Coming into the 2022 NBA Finals, the Golden State Warriors’ team had a combined total of 123 games Finals experience between them. The Boston Celtics team had zero.
In fact, it came as quite a surprise to more than a few people to see Boston there at all
They started the season poorly with an 18-23 record. To their credit, they managed to turn it around and end the season 51-31. They were duly declared second seed in the Eastern Conference.
Although they whitewashed the Brooklyn Nets 4-0 in the first round of the NBA Playoffs, they were taken all the way to 4-3 in the semi-finals by the Milwaukee Bucks and by the Miami Heat in the NBA Eastern Conference Finals.
We will never know if this run of playing the maximum number of games heading into the NBA Finals affected them physically but the wins must have given them tremendous confidence in their chances.
Across the NBA Playoffs, of the 16 teams that participated, the Boston Celtics sat bang in the middle of the table or worse in just about every available statistic. It goes to show that you don’t have to blow teams away and be the best at any one thing. You just have to be consistent and you can go all the way.
THE GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS HAD A SOMEWHAT DIFFERENT EXPERIENCE OF REACHING THE LAST PHASE OF THE COMPETITION…
They finished the NBA regular season (read our NBA Regular Season Betting Review) 53-29. That was only good enough for 3rd seed in the Western Conference.
However, they sailed through with relative ease in their 3 matchups in the NBA Playoffs.
First round: Denver Nuggets: 4-1
Semi finals: Memphis Grizzles: 4-2
Western Conference Finals: Dallas Mavericks: 4-1
When compared against the other NBA Playoff hopefuls, the Warriors were top of the table in field goals and assists. They were up near the top in several other categories too. The only places that Boston bettered them was in free throws and personal fouls. They were effectively identical at turnovers. Something that was not to last, much to the chagrin of Celtics fans. Coming into the Game 1of the NBA Finals, Boston were 1-4 in post-season games where they gave away more than 16 turnovers. An ominous stat and one that only worsened as the games kept coming. More of that later…
The 2022 NBA Finals were proof that solid defenses are still an important element that can get you all the way to the championships. The 2022 NBA Finals saw two of the top-5 regular season defenses coming together for the first time in 12 years!
Having said that, the Golden State Warriors were the most offensively dominant team in the playoffs this year. They scored more consistently and freely than they did at virtually any point during the regular season that preceded.
Ok – let’s begin
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Chase Center, San Francisco, California
Stephen Curry’s 3-point jump-shot from 26ft (7.92m) away was a fitting opener to the 2022 NBA Finals. It came less than a minute into the encounter when 3 others had already been attempted in that short space of time!
The scores were fairly even for most of Q1.
Over 2 minutes scoreless with 3 minutes remaining in the quarter didn’t help the Celtics’ cause but they managed to restrict the Warriors to just 4 points in that time so no real damage was done.
BOS 28-32 GSW
The game stayed tight and intense during the 2nd quarter. The Warriors had the slightly better of it at first and took a 10-point lead with 7.5 minutes remaining. They then spent the following 3 minutes completely scoreless and Boston levelled the scores in the meantime. The score that broke Golden State’s barren run was immediately followed by 2.5 mins where they failed to score again.
It meant that Golden State added just 5 points in 6.5 minutes. The Celtics added 14 in the same period and the game was tied 3 times in Q2 alone. The Warriors’ advantage was gone.
HT: BOS 56-54 GSW
Q3 became Boston’s turn to struggle offensively. Whatever was said in the dressing room at half time by Steve Kerr must have had some impact because the Golden State Warriors caught fire and immediately caught and overtook Boston. Andrew Wiggins scored 12 individual points in a quarter that saw the Warriors add 38 points to the Celtics’ 24.
BOS 80-92 GSW
In a rollercoaster game that just kept throwing up surprises, Golden State now failed to score for over 3 minutes and Boston added 9 to pull the gap back to 3 points. The scores went back and forth from there with the Warriors maintaining the narrowest of leads.
