Potential tweaks, including less role switching for Draymond Green and Jayson Tatum
The Boston Celtics stole home-court advantage with their impressive win over the Golden State Warriors in Game 1 of the NBA Finals – but it’s a long streak and both teams have some adjustments to make.
In the Celtics’ 120-108 win, Jayson Tatum didn’t shoot the ball well (three of 17 from the field), but made up for it with his play, delivering 13 career assists to take advantage of an outlier . shooting performance of the rest of his team.
For the Warriors, a dynamic 38-24 third period led them by 12 heading into the final quarter, before a fourth-quarter bombardment turned a 103-100 lead into a 117-103 deficit thanks to a 17-0 run.
Stephen Curry was spectacular, with 21 points and a Finals record six 3-pointers in the first quarter alone, to finish with 34 points, five rebounds, five assists and three steals.
With Game 2 scheduled for Sunday night, here’s a key tweak we’ve seen from both teams as the series progresses, and a storyline to watch.
Warriors don’t play more than one big at a time
When the Warriors were at the height of their dynasty, Draymond Green played center, surrounded by four perimeter players.
Because of his excellent play in the playoffs – in addition to playing all 82 regular season games, starting 80 – center Kevon Looney has earned a significant playoff role.
He made the difference when given a long run in the closing of his team’s Game 6 against the Memphis Grizzlies, grabbing 22 rebounds, and he was tremendous against a Dallas Mavericks team lacking a true center , averaging 10.6 points, 10.6 rebounds and three assists. per game for the series.
Blaming the Game 1 loss on Looney is just plain wrong. He wasn’t just usable, he was good, with nine rebounds, five assists and three blocks in 25 minutes – but the Warriors just aren’t the same beast on the offensive side when he and Green are on the floor at the same time. .
However, that doesn’t mean they have to bench Looney, but instead the Warriors may be forced into tough conversations about Green’s effectiveness in this series.
Green is no longer the explosive athlete he was at the peak of his powers – when he was clearly the best defensive player in the NBA – and without that athleticism he’s starting to feel like the 6’6 center that it is.
Calling him a non-factor on the offensive end is disrespectful because of his incredible basketball IQ and the value he adds with his ball movement, passing and scouting – but these are areas where Looney has also excelled.
Looney, significantly taller at 6’9, matched Green with five assists, showing many similar reads and the ability to play a largely similar role on the attacking side. He also grabbed six offensive rebounds, providing serious tangible value in the form of extra possessions, while being the Warriors’ only true rim protector.
Green probably won’t shoot two-for-12 from the field anymore – missing all four of his three-point attempts and three free throws – but if he’s weighing you down offensively without bringing his once-outlier defensive ability, it might just be a Looney streak. against the life size of Al Horford and Robert Williams III.