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Warriors vs. Celtics prediction, pick, odds, spread, line for 2022 NBA Finals Game 3

2022 NBA Finals: Two things Celtics need to correct in order to bounce back in Game 3 vs. Warriors

NBA Finals Game 3: Can Celtics avoid another 3rd quarter disaster and bounce back at home vs. Warriors?

After an interesting start to the 2022 NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and Boston Celtics, the action shifts over to Boston for a pivotal Game 3 on Wednesday night. In the 39 times that the Finals have been tied 1-1, the team that won Game 3 went on to win the title 82.1 percent of the time.

As such, this is a borderline must-win for both teams. Will the Warriors be able to go into Boston and steal back home-court advantage? Or will the Celtics remain perfect after a loss in the playoffs and seize control of the series at home? Our experts have made their picks, and the overwhelming majority are riding with the team in green.

The Golden State Warriors had double-digit leads entering the fourth quarter of both NBA Finals games at Chase Center, but the series heads to Boston tied 1-1. The Celtics haven’t lost consecutive games in these playoffs, but the pressure will be on to keep home court.

Golden State will enter Wednesday’s Game 3 with plenty of confidence after getting a comfortable win in Game 2. Does that mean momentum is on the Warriors’ side?

Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson said his poor shooting performance through the first two games of the NBA Finals will not deter him from being aggressive moving forward.

The five-time All-Star is one of the best snipers in league history but has not looked like it so far against the Boston Celtics, going 10-for-33 from the floor and making just 26 per cent of his 3-point shots.

BOSTON — The much bigger difference between Games 1 and 2 of the NBA Finals was on the Boston Celtics’ end of the floor. In their Game 1 victory, the Celtics scored 120 points on just 93 possessions. And in their Game 2 defeat, they scored just 88 on 98.

With the exception of their free throw rate, the Celtics’ offensive numbers were worse across the board in Game 2. They turned the ball over more (with 15 of their 19 turnovers being live balls), grabbed fewer offensive boards, shot worse from the outside, and shot worse inside.

Credit the Golden State Warriors’ defense, which was much better in Game 2. But the Celtics believe they can make better decisions with the ball. Several of them were asked about their offensive issues (mostly about the turnovers) at practice on Tuesday afternoon.

“Majority is over-penetrating, playing in the crowd,” Celtics coach Ime Udoka said. “Just not keeping it simple. You look at Game 1 where we had 33 assists on 43 baskets, crisp and sharp with our ball movements, not in the crowd. Led to a lot of wide-open threes against a team that packs the paint.”

When you drive, you can’t take an extra dribble when you should be passing the ball,” Marcus Smart added, “and you might have to take that extra dribble instead of passing the ball sometimes. You’ve just got to make that read and you’ve got to trust and understand and believe in your teammates and in the game plan.”

Both Al Horford and Jaylen Brown talked more about spacing from guys around the ball-handler than the decisions of the ball-handler himself.

“The one thing that we all felt,” Horford said, “is just us being able to be in the right positions when guys are making plays and making sure that we’re giving some of our guys outlets. We just have better ball movement.”

“For the most part it’s usually the same things,” Brown added. “Spacing, we get on top of each other, or we don’t move with purposeful actions all the time, don’t set screens the way we need to, get jumbled up together, which allows them to guard us a lot better or a lot easier than they should be.”

The NBA Finals are all tied up as the series heads to Boston for the first time, which is about as good as the Celtics could have hoped for beyond a 2-0 series lead.

Though they’ve yet to drop consecutive games this postseason, things didn’t go great for the Celtics in the back half of Game 2. The Warriors erupted in the third quarter before pulling off a 19-point blowout win that shut down the Celtics.

Wednesday’s game isn’t a must-win for Boston by any means but failing to bounce back after a tough loss to the Warriors could prove to be fatal and may result in a quick ending to the Finals.

Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown were fine Sunday night, but that was about it for Boston offensively.

They were the only two Celtics starters to score in double figures, and Al Horford, Robert Williams and Marcus Smart were all held to two points a piece. Boston had 18 turnovers as a team, and mustered just 14 points in the third quarter.

If the Celtics are going to win, that can’t happen in Game 3.

Tatum and Brown need help to pull off a win Wednesday night, and they need the versions of Horford and Smart from Game 1 to show up. Horford dropped 26 points and shot 9-of-12 from the field in that win, and Smart added 18 points with four 3-pointers. The Celtics also shot an impressive 51.2% from the 3-point line in that win.

With two big men on the court at a time — either Horford, Williams, Daniel Theis or Grant Williams — Golden State has outscored Boston by 33 points in the first two games.

Celtics vs. Warriors Game 3 preview

What are they using to spike the halftime orange slices in those locker rooms? Through two games in these finals, the Warriors have outscored the Celtics in the third quarter by 35 points. Two games don’t make a trend, but wow. In the three other quarters, the Celtics played well enough to compete for a record 18th NBA title. In the third quarter, they’re asleep at the wheel.

It’s tough to know what to make of those ugly third quarters. In the regular season, Boston was the best third-quarter team in the league. The Warriors were second best. Now the lights are off for the Celtics. In Game 1, the Celtics needed a historic rally in the fourth quarter to win and they did it by, basically, becoming the Warriors and raining 3s.

Let’s ignore this issue for now. The series bounces back to Boston where the Celtics went 28-13 in the regular season, good for the second-most home wins in the East. They are certainly friendly confines, even if the ghosts of the old Garden didn’t relocate around the corner to the new Garden. The Celtics are healthy favorites in Game 3.

Ime Udoka is the opposite of candid — he’s one of the least forthcoming coaches in the league. But the Celtics coach spelled out exactly what his team needs. “We’re 13-2 when we have 15 or less turnovers in the playoffs, and we’re 0-5 when we have 16 or more,” he said, doing reporters jobs for them. “That kind of tells a story.”

It does tell a story. And the lead character in that subplot is Draymond Green. The Warriors’ best defender held Jaylen Brown to 5-of-17 shooting and “tried to muck the game up,” Brown said. Maybe the Celtics should have mucked back?

Green, though, wasn’t guarding Jayson Tatum, who was minus-36 on the floor in Game 2. Tatum has a turnover problem. He needs just 11 more turnovers to break LeBron James’ playoffs record of 94 set in 2018. If Boston’s scoring leader tightens the screws, the Celtics should be in much better position.

There is nothing left to sneak up on the Warriors and Celtics. They can only enact their intentions or fall short. The big moments, what we’ll probably remember most about these finals five years from now, will decide Game 3 – whether that means Green pantsing another player, Stephen Curry dropping 50 or Tatum going for a triple-double. But no single quarter will decide Game 3. dfujrgf

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