Then the wheels fell off…
A devastating (for Warriors fans) period of 4 minutes and 56 seconds elapsed where they did not score a single point.
Just as Boston levelled again with almost 6 minutes remaining, the Warriors nose-dived and only added 5 points in the last 6 minutes of the game. Boston added 20 points in that same period and that was that. They took the game by a completely unexpected, bizarre 12 points that nobody who had seen the ebbs and flows of the rest of the match could have predicted.
The Boston Celtics added 40 points in Q4 and the Golden State Warriors added just 16. A complete and total collapse of one side and raging fire underneath the other. Remarkable.
Warriors fans must have been shell-shocked. Their team led this matchup for over 37 minutes. Boston’s less-than-8 minutes just happened to be the ones that counted.
BOS 120 – 108 GSW
Scoring leader: Stephen Curry: 34
Rebounds leader: Draymond Green: 11
Assists leader: Jayson Tatum: 13 (8 clear of 2nd place)
Most consecutive points: Boston Celtics: 17, Golden State Warriors: 8
Longest scoring drought: BOS: 3 mins, GSW: 4 mins 56
Total turnovers: BC: 12, GSW: 14
1-0 TO BOSTON CELTICS
Chase Center, San Francisco, California
Game 2 of the 2022 NBA Finals started with a bang for the Boston Celtics. They hit 13 points in 2.5 minutes right at the start of the game and left the Golden State Warriors reeling with just 5.
Instead of keeping their feet firmly on the gas, they somehow managed to go the following 4.5 minutes scoring a grand total of just 3 points. Golden State regrouped and fought back although they were struggling themselves and only managed to add 8 points in that same period.
A flurry of 3-pointers in the last 2 minutes of Q1 gave the scoreline a healthier look and it ended:
BOS 30-31 GSW
From there, the game got really tight. Neither team could seem to score, let alone pull away from the other. In the first 2.5 minutes of Q2, the game yielded just a single 3-pointer.
Time and again the teams were tied. At 33, 35, 40, 48, and 50 points respectively.
Combined, the teams made just 1 point every 30 seconds for the first 4.5 minutes of the quarter! They went tit for tat right up to halftime, by which point Boston had given away 11 turnovers already to Golden State’s 5.
Remember how that worked out for them in the past?
At halftime the scores were:
HT: BOS 50-52 GSW
True to form, the 3rd quarter became a bane for Boston. In the first 7 minutes of Q3 they added just 6 points. Again, the Warriors didn’t exactly put them to the sword by adding 13 themselves but it was enough to effectively change the tide of the game. A 6-point rallying moment with 5 minutes remaining in the quarter was the high-point for the team from Massachusetts and the Californians soon matched and corrected that.
In a quite shocking quarter of basketball for Boston, they added just 14 and leaked 35 points! 14 of those came from Stephen Curry.
Any chance of the game remaining close was gone as the quarter ended:
BOS 64-87 GSW
Statistically speaking, Q4 was Boston’s. They pipped the Warriors in just about every category. But the damage was done, Q3 had killed their chance in this game and the Warriors just had to hang on and do the basics to take the win. Remarkable.
BOS 88 – 107 GSW
Scoring leader: Stephen Curry: 29
Rebounds leader: Al Horford: 8
Assists leader: Draymond Green: 7
Most consecutive points:
Boston Celtics: 8, Golden State Warriors: 14
Longest scoring drought: BOS: 3 mins, 29, GSW: 2 mins 30
Total turnovers: BOS: 18, GSW: 12
1-1 THE SERIES
T.D. Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
After such a dismal capitulation in Game 2, Boston really needed to step up their level in Game 3 and oh boy did they do that.
