Celtics or Warriors? Our editors share their NBA Finals predictions | NBA Finals

What the Warriors must do to win

If Golden State play Warriors Basketball™ (ball flies like a hot potato, everyone eats) they can win this series pretty easily. They also have the luxury of a potential Steph Curry or Klay Thompson supernova every night, which is helpful. But if they’re playing their brand of basketball, they don’t necessarily need it. CDL

If Golden State has proven one thing over the years, it’s that when they’re healthy and playing their style of basketball, it’s hard enough to beat them in one game, let alone four. With three different players returning from injury for the finals, the health issue is at least resolved. TF

Stay healthy and keep their big three (Curry, Thompson, Draymond Green) out of Covid-19 protocols? Honestly, if the well-rested Warriors play their style of basketball, exploit Boston’s mental weaknesses (see below), and prevent Jayson Tatum from having a final performance for the ages, the Warriors should win their fourth title of the century. . HF

The Warriors will win if they build on their playoff experience and overwhelm the young Celtics. Curry, Green and Thompson have played in 82 NBA Finals games combined. By comparison, the entire Boston team will debut in the Finals. Additionally, the Warriors are equipped with a high-octane attack that can burst into flames at any time. Curry and Thompson will lead the way, but they’re close to unbeatable if Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins can also be explosive offensively. ARS

What the Celtics must do to win

The Celtics got here thanks in large part to their defensive prowess. They’ve been the league’s No. 1 ranked defense since the start of 2022. They’ll need to play the tougher version of that defense to topple an offensive juggernaut like the Warriors. CDL

stay healthy. Several key players – primarily Marcus Smart and Robert Williams III – have been in and out of the lineup to such an extent that you’d think they were tossing a coin to decide if they were going to play on any given night. If this trend continues, Boston is in danger. TF

When the Celtics fire on all cylinders, they’re unstoppable. Unfortunately for them, they always seem to get in their own way. Boston cannot afford to make their job more difficult by committing unforced turnovers, staging inexplicably bad quarters and/or letting officials get in the way. The more experienced warriors will make them pay if they do. HF

The Celtics will win if they stay tenacious in defense. While facing the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Celtics held the Heat to several low-scoring quarterbacks, including an 11-point first quarter in Game 4. The Celtics can also increase their chances of victory if Al Horford and Robert Williams are able to dominate the paint. ARS

Your NBA Finals MVP will be

Stephen Curry already has a pretty hefty trophy case (among his accolades are three NBA championships and two regular-season MVPs) but it contains a somewhat surprising and sometimes controversial omission: he’s never won a Finals MVP. I bet this is the year that changes for him. CDL

The man, the myth, the legend, Curry himself. I could have easily gone with Andrew Wiggins here, but when I look at the stars at night, they always seem so aligned for Steph to finally get his Finals MVP trophy and elevate his legacy a little more. TF

The smart money is on Steph Curry, sure, but let’s not forget that fellow Splash Brother Klay Thompson is able to pick up the slack by setting up a long-range shooting streak of a series that could leave even Boston’s famed defense struggling for answers, especially if their game plans focus on Steph to start the series. HF

Jayson Tatum. In the Eastern Conference Finals, Tatum was able to consistently initiate his offense against a stingy Heat defense that stifled Trae Young and James Harden in earlier rounds. Tatum won’t face as much defensive pressure as he faces the adequate, but not great, defenders Thompson and Wiggins. Tatum will average nearly 30 points per game to earn MVP honors. ARS

Unknown player to watch

In many ways, this series relies on the efficiency of the Celtics’ defense and, by transitive property, on the Time Lord, Robert WilliamsIII. He may be their most versatile defender, but he’s been down with a knee injury and certainly didn’t look like himself in Miami’s series. If he can still be a fraction closer to 100% in the Finals, his defensive skills give the Celtics a real chance. CDL

Gary PaytonII has been out for several weeks breaking his elbow against Memphis, and some people may have forgotten how much of an impact he can have on the Warriors. That elbow injury could impact his shooting ability on his return, but he’s such a superb defender that perhaps it doesn’t matter too much. TF

Andre Wiggins has had arguably the weirdest career so far of any Finals entrant, going from No. 1 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft to Border Rookie of the Year with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Luckily for him, he rediscovered his shot with the Warriors and saved some of his best basketballs for the playoffs. It’s hard not to cheer him on, even if you hate the Warriors. HF

