Midway through the first quarter in game 1, it looked like there would only be one outcome but a team with zero finals experience made an improbable comeback with their backs seemingly against the ropes. 

Boston Celtics

Even with Jayson Tatum being held to 12 points in a bad shooting performance, the Celtics still held on to win. Golden State planned their defensive schemes around Tatum. Instead, he flourished in a playmaker role and delivered 13 assists. The real star of the show was Al Horford. He excelled in his role and put up an excellent game. 26-points on 8-for-12 shooting including a season-high six 3-pointers. He scored 11 of those points in the fourth-quarter comeback. After 15 seasons, Al Horford finally has his time to shine on the biggest stage. 

Derrick White continues to be the X-factor for this Celtics team. He scored 21 points off the bench with a slew of 3-pointers. His defense has also been vital in the attempt to slow down Steph Curry. The Celtics shot 21 threes in game 1 and it’s hard to see them repeating that level of precision. Going into game 2, both teams will be more aware of defending the 3-point line. The Celtics are first in the league in Defensive Rating and second in 3-point percentage.

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Golden State Warriors

The Warriors started game 1 on fire. Steph Curry finished with 34 points and seven 3-pointers. He set the tone early with the 21 points in the first quarter. However, this prevented his teammates from getting into a rhythm. Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Jordan Poole went a combined 10 of 33 from the field. Only Curry and Andrew Wiggins scored 20 or more points for Golden State in Game 1. The Warriors need more production from their secondary stars to be successful in Game 2 of the finals.

Otto Porter Jr. and Andre Iguodala made an immediate impact with their return to the rotation. Porter had four 3-pointers and 12 points, and Iguodala looked sharp considering his long 12-game layoff. However, head coach Steve Kerr kept them in way too long in the fourth quarter as the Celtics started mounting their comeback. Gary Payton II was available for Game 1 but did not see any minutes. 

That is expected to change on Sunday. Payton has proven to be an elite on-ball defender, and the Warriors need his length and defensive tenacity. Overall, the Dubs still hit 19 3-pointers at a 42.2% rate but struggled down the stretch. The Warriors can not afford to lose game 2 or it could be a real battle to get back. The public and general narratives are backing Golden State to bounce back. Game 2 of the NBA Finals promises to be an exciting one. 

Prediction – Golden State 109 – Celtics 103