The Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors square off in the 2022 NBA Finals after the Celtics needed seven games to defeat the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals, and after the Warriors knocked out the Dallas Mavericks in five games to win the Western Conference title.
The Warriors won 53 games this season and secured home-court advantage in the NBA Finals over the 51-win Celtics. The NBA Finals begin with the first two games at the Chase Center in San Francisco starting with Game 1 on Thursday. The Warriors opened Game 1 as a -3.5 favorite.
|Golden State Warriors (53-39) vs Boston Celtics (51-31)|
|2022 NBA Finals Series Odds
|Golden State Warriors -150||Boston Celtics +130|
|NBA FINALS: Warriors/Celtics Schedule (Best of 7)|
- Game 1: June 2 – Celtics at Warriors
- Game 2: June 5 – Celtics at Warriors
- Game 3: June 8 – Warriors at Celtics
- Game 4: June 10 – Warriors at Celtics
- Game 5: June 13 – Celtics at Warriors
- Game 6: June 16 – Warriors at Celtics
- Game 7: June 19 – Celtics at Warriors
The Warriors have been the consensus betting favorite to win the 2022 NBA Championship ever since the Suns were upset by the Mavs in the Western Conference semifinals. You can currently back the Warriors at -150 odds to win the championship, whereas the Celtics are +130 odds.
NBA Finals history: Warriors and Celtics
The Celtics are tied with the Lakers as the most successful franchise in NBA history with 17 championships apiece. The Celtics last won a title in 2008 when they notched their 17th championship under head coach Doc Rivers.
The Warriors return to the NBA Finals for the first time since they were the runner-up in 2019 to the Toronto Raptors. This current trip to the NBA Finals marks the sixth trip to the championship series in the last eight seasons. The Warriors won three titles since 2015 and are seeking a fourth under head coach Steve Kerr.
The Warriors won two titles as the Philadelphia Warriors in 1947 and 1956. They won their first as a West Coast team in 1975 as the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors are tied with Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls with six championships. Only the Celtics and Lakers have won more NBA titles.
“For our team, our guys, especially the core group, to be part of that six times in eight years, I don’t even know what to say,” said Kerr. “It just takes an enormous amount of skill and determination and work.”
This isn’t the first time these two franchises have met in a championship series. In the 1963-64 season, the San Francisco Warriors battled the Boston Celtics in the 1964 NBA Finals during the first meeting between future Hall of Famers Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell. The Celtics beat the Warriors in five games to win their sixth-consecutive championship.
Celtics: Top D, love the 3
The Celtics started the season 18-21 under rookie head coach Ime Udoka. They turned everything around in January with their switching defense to finish the season on a 33-10 run. During the regular season, the Celtics had the top defense in the NBA, allowing only 104.5 ppg. The Celtics were ranked #1 in opponents’ field goal percentage (43.3%) and 3-point shooting (33.9%).
In 18 postseason games, the Celtics allowed 101 ppg, which is ranked #2 overall in opponent scoring. They were also the second-best team at opposing field goal percentage (43.4%) and 3-point shooting (31.7%). The Celtics achieved those stellar numbers despite Robert Williams and Marcus Smart both missing multiple games due to injuries.
“We know what we’re here to play for, and I don’t think any of our guys are awed or intimidated by the moment at all,” said Udoka. “And we understand what it is. We know the opponent in front of us. And for us, as always, this year it’s been business as usual. Going on the road, not fazed by that at all. We’re really looking forward to it.”
The Celtics will have their hands full keeping the Warriors — and the Splash Brothers — in check. The way this postseason has been going, the NBA Finals might come down to a 3-point shooting contest.
The Celtics averaged 37 treys per game and connected on 36% of them. Al Horford and Grant Williams both averaged 4.4 3-point attempts per game, with Horford leading the Celtics with 43.2% and Williams second at 40.5%. Among their high-volume long-range bombers, Jaylen Brown averaged 38.6% from deep, followed by Jayson Tatum (37.5%) and Marcus Smart (33%).
Boston’s offense relies heavily on Tatum (27 ppg) and Brown (22.9 ppg), and whichever role player steps up on any given night.
Warriors: return of the Splash Brothers
After missing the last two postseasons due to injuries to Thompson and Curry, the Warriors are back to the NBA Finals. Curry (25.9 ppg) and Thompson (19.8 ppg) lead the Warrior in scoring this postseason, but the team also has other reliable scorers, including Jordan Poole (18.4 ppg), who’s been dubbed the third “Splash Brother” during a sensational postseason.
Andrew Wiggins (15.8 ppg) proved he’s a valuable two-way player who drew a tough defensive assignment guarding Luka Doncic in the Western Conference semifinals. Wiggins and Draymond Green will take turns trying to contain Tatum in the Finals.
The Warriors are synonymous with scoring and a high-octane offense, but that doesn’t mean you should overlook their defense. During the regular season, the Warriors allowed only 105.5 ppg and were ranked #3 overall in scoring defense. They were the best team defending the 3-pointer at 33.% and second-best in defense, allowing just 43.8% from the floor. Their perimeter defense isn’t as air-tight in the postseason though, allowing opponents to knock down 36.5% of their 3-point attempts.
The Warriors averaged two fewer 3-point attempts than the Celtics this postseason, but they both connected on 13.5 treys per game. If the NBA Finals comes down to 3-point shooting, the Warriors have three equally tough snipers with Thompson (39.9%), Poole (39.3%), and Curry (38%).
Check out more coverage of the 2022 NBA playoffs.