Whatever Ime Udoka said to his team after their total collapse in Game 2, it worked a treat. They came out like men possessed and blitzed the Warriors 7-16 in the first 5 minutes. They were fast and physical. Relentlessly turning Golden State’s sporadic attacks into counter-attacks of their own and being much more clinical in collecting points. They maintained a 1-2 scoring ratio for 10 minutes to lead 15-30 and only a spirited last 2 minutes from the Warriors, when they added 7 points, left a feeling of respectability at the end of Q1:
GSW 22-33 BOS
The first 6 minutes of Q2 were a resumption of business and the Celtics outscored the Warriors 17-23. The gap between them was already a significant 17 points and Warriors fans must have worried that it would be a colossal hammering if things continued apace.
At this moment, Boston failed to score for 2.5 minutes and the Warriors took advantage. They pulled back to within 7 points and, although Boston reacted and scored 12 points to their 7 in the last 3 minutes of Q2, their rhythm was temporarily put off and it prevented a massacre.
HT: GSW 56-68 BOS
6 minutes into Q3 and the teams were operating pretty equally. Warriors had added 15 points, Celtics 14. Neither was able to close or extend the gap. And then Boston had their longest scoring drought of the game. Over 3 minutes with nothing gave Golden State the opportunity to stake their claim on the game. They took 12 points and now the scores were only separated by 2 points! 83-85.
Astonishingly, with 3 mins 45 on the clock in the 3rd, a Stephen Curry 3-pointer put them in the lead for the first time since 2-0!
Boston fans must have been pulling what was left of their hair out (not much after the run-in they had to the Finals one imagines)
A bit of back and forth left the scores at the end of a startling Q3:
GSW 89-93 BOS
The final quarter of Game 3 saw the scores climb slowly, but surely for both teams. The spirit of the Blitz was gone but Boston steadily outscored Golden State throughout the quarter and the Warriors had 2 huge periods of over 3 minutes each with a total absence of points. They already looked a beaten side with 10 minutes to go and added only 4 points in the last 7.5 minutes of the game. Just 11 points the whole quarter whereas Boston took 23.
Even with an excellent 31 individual points from Stephen Curry, Golden State’s starters were off the scoring pace in lane 3 to the tune of 14 points compared to those from Boston. Combined they made 82 to Boston’s 96. The early blitz threatened to blow GSW away with its ferocity and the stars shone for Boston. The Warriors did a remarkable job to hang in and push Boston as close as they did all the way until the end.
GSW 100 – 116 BOS
Scoring leader: Stephen Curry: 31
Rebounds leader: Robert Williams: 10
Assists leader: Jayson Tatum: 9
Most consecutive points: Golden State Warriors: 12, Boston Celtics: 10
Longest scoring drought: GSW: 3 mins 19, BOS: 3 mins, 02
Total turnovers: GSW: 16, BOS: 12
1-2 THE SERIES
T.D. Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
Those who witnessed the dominance of Boston for 3/4 of Game 3 might be forgiven for thinking that they would emulate that style and steamroller Golden State in Game 4.
But things didn’t exactly work out that way. The Golden State Warriors were 5-0 in games following a loss in the NBA Playoffs. Clearly, they are a team that responds to adversity and bounces back well. It was a tight, intense, often frantic game that started off like a rocket.
But the scoring did not match the pace. Chance after chance was missed as the ball went from one and to the other like a pinball.
One 3-minute period of the game saw the combined scores of the 2 teams at just 3 points. In 4 minutes and 41 seconds the Warriors missed 9 shots and scored just 2 points.
12 points in the last 80 seconds for Boston left the scores at the end of Q1 as follows:
GSW 27-28 BOS
The Celtics’ flurry of scoring at the end of the previous quarter did not run into the next. They scored just 3 points in the first 4 minutes and could not put the ball in the net. Luckily for them, the Warriors took almost zero advantage of the situation and only collected 6 points in the same period of time. Astonishing.
The Warriors missed 20 shots in this 12-minute quarter and Boston missed 14.
