The Boston Celtics defended their home court, survived a third-quarter barrage and took a 2-1 series lead in Game 3. Now they face a desperate Warriors team trying to avoid going down 3-1 before the series shifts back to the Bay. After an outstanding offensive performance in Game 2, can Boston bring the same amount of energy and assert total control of the series?

Golden State Warriors 

Steph Curry hurt his ankle in game 3 and that moment raised concern for everyone watching. At media availability on Thursday, Curry confirmed he would play. He’s probably in discomfort and he’ll need treatment for what is being described as a foot sprain. However, based on all evidence, Curry should be good to go in game 4. 

Golden State’s problem is its defense. The Warriors gave up a 122 defensive rating in Game 3, as well as 52 points in the paint and 24 free throws. Boston also generated 22 second-chance points on 15 offensive rebounds. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr specifically cited rebounding as what Golden State has to “clean up” in Game 4.

To that end, you would expect Kevon Looney to see more action. Looney’s absence is directly related to the Warriors’ defensive performance. When the Celtics came out blazing, Kerr felt he needed to keep up with offensive firepower. However, in doing so, he gave up offensive rebounds, which only kept Boston’s efficiency high. The Warriors have a few more adjustments they can throw at Boston and they will.

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Boston Celtics 

No major injury concerns. Robert Williams will be listed as questionable, but he was unbelievable in Game 3. He is on limited minutes because of his knee inflammation but he is expected to play. As for adjustments, Boston can’t keep sustaining the points allowed from the Curry pick-and-rolls. The Celtics aren’t playing drop, their bigs aren’t retreating but they’re also not showing hard on Curry. This gives him space to fire, which is how he’s having these great scoring outputs.

Ime Udoka is betting that the advantage Boston has on the glass should offset the Curry points. They can let Curry go off while containing everyone else. The downside is anytime you’re giving up 1.3 points per possession, as the Celtics did in Game 2, it’s going to test your gameplan discipline.

Prediction – Golden State Win (110 – 105)