NBA Standings : The Golden State Warriors have claimed the NBA title for the fourth time in the last eight years. The Warriors won the final three games of the NBA Finals after trailing 1-0 and 2-1, handing the Boston Celtics their first three-game losing streak since December. They finished the 2021-22 season with a 103-90 win in Game 6 on Thursday.
Stephen Curry topped all scorers with 34 points (12-for-21 FGs, including six 3-pointers). After averaging 31.2 points per game, he was voted the Bill Russell Finals MVP, his best performance in six Finals appearances. Curry wasn’t the only one. As the Warriors won their ninth championship, one statistic stood out above the rest.
Over the final three games of the Finals, the Celtics averaged 97.9 points per 100 possessions.
This is the Celtics’ worst three-game offensive stretch of the season, excluding the playoffs. From Nov. 26 to Dec. 1, they had a three-game low of 99.3 points per 100 possessions. The only time this season that Boston was restricted to fewer than a point per possession in two consecutive games occurred in Games 5 and 6 of the Finals.
‘Our defense was phenomenal in this series,’ Warriors coach Steve Kerr remarked following the win. ‘Especially in the last three games.’ During the regular season, these were the two greatest defensive teams. Until early March, the Warriors led the NBA in defensive efficiency, while the Celtics had by far the strongest defense after Christmas. The Celtics finished the regular season 26-6 and had the top offense in the league (120.7 points per 100 possessions). They were nearly as efficient in their first-round sweep of the Brooklyn Nets (119.2).
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The Boston Celtics’ offense, on the other hand, had some serious ups and downs in the aftermath, with some unpleasant games against the Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat. And, of the four series they played, the Finals were their lowest scoring series (105.6 points per 100 possessions). Their four series defeats were also among their six worst playoff performances in 24 games.
The Celtics shot 40.8 percent from the three-point range in the Finals, their best mark in any of their four series. They did, however, shoot 49.3 percent in the paint, their lowest inside shooting percentage in six games this season. Turnover was also a significant issue. And, unsurprisingly, the Celtics turned the ball over 23 times in Game 6, tying them for the third-most in the playoffs.
‘Offensively, we were not good this series,; Celtics wing Jaylen Brown admitted. ‘Give credit to the Warriors. They compelled us to do things we didn’t want to do. ‘After a strong start to the season, the Warriors’ defense deteriorated when Draymond Green was sidelined for two months. Even with Green back in the lineup, the Warriors’ defense ranked sixth through the first three rounds of the playoffs (111.0 points per 100).
NBA Standings: However, Golden State’s defense stepped up in the Finals. And it completely shut down the Celtics in the last three games. Green was the straw that stirred the wine, Andrew Wiggins held Jayson Tatum in check (37 percent shooting), and the Warriors met nearly every Celtics drive with numerous bodies and arms.
Thanks to Warriors assistant Mike Brown, who will leave the team to coach the Sacramento Kings. The Kings have been out of the playoffs for 16 years, but new coach Mike Brown has proven to be the architect of a championship defense.
The Warriors’ offense, which led the league in ball movement during the regular season, is still thrilling to watch, and Curry is a historic offensive force. However, the defense can still win championships, as the Warriors’ defense proved.
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