Celtics Beat Heavily Favored Warriors in Possible NBA Finals Preview
Posted on: November 17, 2017, 03:00h.
Last updated on: November 17, 2017, 11:13h.
The Boston Celtics showed what the NBA Finals could look like this coming June and it might be more interesting than fans thought. The Celtics defeated the Golden State Warriors on Thursday, 92-88 in Boston.
The home team was a seven-point underdog but won outright, using a physical style that sent newly acquired All-Star guard Kyrie Irving to the free throw line three times with less than four minutes remaining. He made all six attempts and it was the difference in the game.
The strategy might provide a blueprint for other teams, though the defending NBA Champions weren’t happy about it. Klay Thompson, the man charged with guarding Irving, sarcastically told reporters after the game that his technique must be flawed.
“I guess, I can’t foul,” he said. “I have to give him more space when he drives, I guess. That’s what I’ll do next time.”
Sportsbooks were giving the Larry O’Brien Trophy to Golden State before the season began. They opened as 5-8 favorites and are currently at 5-12 to win their third title in four years. The next closest team was the Cleveland Cavaliers who opened at 5-2 and have slipped to 4-1.
LeBron James and his team have struggled since letting Irving test free agency. The team is 8-7 and replacements at guard have failed to make the team better.
The Celtics meanwhile have the best record in basketball and have won 14 consecutive games after losing their first two. The squad has now become the team that could challenge the Warriors. They have seen their odds improve from 15-1 to now 10-1.
“I think now that we have a reputation, everybody’s coming for us,” said forward Jaylen Brown, who scored 22 points. “So now, we have to play even harder, and I think we can do that. They wrote us off coming in, saying Golden State was going to beat us and do this, do that. We came out and played basketball.”
This is not the first time Golden State has been beaten, but it was how they lost that attracted people’s attention. They were leading by five at halftime and then watched as Boston began a second-half comeback, outscoring them, 50-41 in the last two quarters.
Irving says Defense is the Key.
“We cut down on some of the mistakes that we were making on the defensive end and really just started being communicative and understanding that we have a chance to be in this if we take it possession by possession,” he said. “Make them miss a few shots and then get out in transition. They do an unbelievable job in pushing at you, so when you push back at them, it becomes a different game.”
This was the fourth loss this season for the Warriors. They lost to Houston on opening night by a point and have had defeats to Detroit and Memphis. At this time last season they had only two losses and didn’t get their fourth until Dec. 10.
So far they have been frustrating to bettors. They have been favored in every game they have played this year. The fewest points they have been selected to win by have been seven and the most has been 14 ½. Against the spread they are 7-7 and have the same mark on the over/under.