After a stellar second half of the regular season and three consecutive hard-fought playoff battles against some of the league’s most ferocious ball clubs, the Boston Celtics find themselves facing one more grueling challenge, as they’re gearing up for an illustrious NBA Finals matchup against the Golden State Warriors.
Heading into Thursday’s Game 1, the C’s are widely considered underdogs, both for the outing and in this series as a whole, as the Dubs find themselves in possession of homecourt advantage and finished the year off tied for the third-best record in the entire association.
That said, considering how Boston has consistently beaten the odds all year long–going 31-10 over the final 41 games played and finishing in the east’s second seed despite starting off 20-21 and stationed outside looking in on the playoff picture by the midway point–, from a completely unbiased perspective, we at HH believe that Ime Udoka’s team can once again shock the world.
With this in mind, however, by no means will accomplishing this feat be a walk in the park for the shamrocks. Despite their recent track record of surpassing expectations, Golden State is a team that’s battle-tested and hungry to capitalize on this glorious opportunity after enduring two consecutive injury-plagued campaigns.
While we strongly believe that the Boston Celtics have a decent shot at coming out of this series victorious and raising banner No. 18 into the rafters back at TD Garden, we also can’t just gloss over the fact that the Warriors have several advantages on their side heading into the NBA Finals.
Though we promise to remain rather positive and to continue pushing out content on why we believe the C’s could actually win it all, for devil’s advocate’s sake, we at the Houdini believe that these are the 3 major advantages the Dubs have over Boston heading into this series:
Disadvantage for Boston Celtics No. 1) Depth
While the bulk of attention heads straight toward Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson (i.e. their two more entertaining offensive players for the better part of the past decade) when one thinks about the Golden State Warriors, this team is far more than just one or two players.
They’re the epitome of a well-rounded team.
Yes, in the modern-day NBA, it makes sense that the team’s main two guards would generate the most buzz, but, frankly, they’re far from being considered the backbones of this team, regardless of their respective star statuses.
Just like how Marcus Smart and Al Horford are for the Boston Celtics, the Warriors find their heart and soul in the shape of do-it-all forward, Draymond Green who, throughout this year’s postseason run, has found himself continuing to put up truly sound averages of 8.7 points, 6.9 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 1.1 blocks, and just shy of a steal per game on 54 percent shooting from the field.
Alongside these aforementioned players, the Warriors also have two more impressive talents in Andrew Wiggins and Jordan Poole who, on any given night, can go absolutely nuclear and drop 20+ points with relative ease (averaging 15.8 and 18.4 points, respectively, this postseason).
While the C’s do have quite a bit of depth themselves, it’s somewhat hard to compare theirs to Golden State’s, especially from an offensive standpoint for the Dubs have at least four players who have proven themselves capable of taking over a contest through their lethal scoring prowess while Boston really only has two of such players in stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
From a defensive standpoint as well, one could make the argument that, despite the fact that the Celtics finished the season off as the top unit on this side of the ball, the Warriors have just as much individual firepower in this area as well, as they have Green (former Defensive Player of the Year and a 7 All-Defensive selection), Thompson (an All-Defensive selection last time he played a full regular season), Wiggins (just notched his highest Defensive Rating of 111 whilst averaging a block per game), Otto Porter Jr. (career Defensive Rating of 107), and, if all goes well, Andrew Iguodala (a multi-time All-Defensive selection) and Gary Payton II.
With their cast of characters, the team was able to finish off the regular season as the second-best defense in the league, boasting a Defensive Rating of 106.6 (just .4 behind the C’s).
Overall, this team boasts one of the best all-around rotations in the entire league, and that has a ton to do with their stellar depth.