Al Horford. The 15-year-old veteran will finally shake off the dubious accolade of having played the most postseason games without reaching an NBA Finals. Throughout the playoffs, Horford found ways to make game-changing plays with defense and timely three-point shooting. He might be the biggest X-factor in the series. ARS

Robert WilliamsIII
Boston center Robert Williams III, right, has been an important defensive presence for the Celtics. Photograph: Wilfredo Lee/AP

A bold prediction

Again, Stephen Curry should finally get his long-awaited Finals MVP this year, which would mean the Warriors won the chip. But if the Celtics pull off an upset here, I call it now: Al Horford is going to have his moment in the sun and win the Finals MVP against all odds, André Iguodala style. CDL

The commentary teams campaign for Mark Jackson to find a job. Jackson laid the foundation for the Warriors dynasty, but to date has not been given another coaching job. Expect at least one of his fellow commentators to hit the table begging a team – any team – to hire this man. TF

We get a repetition of the Al Horford game. The Celtics needed an all-time game from 35-year-old big man Al Horford to win Game 4 of their epic series against the Milwaukee Bucks, where he scored 30 points on 11-for-14 shooting. was out of place for Horford, who is more of a consummate glue guy than someone who compiles flashy stat lines, but if Boston still needs him, look for a repeat performance. HF

Nia Long and Deuce Tatum will find ways to go viral. Long, the fiancee of Celtics head coach Ime Udoka, and Deuce, the son of Jayson Tatum, both caught the eye off the court with viral moments during the playoffs. We can expect Long, an accomplished actress, to celebrate the wins with a joyous dance and four-year-old Deuce to support her dad’s teammates, causing a social media frenzy. ARS

How would this Warriors team have fared against LeBron’s Cavs in the 2015-18 Finals?

This team is actually much deeper, in many ways, than the pre-Kevin Durant Golden State teams of years past. But as LeBron’s self-confessed stan, I can’t help but be optimistic that at the peak of his powers, he could have conquered a team without Durant featuring 34-year-old Stephen Curry and an unpredictable version of Klay Thompson returning from two serious leg injuries. CDL

Pretty good. One of the few advantages the Cavs had over the 2015-18 Warriors was their superior athletics. While Steph, Klay and Draymond may be older now, the rest of this Warriors roster are far more athletic than their predecessors. TF

As fun as Warriors history is, if you want to transport them back in time to 2015-2018, Cavaliers win at least one more title. Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green are all older after all and Kevin Durant (who was Finals MVP in 2017 and 2018) wouldn’t be making the return trip. These warriors don’t quite have a death line, but rather a medically induced coma line. HF

The 2021-22 Warriors are good, but the 2015-18 Warriors were great. It was a team that could have rivaled any of the best NBA teams in history, including the 1997 Chicago Bulls or the 2001 LA Lakers. However, this year’s Warriors team would probably win two games against the Cavs team that included LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. ARS

The winner will be…

Warriors 4-2 Celtics. There are a lot of nuances in predicting who will win the Larry O’Brien Trophy. But let’s keep it simple: we’ve been through too many years of basketball to bet against a healthy Stephen Curry, who is still the greatest shooter the NBA has ever seen. CDL

Warriors 4-2 Celtics. Let’s focus on coaching and experience. Or, in Boston’s case, lack thereof. Ime Udoka did an outstanding job of reaching the final in his first season as head coach, but he made some questionable decisions at the end of the season. Steve Kerr and his nucleus have been here several times before: that experience could prove crucial under the bright lights of the finals. TF

Warriors 4-2 Celtics. These Celtics could pull off the upset: While they had a rocky start to the season, struggling to maintain a .500 record while rookie head coach Ime Udoka adjusted to his new role, Boston ended up being the best team in the NBA since the start of 2022. However, their inexperience forced them to play more playoff games than they probably should have. Look for them to score a big road win before the Warriors take over the series. HF

Celtics 4-3 Warriors. It’s conventional to side with Golden State, which has the experience advantage and the home court advantage. Yet this Celtics team seems predestined. They decimated a Nets team led by Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving; they bottled up Giannis Antetokoumpo just enough to eliminate the defending champions; they outlasted a top-seeded Heat team. They’re a team that won’t falter, even against the more tried and true Warriors. ARS

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