The Boston Celtics defeated the Golden State Warriors in Game 3 of the NBA Finals Wednesday night. In doing so, they took a 2-1 series lead. Normally, that bodes very well. Historically, the team that wins Game 3 of the NBA Finals tied 1-1 goes on to win the series 82 percent of the time (32-7). More recent history strengthens that stat, as the Game 3 winner has won 14 of the last 17 occurrences. But this is not just any opponent. This Warriors core is the most experienced team we’ve seen since Michael Jordan and his Bulls in the 1990’s. The Celtics can’t rely on history. If they are going to win this series, they must go and take it.
Coming into this series, it was well known and talked about in the media that the Celtics are the bigger, stronger team. In Game 3, Boston finally flexed its muscles. They out-rebounded the Warriors 47-31 and crushed them in the paint, doubling them up in points in the paint, 52-26. They should look to continue that dominance down low.
The Celtics will attempt to take a strangle hold on this series with a Game 4 win. So, let’s get into it and give you our Boston Celtics three bold predictions for Game 4 of the 2022 NBA Finals vs. the Golden State Warriors.
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3 Bold Predictions for Boston Celtics in Game 4 of NBA Finals vs. Golden State Warriors
1. Jaylen Brown continues leading the charge offensively
Even though Jayson Tatum is the team’s best offensive player, it’s been Jaylen Brown who has set the tone offensively for the Celtics in this series.
Once again in Game 3, he caught fire early. He tied a franchise playoff record with 17 points in the first quarter. Brown continuously got whatever he wanted. He knocked down three shots from beyond the arc, got dribble penetration and finished at the rim.
Jaylen Brown's 17 points in the 1st quarter ties the Celtics' most in ANY Finals quarter over the last 50 years, also done by Ray Allen in the 2nd quarter on 6/6/2010 at LAL h/t @EliasSports pic.twitter.com/NQmCmjnKt5
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 9, 2022
Over the last 50 years, only Ray Allen has ever scored that many points in an NBA Finals quarter for Boston.
When this series started, JB’s odds for winning the NBA Finals MVP were 10-1 on FanDuel. Those odds are down to just 4-1 (specifically +410) due to his stellar play thus far. Klay Thompson is obviously not the elite defender he once was prior to his ACL and Achilles injuries. That has really been exposed in the NBA Finals. I don’t see any reason that will change in Game 4 in Boston. Expect Brown to lead the charge offensively, especially with so much Tatum drawing so much defensive attention.
2. Boston bigs find themselves in foul trouble
Warriors coach Steve Kerr is known for being one of the best coaches at making adjustments game to game. The Celtics are not the only ones who have not lost back-to-back games in these playoffs. Golden State is 5-0 after a loss this postseason with an average margin of victory of 15 points.
The Warriors are 5-0 after a loss in these playoffs with four of the wins coming by double-digits.
— Joe Osborne (@JTFOz) June 10, 2022
Knowing how poorly he played and ineffective Draymond Green was offensively, I absolutely expect him to come out aggressively Friday night. Green scored just two points on 1-for-4 shooting and Kevon Looney was also barely involved in the offense.
Look for Draymond to try and get involved early, but not by shooting the wide open three’s that Boston is giving him. He and Looney will try and work their way into the paint and draw some contact. Robert Williams is an outstanding rim protector, but generally only plays about 10 minutes per half. Grant Williams has been known to have problems fouling in these playoffs. I believe he will be in foul trouble throughout the game.
3. Celtics sink at least 15 three’s
During the second-round series against the Milwaukee Bucks, the Celtics were forced to take a lot of shots from downtown. The Bucks took the paint drives away, relegating the Celtics to become a three-point shooting team. To many people’s surprise, they did it efficiently.
Boston continued that trend in the Eastern Conference Finals. After the Game 3 loss, coach Kerr talked about the dribble penetration for the Celtics. I assume the Warriors are going to do a much better job protecting the paint. They know that they can’t allow easy penetration.
That should open things up for more clean looks from the outside. I would not be shocked if the combination of Al Horford, Marcus Smart and Derrick White knock down 10 triples Friday. I say those three because they were the ones Draymond said were an aberration after Game 1. We know that Tatum and Brown are probably going to hit some shots from the outside, but I think the role players will get a lot of clean looks Game 4.
A series like this is all about making adjustments. This game should be no different. If Boston can adjust on the fly to the Warriors’ adjustments from Game 3, look for a great performance from the home team.