The Celtics are 2-1 in the 2022 NBA Finals. The Warriors' numbers are scary before Friday's Game 4.
Winning Game 3 of a tied Finals has led to victory 82% of the time. The Celtics have an 88% probability of winning the title, according to FiveThirtyEight. ESPN's rating is 91.3.
They're not done yet. The last time they looked this physically outmatched was in the 2016 Western Conference Finals against the Oklahoma City Thunder. To count out Stephen Curry until he's out is ridiculous.
It seems like Boston is in charge, though. Every time their hold slipped in the postseason, the Celtics immediately made changes, regained their composure, and kept winning.
This tendency even precedes postseason. 50 games into 2021-22, Boston was.500. Celtics fan Bill Simmons wanted a "break" The Sporting News and FanNation both want "change" Coach Ime Udoka was upset. A lot
The players got used to Udoka's switch-heavy system. Jayson Tatum's FG% soared following Dec. 1. The front office acquired Derrick White on Feb. Boston dominated the rest of the regular season.
Throughout the playoffs, the Celtics have experienced intermittent identity lapses, but they never last.
Brooklyn Nets kept Game 1 close thanks to Kyrie Irving's 39 points. Then, Boston made him Marcus Smart's assignment (after it was split fairly evenly between Smart and Jaylen Brown in Game 1).
Kyrie averaged 15.3 points and shot 37.2% in the remaining games. Tatum, Brown, and Grant Williams made life hard for Kevin Durant (he shot 38.6 percent from the field in the series).
The next round, Boston lost Game 1 against Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks. For the rest of the series, the Celtics defended Giannis with Al Horford and Robert Williams III and shot less mid-range
27.4 percent in Game 1, compared to 20.5 percent the rest of the way
Against the Miami Heat, the Celtics bounced back from a disheartening Game 6 loss, took better care of the ball in Game 7, and overcame Jimmy Butler's huge output.
And now, on the grandest stage, Boston keeps counterpunching.
Udoka's team's drop coverage versus Curry pick-and-rolls has been tweaked.
In Game 3, he benched Robert Williams in the first and third quarters.
Boston is plus-19 in the series without Horford or Williams. -2 when both are in.
The Celtics targeted Draymond Green more. One time, Brown waived off a ball screen to isolate Green.
Boston may force Warriors coach Steve Kerr to make a tough call with Green being targeted on defence and contributing little on offence. The series is -7 for Green. Kevon Looney is a plus-15.
Boston will respond if he does, as it has all playoffs. Looney's had a great playoff run, but can he beat Horford and the Celtics' one-big lineups?
The Celtics have addressed every question for months and can generate some for their final opponent.
Brilliant roster construction is on display.
Boston's two-big combination is deceiving due to Horford's versatility. The other three starters, Smart, Tatum, and Brown, have no position. With the exception of Payton Pritchard, their major reserves
Nobody in the league is better. Old against. new. And bigs. Perimeter, internal defence. Shooting. Volume scorers. One star.
It's easy to see why the Celtics have responded well this postseason (they haven't lost two in a row).
While Curry is the greatest player in the series, it's hard to see him beating Boston (and has done).