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It’s can’t lose basketball for Boston as they trail the Warriors 3-2. Mark Ross is here to provide his NBA Finals Game 6 preview.

After four games it was impossible to separate the Boston Celtics and the Golden State Warriors. Game 5 in San Francisco was set up to be pivotal in the race to the trophy. Both teams have been favourites multiple times throughout this series but it is the Golden State Warriors that have taken a big leap towards lifting that trophy once again. Golden States’ odds to lift the trophy are now at 1/4 compared to the Celtics at 3/1 after a huge Game 5 victory.

Firstly, let’s have a look at what happened in Game 4. Both teams kept the same starting lineups from Game 3 with the Warriors going small and leaving Kevon Looney on the bench. It only took 30 seconds for the Boston Celtics to have their first turnover of the game. An issue that has plagued them throughout the series. Golden States’ issue so far has been the lack of play from Draymond Green. That issue was not apparent early in the first quarter. An assist on the first play of the game and a few early baskets got the big man going. He did ultimately foul out of the game but at least he contributed something before he did. Warriors jumped out to a huge 27-16 lead after one.

Boston was meant to be the defensive team in this series but Game 5 started with the Warriors dominating defensively. Boston started zero for twelve from the three-point range. Great perimeter defense from the Warriors as they know that the Celtics will need the three-pointers to keep up. Boston finally showed up in the second quarter. Jayson Tatum got some points from difficult shots as the Celtics took advantage of the players coming off the bench for the Warriors and the early foul trouble they found themselves in. Unfortunately for Boston, the turnover worries continued which meant Golden State was able to hold on to their 51-39 lead at the half.

The usual dominance from Golden State in the third quarter was missing in Game 5 as the Celtics found their range from downtown. What happened to Steph Curry? This was the sort of game we were expecting in Game 4 when he was coming off his ankle injury but he turned that into 43 points. No three-pointers in the first half and he continued his struggles in the second half as he finished the game without a single three-pointer for the first time in what feels like forever. Boston however, were lights out from beyond the arc. After starting so poorly the Celtics made eight in a row to take a lead with seconds left in the third quarter. Luckily for the Warriors, Jordan Poole made a ridiculous 35-foot three-pointer as time expired in the third to keep the Warriors up by 75-74.

Foul trouble and a Poole party dominated the start of the fourth as Boston struggled early. It took them just shy of four minutes to get a basket in the final quarter, not exactly championship quality. Curry continued to struggle but luckily for him and his head coach, Andrew Wiggins dominated at both ends of the court. He finished the game with 26 points and 13 rebounds as the Celtics had no answer for the former number one pick. Heading into Game 6 the Celtics can’t rely on just taking Steph Curry out of the game. The Warriors’ role players showed that they are a lot more than just “role” players. Despite Steph Curry not being involved anything like as much as usual, the Warriors took Game 5 104-94.


Now onto Game 6

Golden State has the chance to win the finals in an opposing team’s building.  If they want to do that they will need to jump out to an early lead and silence that boisterous Boston Crowd. Boston goes into Game 6 as the 11/20 favourites to level the series compared to Golden State to win Game 6 at 13/10. What’s that famous phrase, “winners win”. Golden State has the chance to end it and will be looking to do that at 2 am on Thursday morning.

Losing Game 5 meant that the Celtics have lost back-to-back games in these playoffs for the first time and it will take a lot to get over that. Golden State has to jump on that and really put some doubt into this young Celtics team. Boston however has to come out firing at home. Boston is currently at 8/11 to get to 40 points first and the same odds to get to 50. If the Celtics are to win this game they will need to keep Steph Curry quiet again (no easy feat) and find a way to stop his supporting cast.

Best Tips

So, my favourite bets heading into Game 6. As mentioned, this is a huge game for the Celtics as they hope to keep their title shot alive. Huge games call for huge players and Jayson Tatum has yet to have that signature performance in this series. That being said this could be just the time for a Tatum explosion. Boston Celtics win with Jayson Tatum scoring over 27.5 points, over 7.5 assists, and over 3.5 threes made at 19/2. Tatum has been an assist machine throughout this series and has had his hot spells from beyond the arc. In a vital game, he will have to put it all together if he wants to force a Game 7.

As for Golden State, the Celtics showed that they can stop the impact that Steph Curry can have the only issue is they can’t do that and stop all the other stars the Warriors have. Draymond Green has struggled in TD Garden but look for him to be motivated to prove the doubters wrong after a better performance in Game 5. At the intriguing odds of 15/2, is a Warriors win with a handicap of +3.5, and Green to have over 8.5 points and over 6.5 assists. Green is another player who is due a big performance in this series and with Steph Curry being defended against as soon as he enters the Boston half-court, the Warriors’ chances are going to come to the other experienced players on this team.

Personally, I think we will be going to Game 7 in San Francisco and for that reason, I will be going with a Boston Celtics win with a -3.5 handicap, Tatum to score over 28.5 points, Marcus Smart to chip in with over 5.5 assists, and Steph Curry to do all he can with over 4.5 threes made at 21/2.

Odds are correct at the time of posting

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