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The Celtics’ size and defensive prowess are becoming difficult for the Warriors to figure out

The Celtics size, and defensive prowess
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images.

The Boston Celtics now have a 2-1 lead on the Golden State Warriors in the 2022 NBA Finals. They won by a score of 116-100. Star players Steph Curry and Klay Thompson combined for 56 points in Wednesday’s game, but their efforts were still not reasonable enough. That’s because the Celtics’ length across the court and their efficiency on defense are proving to be a complex problem for the Warriors.

“We have to factor in what’s happening on the floor, what we need,” Steve Kerr said. “Do we need floor spacing? Do we need better rebounding? And we were kind of plugging holes tonight. They did a good job. They earned the win. They put a lot of pressure on us, and (it) felt like we were kind of swimming upstream most of the night. So we weren’t able to find that two-way combination other than that stretch in the third when Steph really got hot. Couldn’t find the right combination to strike that balance.”

Golden State was outrebounded by Boston 47 to 31 and was also dominated in the turnover battle. Based on the optics of the series with Boston, it is starting to have the same outcome as the matchup against the Toronto Raptors in 2019.

Despite not having the presence of Kevin Durant at the time, Golden State did not have enough within the interior to deal with Toronto’s physicality. As a result, the Warriors would lose the series against Toronto 4-2. The defeat also ended Golden State’s five straight NBA Finals appearances. Are these issues against Boston solvable, or will the Warriors deal with the flaws of their roster and put the best effort forward?

There was a moment in the game where Golden State had erased an 18-point deficit, but the Celtics would regain focus and retake the lead. They tried to shoot their way back into Wednesday night’s game against Boston, but it was not enough to sustain their momentum. As the game got into the fourth quarter, the shots no longer went through as the Celtics cruised to a Game 3 victory.

Even though their effectiveness behind the three-point line is what makes them unique, they must get physical with the Celtics. Boston allowed them to score from the perimeter because they knew it would not last for the entire game, especially if the scoring came only from Curry and Thompson. Andrew Wiggins, one of the Warriors’ more athletic players, contributed 18 points, but it had no impact on the game. Despite the 25 points from Thompson, the team needed a flashback performance from the five-time all-star. Boston’s trio of Jayson Tatum, Jaylon Brown, and Marcus Smart scored 20 or more points in the matchup against Golden State.

The Warriors needed someone other than Curry and Thompson to counter what those three players contributed in a Game 3. Some analysts suggest that Kerr should allow players such as Jonathan Kuminga and Mosses Moody to have a more prominent role in the series against Boston. Both players can provide a much-needed energy boost for a Warriors starting five that looks exhausted. The next game between the Warriors and Celtics will be on Friday, June 10. Boston will have an opportunity to go up 3-1 on Golden State and possibly win the series. However, if the Warriors lose another chance to win their fourth championship in eight seasons, the glaring areas to improve will be in plain sight.

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Meet Derrick Branch, the founder and chief wordsmith at Strike 7 Sports. With a sharp focus on the NFL and the NBA, Derrick's expertise in sports is matched only by his passion for sharing it with others. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communications from the prestigious University of Arizona Global. Let his insightful and engaging writing take you to the heart of the action.

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