As one TV commentator put it when discussing both teams at halftime:
“They couldn’t hit a bull in the ass with an ironing board right now”
The scoreline crept upwards as the players went back and forth. But the low-scoring was not reflective of the spectacle. The game was an exhilarating, tit-for-tat encounter and Q2 ended:
GSW 49 – 54 BOS
The 3rd quarter began with a more traditional pattern of scoring from both teams and they added 13 and 12-points respectively in the first 5 minutes. There was literally nothing between them for the entirety of the quarter. Even to the point where, when Boston hit a lean period with just 2 points in 3.5 minutes, Golden State struggled too and only claimed 4 points.
After being tied twice and the lead changing 3 times, the 3rd quarter ended:
GSW 79-78 BOS
In the 4th quarter of a game as tight as this one was, it was decidedly great timing from the Golden State Warriors to put in their 2nd highest scoring stint. Conversely, the Boston Celtics had their worst quarter of the match scoring-wise.
The period started true to form and the teams went toe to toe once again. The scores were again tied 3 times in the first 3 minutes. They were 86 apiece with 8 minutes left on the clock. At this juncture, the Warriors had a dismal couple of minutes, turning the ball over twice and missing 4 shots.
Boston snagged 5 points and took a slim lead before missing 10 shots and scoring only 6 points in the last 7 minutes of the game. It was a complete death knell for their chances and the Warriors took 21 points during the same period and simply walked away with the win.
Stephen Curry returned to his Game 1 form when it came to 3-pointers, taking 7 from 14 attempts in the game. The next closest to him only had 4 successful attempts although Boston’s Derrick White with 3 from 5 attempts had the best 3-point percentage of the night with .600 (60%)
Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart were exceptional.
There were more missed shots, sure. But there were also some superb drives under the rim. This was beautifully highlighted by Stephen Curry as he danced around 2 defenders in the 4th to collect 40 points.
He was a game-changing force in this encounter. Without him, the Golden State Warriors would not have had the firepower to overcome the Boston Celtics.
GSW 107 – 97 BOS
Scoring leader: Stephen Curry: 43
Rebounds leader: Andrew Wiggins: 16
Assists leader: Draymond Green: 8
Most consecutive points: Golden State Warriors: 10, Boston Celtics: 10
Longest scoring drought: GSW: 2 mins 51, BOS: 3 mins 46
Total turnovers: GSW: 16, BOS: 15
2-2 THE SERIES
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Chase Center, San Fransisco, California
So – the Golden State Warriors went into Game 5 with a 10/1 record at home in the Playoffs.
The Boston Celtics were 8/3 away from home and 7/0 following a loss.
Something had to give…
The game started with the same frantic and intense energy that we had grown to expect from these NBA Finals. But the skills on show simply did not match that energy or the tension levels. Things pretty quickly began to go abysmally for Boston and, with almost 10 minutes of the game gone, they had only 8 points to show for their efforts. Golden State had amassed 24 points in the same period and were sitting pretty. The number of missed shots coming from both teams was extraordinary and neither side could seem to get any rhythm or flow. Boston pulled a few back and hit a grand total of 8 field goals in 12 minutes. The first quarter ended breathless but low-scoring:
BOS 16 – 27 GSW
The Golden State Warriors pushed the gap out to 12 points early in the 2nd quarter before scoring just 2 points in over 5 minutes and allowing Boston back to within 6. The slackened pace and lack of basic skills made for a frustrating few minutes of basketball.
The constant stream of missed shots must have shocked anyone watching the game. The commentators certainly could not believe what they were seeing.
5 mins from the end of the 2nd quarter and Boston still hadn’t logged a single 3-pointer.
They caught up with the Warriors in that category when Tatum, Smart, and Horford took one each late in the quarter to give the teams a startlingly low 3 apiece going into halftime.
HT: BOS 39 – 51 GSW
The 3rd quarter was back to being fast and chaotic. 2 fouls by Klay Thompson on Jaylen Brown in the first 90 seconds and 2 Jayson Tatum 3-pointers right after put Boston just 2 points behind their opponents. The Warriors failed to score at all in the first 3.5 minutes of the 2nd half…
Boston hit 6 straight 3-pointers (making a run of 8 without missing) to turn over a 19-point deficit and take the lead. This lasted for exactly 6 minutes and 15 seconds and represented the total amount of time they led in the entire game.
