So. Game 6 came and went. Was it everything we hoped for and more?
Yes and no…
Things started well for Boston as they came out of the gates hard and fast.
3 minutes in and they were 2-12 in the lead with GSW only 1/6 shooting.
But the intensity was not to last and the Warriors clawed their way back to tighten things up. First at 10-16, then 12-18, 18-22, and all the way back to take the lead at the end of the 1st quarter, 27-22. Boston had already given aways 4 turnovers and this helped GSW blitz them.
Far from being the catalyst that set fire to Boston’s endeavors, they capitulated and the Golden State Warriors went on the longest unanswered scoring run in an NBA Final in the last 50 years. 21 unanswered points in a row saw them take a 15-point lead. Poole took 11 in 6 minutes alone. The stadium was reeling and the wheels almost came 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.
The Warriors were no strangers to turning the ball over and with 7 to go it was 5-6 in that department.
The Warriors kept coming, despite some superb defensive efforts from Williams and co. As the game reached half time they had added another 17 points and opened the gap to 54-39 for the break.
The game desperately needed the likes of Tatum and Brown to match the pace and intensity of the Warriors’ players
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They simply were unable to do so
There never really looked to be a way back for the Celtics, even though they hung on by their fingernails and pulled the scoreline back several times. Some superb shooting from the likes of Thompson, Poole (with a shot-clock buzzer-beater that got the crowd excited). And of course, the inimitable Stephen Curry who returned to form (34 PTS / 7 TRB / 7 AST) after his bizarre last outing and hit some incredible 3-point shots but also made drives into the paint and scored from there too.
The scores climbed to 60-44 then 72-50 as the turnovers climbed to 10-13. The 3rd quarter ended 74-66 to the Golden State Warriors but neither team was covering themselves in glory with ball-retention. 13 turnovers by GSW and 19 by Boston. As many as in the whole of Game 5 for the Massachusetts team.
The start of the 4th saw the Warriors take only their 3rd and 4th free throws of the game. They gave Boston a glimmer of hope as they missed 10-straight 3-point efforts and the gap closed to just 8 points 86-78.
But the Celtics just could not muster the physicality that won them Game 3 so convincingly and as their turnovers hit a disastrous 23 (16 for GSW), the Warriors closed out the series and their 4th championship in 8 years 103-90 at the final buzzer.
Having survived two exhausting, emotional 7-game series on their way to the NBA Finals, Boston can rightly feel proud that they made such an entertaining and gutsy contribution to this season’s finale. But they will forever wonder what might have been.
Game 6 of the series was a frustrating experience as a neutral (albeit one who wanted to see a Game 7) and must have been excruciating as a Celtics fan.
It’s easy to harp on about the number of turnovers that Boston had yet again and point to those as the reason for their defeat.
AND THERE WOULD CERTAINLY BE SOME TRUTH IN THAT…
But it would not tell the whole story. The Warriors just looked a more capable, organized unit both offensively and defensively. Boston had no real answer to their levels of intensity and pace. Surprising, given how they showed exactly those qualities in Game 3.
It was always going to be an uphill battle when Stephen Curry made a return to form and they will surely rue that they failed to capitalize on his extraordinary dip in form in Game 5.
It would be unfair to attribute the win to a lack of composure from Boston and it is more suitable to praise the work-ethic, teamwork, and skillset of a Golden State Warriors team that simply looked better than their opponents. There is no shame in that but the fact that they looked like they wanted it more might give a few onlookers pause for thought.
And so we look to the next exhilarating instalment of the greatest sporting spectacle on Earth. A few short weeks to catch your breath and reflect, then we go again.
Here at The Jump Hub, we can’t wait…
ORIGINAL GAME 6 PREVIEW BELOW:
Game type: NBA Finals
Game 6 of 7 (first to 4 wins)
Venue: TD Gardens, Massachusetts
Date (local): Thursday 16th June
Time (Local): 9 pm (ET)
Date (Aus): Friday 17th June
Time (Aus): 11 am
Away Team: Golden State Warriors
Home Team: Boston Celtics
Away Win Odds @ 2.33
Home Win Odds @ 1.61
Away Line: +3.5 @ 1.90
Home Line: -3.5 @ 1.90
Total Points: Over +209.5 @ 1.90
Total Points: Under +209.5 @ 1.90
The Golden State Warriors went into Game 5 with a 10/1 record at home in the Playoffs.
Not to be outdone, the Boston Celtics were 8/3 away from home and 7/0 following a loss.
THE STAGE WAS SET FOR ANOTHER INTENSE BATTLE…
And that was evident in some sections of the game but was not the defining sensation tonight.
It was an abysmal display of shooting by both teams.
3-pointers? Boston ended the game 3/15. Golden State 3/17. Shocking
In a situation that nobody saw coming after his performance in Game 4, Stephen Curry failed to hit a single 3-point shot in an NBA game for the first time since late 2018. Unbelievable.
Boston Celtics will be inconsolable that they did not capitalize on the situation and experienced their first consecutive loss in the NBA Playoffs this season.
18 turnovers and some very lackluster shooting are just not good enough at this stage of the competition.
That’s why you get the result we see here:
94-104 FULL TIME
Looking forward to Game 6
How do the performances in Game 5 affect the psyche of the players and coaches?
What needs to change in order for Boston to force a 7th, deciding game?
The only way back for them as far as we’re concerned here at The Jump Hub, is to revert to their Game 3 tactics. They blitzed GSW from start (almost) to finish and dominated them in pace and physicality.
If Stephen Curry has even a partial return to form, then they will have all kinds of problems. They must retain possession and keep those turnovers down.
Easier said than done…
If they use their superior size and youthfulness to their best advantage then they can break the Warriors’ flow.
But it is now or never…
THE JUMP HUB TIPS:
Here are some facts we considered when choosing our bets for Game 6.
The Boston Celtics have won their last three NBA Playoff games when facing elimination
14 of the last 18 games between the Warriors and Celtics have ended UNDER the total match points line
The home team has covered the line in 12 of the Warriors’ last 16 games.
Take all of this into account when placing your bets. However, our only tip for this game is this:
Tip 1: Market = Line
We believe that Boston will bounce back and cover the line of -3.5 points at TD Gardens, so take the points starts at odds @ 1.90
Give it a whirl…
Odds supplied by: sportsbet.com