and three, respectively.
Given the discrepancy in points that the Warriors allowed during these games, it’s a bit surprising that their defensive scheme hasn’t changed radically. I didn’t notice much rhyme or reasoning causing these completely different results considering they used pretty similar strategies between wins and losses.
For example, Golden State went into its classic 1-2-2 zone for multiple possessions in every game except Game 2, when I only remember seeing it once. Draymond has also been Brown’s primary defender in the past three games and has stopped him shooting 7-21, and Game 3 was the only time Brown outperformed that match.
The lack of major modifications from the Warriors suggests that Boston is the team that has more control over their fate. Yes, their win in Game 1 was largely buoyed by unsustainable shooting and Game Two ended in a solid loss, but the Celtics’ execution (and lack of it) in their two home games played a bigger role in the bottom line than anything Golden State did. .
However, there are some things the Warriors can do to give them the best chance of shutting down the Boston offensive. For starters, Looney needs to keep playing for big minutes to provide them with reliable bounce and edge protection. And while Draymond benefited greatly from his encounter against Brown, I think Kerr should consider bringing him back as a traveling defensive player, especially since Clay did a good job closing down the Celtic winger in the final quarter of Game Four.
Having Draymond goalkeeper off the ball allows him to focus on Golden State’s defense, which is the best of him. It also allows Warriors to rely on Wiggins and Clay to protect the Boston superstars in place of Gary Payton II and Draymond, giving Kerr more flexibility in the squad because the former duo are not offensive responsibilities that can only be effective in specific confrontations.
With four matches in the books, both Kerr and Udoka seem to have largely exhausted their tactical tweaks. However, if there is only one card left to play, it will likely come in shape when they decide to downsize and get smaller.
I know I know. I’ve just explained a great deal about the importance of size in the series, but that’s exactly why it would be great to know when/if one or both teams choose to be small for better spacing and versatility.
A lot of that hinges on the health of Robert Williams III, who I think is the biggest X-factor going forward. Time Lord has looked nimble in Boston’s last two games, but appeared to exacerbate his knee injury late in the fourth game, and if he gets stuck again, the Celtics are less strong defensively.
In the first two games of the series, the Celtics were -14 as Horford and Williams both played, but they overturned that switch in games 3 and 4 going +17 in Boston – which is no coincidence given that Williams looked a lot closer to 100% during the Celtics’ two games on his land.
If Williams struggles again, he could be exploited in the ocean and his effectiveness as an edge protector could be diminished dramatically, and that’s where his enormous value often lies. Will Boston pull the plug on him and rely primarily on Horford, then? The Celtics are currently +6 with the veteran position as the only big one on the floor at 43 minutes, but if Steve continues chasing him pick and roll and becomes more comfortable doing that, I’m not sure how feasible such formations would be – especially if Horford pulls out Constantly into the ocean and unable to fight for bouncing balls.
Assuming Boston is more inclined to play one big one, Golden State could benefit by having only one Draymond and Looney on the floor at a time, which would help space them apart significantly and spread the floor when attacking. Again, all of these assumptions hinge on the health of Time Lord, who played incredibly well in the playoffs given his injury issues.
Before the finals, I expected the Warriors to win at 7 because Boston was more exciting. As I mentioned above, the Celtics seem to be in more control of their destiny with four matches, and Golden State won’t be able to hang around if Steph doesn’t keep moving forward on the supernova.
It’s entirely possible, of course, because Steve is on his way to becoming the third greatest goalkeeper in NBA history. However, the versatility of Boston’s lineup looks like it would be too much for the Warriors to deal with.
Final prediction: Celtics in six
Finals Player of the Year (if Golden State wins): Steve Curry
Finals Best Player (if Boston wins):
Draymond Green Jaylyn Brown
However, the bigger question is whether Tatum will get the cojones to text Kobe again. I wonder what he will say this time?
As usual, thanks for reading everyone! This week, please check out my friend Lee Dresie’s article on why Draymond is the tenth factor in the finals. Personally I think it’s Lord time, but he makes a compelling argument nonetheless.
Enjoy the rest of the NBA Finals!