The momentum felt like it had shifted in Boston’s favor as the quarter drew to a close. They led by a small margin and seemed to have renewed vigor and drive. This energy was visibly sucked out of them as the stadium erupted for the opposition when Jordan Poole hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer and gave the Warriors a 1-point lead:
BOS 74 – 75 GSW
The 4th quarter threatened to be a tight, tense affair. On the back of that euphoric surge from Golden State to end Q3, the Celtics needed to hit back hard and fast. They promptly came out of the traps and failed to score for the longest period in the game. 4 minutes and 20 seconds elapsed between them scoring and the dye was cast. In a game as closely contested and scrappy as this one, there was simply no way back. The Warriors gratefully added 10 points.
10 of Boston’s 20 points in Q4 came from the free-throw line as they still had not got their act together in open play. The turnovers just kept coming relentlessly and breaking up any flow the Celtics could create. The Warriors extended the lead to 14 points at one juncture and all they had to do was shut out Boston and cruise in for the win. Which is exactly what they did.
There were some incredible individual performances on display in this game that will long be remembered. Andrew Wiggins was a superstar for the Warriors. He nailed 26 points, 13 rebounds, and was a total beast in defense.
If you saw this next fact coming after his performances in the Finals to that point then kudos to you. We hope you put the house on it. Stephen Curry failed to hit a single 3-point shot in an NBA game for the first time since 2018.
IF WE HADN’T SEEN IT WITH OUR OWN EYES WE WOULD HAVE REFUSED TO BELIEVE IT
The game was a shocker all round for 3-pointers in fact. Boston ended the game 3/15. Golden State 3/17. Staggering.
The Boston Celtics must have been distraught that they did not make the most of a situation where they had kept Steph Curry relatively quiet (16 points from the field). And where his shooting was so far off his normal, superhuman standard. If he had played even half as well as he did in Game 4 then the Warriors would have annihilated the Celtics in Game 5. As it was they took the win less convincingly.
This was the first consecutive loss for Boston in the NBA Playoffs this season.
At one point, Boston were 14/21 from the free-throw line, with Tatum at 2/6. They ended the game 21/31. Just not good enough at this stage of the competition.
More proof, if any were needed, that 18 turnovers are simply too many to counteract.
BOS 94 -104 GSW
Scoring leader: Stephen Curry / Jaylen Brown: 32
Rebounds leader: Andrew Wiggins: 13
Assists leader: Stephen Curry: 8
Most consecutive points: Boston Celtics: 10, Golden State Warriors: 13
Longest scoring drought: BOS: 4 mins 20, GSW: 4 mins 16
Total turnovers: BOS: 18, GSW: 6
2-3 THE SERIES
T.D.Center, Boston, Massachussetts
Going into Game 6 of the NBA Finals for 2022, it must have been abundantly clear to Boston Celtics players, coaches, and fans (as it was to the rest of us) that the way back into this series was to get physical. They bossed the Golden State Warriors in earlier games when they used their superior size and strength to their natural advantage.
And things started well as they came out of the gates hard and fast and did just that.
4 minutes into the game and they were 2-14 in the lead with GSW only 1/6 shooting. The Warriors were blitzed and had their longest dry period in the whole game after just 30 seconds of play. For 3 minutes and 45 seconds, the Celtics ran rampant and it looked like a series leveler was on the cards.
But the heightened intensity was not to last
The Warriors recovered from just 2 points in 4 minutes to claw their way back into the game and tighten things up. They trailed by just 6 points at 16-22 when Boston fell to pieces and they went on the longest unanswered scoring run in an NBA Final in the last 50 years.
Straddling the end of the first and start of the second quarters, the Warriors took an astonishing 21 unanswered points for a 15-point lead. Jordan Poole took 11 in 6 minutes alone! Fans and commentators alike were in shock. The stadium was reeling and the wheels teetered on the verge of falling off completely for Boston. Their fans grew disgruntled and did not hide their frustrations.
