NBA Final predictions: Who will win this year's bragging rights?
San Francisco, California - The NBA Finals have finally arrived. Here are the odds, picks, and predictions on who will take home the Larry O'Brien trophy.
The NBA Finals are here, and the matchup is set.
After three rounds of surprising upsets and thrilling blowouts, the Golden State Warriors, led by Western Conference MVP Stephen Curry, will face off against the Boston Celtics, led by Eastern Conference MVP Jayson Tatum.
This will be the first finals since 1996 – when the Chicago Bulls defeated the Seattle SuperSonics – to feature the top two teams in defensive efficiency, despite both teams' offensive strengths.
After three championship titles, but no MVP award, will Curry finally get to be a part of the elusive Finals MVP club? Or will Tatum continue to knock off future Hall of Famers?
Breaking down the odds, picks, and predictions on what is set to be an exciting series, here's TAG24's take on the exhilarating matchup.
Warriors vs Celtics: Series odds and stats
- BPI: 14%
- Fan Duel: -130
- Offensive rating: 112.1 (16th)
- Defensive rating: 106.6 (second)
- BPI: 86%
- Fan Duel: +130
- Offensive rating: 113.6 (ninth)
- Defensive rating: 106.2 (first)
Warriors: Picks and predictions
When you have two teams that are this equally matched, it will come down to the tough shot-making from the deep.
This is where the Dubs excel. The Warriors were the best team in the league in this regard during the regular season, while the Celtics were ranked 20th.
Still, with their above average shooting record from the outside, the Warriors' biggest challenge will be their turnover trouble.
Heading into the conference finals, Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr joked that he wasn't bringing up turnovers to his athletes because it has been the "make it or break it issue" for the past eight years. So the coach doesn't have to tell his players that they need to keep those down – it's clear they already know.
The Warriors were the fifth-worst team of 16 in postseason turnovers, further proving it to be their biggest issue.
With their fast-pace and lots of ball movement style of play, turnovers are bound to happen. Yet if the Warriors can minimize their turnovers, they will be far more difficult to beat – complimented by their exceptional ability to shoot to score.
Celtics: Picks and predictions
It comes as no surprise that the Celtics are ranked first in defense, led by the 2021-2022 NBA Defensive Player of the Year, Marcus Smart.
With their switch-savvy approach, Boston's unmatched defense will make it difficult for the Warriors to crack in and score points. Yes, the Celtics may drop a game or two to the Warriors' hot shooting, but this team is well-equipped to handle that devastating Golden State offense.
Although the Celtics lost to the Warriors early in the regular season, they were a completely different team in the second half of the season. The Celtics blew the Warriors out in their second meeting this year and will look to do the same in the Finals.
However, with a young and less experienced roster, the Celtics are entering the series with zero Finals games experience among their players.
Boston's collective postseason inexperience has revealed itself down the stretch in multiple games over the past two rounds, and ultimately, will be the true test for the team to be able to win the NBA championships.
If the Warriors can find a way to confuse the Celtics' dominant defense with their swift movement, then they will earn bragging rights to the championship trophy. If the Celtics can figure out a way to score enough, assisted by their dominant defense, then the city of Boston will have much to celebrate.
The Finals Game 1 tip off is on Thursday at 9PM ET.
Cover photo: Collage: EZRA SHAW / ANDY LYONS / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP