The Splash Brothers are back. So are the Golden State Warriors. After a spate of devastating injuries and player departures that ended their title run in 2019, the Warriors spent the last two years getting healthy, rebuilding their core, and restoring the chemistry that took them to five consecutive finals between 2015-2019. Now they have reached the cusp of glory once more, four wins away from their fourth title in eight years. It will also be their sixth finals appearance in eight years, matching the Chicago Bulls great run of the 1990s (the Bulls won six titles).
The Celtics Are Solid Contenders
But don’t crown the Dubs just yet. The Warriors will face a stout opponent in a battle-tested, road-friendly Boston Celtics squad. The Celtics core of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, and Al Horford has been together for years (with Horford leaving and then returning). Together they have reached several conference finals, but this is their first finals appearance as a group. It wasn’t easy. On their route to the finals, they faced a gauntlet of stars and had to win multiple games on the road to survive. In the opening round, the Celtics swept Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and the Brooklyn Nets, winning twice at Barclay’s Center. They then outlasted Giannis Antetokounmpo and the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks in 7 games, with the Celtics again winning twice on their opponent’s home floor. They then won Game 7 on the road in Miami to advance, weathering several brilliant performances from Heat star Jimmy Butler. In total, they won three games in Miami.
The Warriors Are Poised For Success
On the Warriors side, it was smoother sailing. They opened against an overmatched and undermanned Denver Nuggets team, easily vanquishing MVP Nikola Jokić and supporting cast in five quick games. They then faced off against the highly touted, undaunted, and ‘drippy’ Memphis Grizzlies. Veterans Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green withstood a tremendous effort from Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, and Jaren Jackson, Jr. to take the series in a testy six games. They shook off a 39-point drubbing on the road in game five to close out the series by a comfortable margin back in San Francisco. In the conference finals the much-anticipated showdown with the Phoenix Suns never materialized as the Dallas Mavericks stunned the Suns in seven. Led by Andrew Wiggins, the Warriors took down the Mavs in just five games, leaving Mavs superstar Luka Doncic feeling harassed and harried by the Dubs relentless defensive pressure.
Considering the Odds
Las Vegas has installed the Warriors as the favorite at -150 and have attracted most of the betting action from the public. But this is a Celtics team that were the best in the league after the All-Star Game and have fought through a murderer’s row of tough Eastern Conference foes. It’s sure to be a series to remember, either for the restoration of Bay Area dominance or the renaissance of one of the league’s most storied franchises.
Get into the NBA Action
Catch all the action beginning from June 2 through June 19 on ABC. For more on dates, times, and channels for the NBA Finals, check out our full breakdown. And don’t forget—new DIRECTV STREAM customers ordering CHOICE or ULTIMATE Package can get HBO Max, SHOWTIME, STARZ, EPIX, and Cinemax included for the first 3 months!
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