Some scrappy play and blatant flopping marred this period of the game as Boston clung on for dear life at 37-27 with 8 minutes remaining in the 2nd quarter.
But the Warriors sensed blood and kept coming. If it hadn’t been for some superb defensive efforts from Williams and co, they might have added a lot more. As it was, by the end of the first half they had added another 17 points and further opened the gap:
HT: GSW 54-39 BOS
The game desperately needed the likes of Tatum and Brown to match the pace and intensity of the Warriors’ players but they simply were unable to do so. They matched the Warriors scoring-wise in Q3 and, although the gap opened to 22 points with 6 minutes remaining, they managed to close it to as low as 9. This was ably assisted by the Warriors’ putting in a period just shy of 6 minutes where they scored only 2 points. The Celtics almost couldn’t help but catch up and at the end of Q3, the scores were:
GSW 76 – 66 BOS
There never really looked to be a way back for the Celtics. Too much damage had been done and too many turnovers kept breaking their rhythm. They hung on by their fingernails and pulled the scoreline back several times but it was never quite enough.
The start of the 4th saw the Warriors take only their 3rd and 4th free throws of the game!
There were some superb shooting performances on display from the likes of Klay Thompson, Jordan Poole (with a shot-clock buzzer-beater that got the crowd out of their seats). The inimitable Stephen Curry returned to form (34 PTS / 7 TRB / 7 AST) after his uncharacteristic last outing and he hit some incredible 3-point shots. The team here at The Jump Hub was actually more impressed with his drives into the paint and he scored prolifically from there too.
The scores climbed slowly and there was even the vaguest sniff of a comeback as the Warriors missed 10 straight 3-point efforts and Boston closed to 86-78. But nobody truly felt it would happen.
Boston looked a beaten side emotionally as they bickered and lost focus. Neither side seemed to be able to even hold onto the ball.
The Warriors did enough to close out the game, the series, and their 4th championship in 8 years.
Boston can rightly feel proud that they made such an entertaining and gutsy contribution to the season’s finale.
But they will forever wonder what might have been…
It seems fitting that one of the main contributing factors to the Celtics’ downfall, turnovers should feature so heavily in their final game of 2022.
They gave the ball away an unforgivable 22 times in this game. Sure, the Warriors did the same thing 15 times and that’s not great either. But Boston were their own worst enemies in this regard, especially in the later games and many commentators and fans believe it made a significant difference to their success,
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GSW 103 – 90 BOS
Scoring leader: Jayson Tatum: 27
Rebounds leader: Al Horford: 14
Assists leader: Marcus Smart: 9
Most consecutive points: Golden State Warriors: 21, Boston Celtics: 12
Longest scoring drought: GSW: 3 mins 45, BOS: 4 mins 54
Total turnovers: GSW: 15, BOS: 22
MVP: Stephen Curry
4-2 THE SERIES
The Golden State Warriors were crowned NBA Champions for 2022
After a hard-fought six-game series, the Golden State Warriors were deserving winners of the 2022 NBA Championship. Stephen Curry was named the Finals MVP for the first time in his career and with good reason. He was a game-changer in almost all of these encounters and a true role model for youngsters and other players alike.
His skill set and the guile and experience of his teammates were enough to see off the younger, stronger, faster opposition and prove that you need more than just brute strength to prevail in this sport.
The Boston Celtics played a huge part in making this such a dynamic, intense series of games and should feel proud of their contribution.
Head coach Ime Udoka said;
“THE BIGGEST MESSAGE WAS TO LEARN FROM THIS, GROW FROM IT, TAKE THIS EXPERIENCE AND SEE THERE IS ANOTHER LEVEL TO GET TO”
Let’s hope they get there because they were a joy to watch at times and we can’t wait to see more.
Congratulations to the Golden State Warriors.
Your 2021/22 NBA Champions.