The moment has arrived as the best in the West Warriors face off against the Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics in Game 1 of the 2022 NBA Finals at Chase Center on Thursday night.
Game 1Warriors vs. CelticsThursday, June 26:00 p.m.
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DUBS FACE CELTICS IN FINALS SHOWDOWN
The moment has arrived as the best in the West Warriors face off against the Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics in Game 1 of the 2022 NBA Finals at Chase Center on Thursday night. The Dubs join the Celtics as two of four franchises to make six NBA Finals appearances in an eight-year span. Thursday’s Game 1 showdown will take place on Warriors Ground, where the Dubs have maintained the league’s best home playoff record (9-0) entering the best-of-seven Championship series against the Celtics.
FIRST-EVER NBA FINALS AT CHASE CENTER
The energy will be electric on Warriors Ground on Thursday as the Dubs host the Celtics for the first-ever NBA Finals game at Chase Center, as well as the first-ever NBA Finals game in San Francisco. All fans in attendance will receive a Warriors Gold Blooded NBA Finals T-Shirt, courtesy of Kaiser Permanente.
In addition to the action inside Chase Center, fans will be able to gather outside the building at Thrive City for a viewing of the game. Those interested in this option are required to register for the event ahead of time and should be aware of enhanced security protocols. For information, click here.
MATCHUP AT A GLANCE
A FITTING FINALE TO NBA 75
It’s only right that the last two teams standing in the NBA’s 75th Anniversary season are two of the league’s original three franchises still in existence — the New York Knicks are the third. Moreover, the Celtics (22) and the Warriors (12) have more Finals appearances than any other team not named the Los Angeles Lakers (32).
The two franchises have met on one other occasion in NBA history. In 1964, Wilt Chamberlain led the San Francisco Warriors against a dynastic Celtics team featuring Bill Russell. The Celtics won the first two games in Boston before the Warriors got one back at Game 3. But the Dubs fell short in two close matchups in Games 4 and 5, and Boston won the series for their sixth of eight straight NBA Championships.
PREVIOUS GAME STARTERS
GSW: Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, Draymond Green and Kevon Looney
BOS: Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown,Jayson Tatum, Al Horford and Robert Williams III
INJURY & ROSTER NOTES
GSW: GSW: Andre Iguodala (left cervical disc injury), Gary Payton II (fractured elbow), Otto Porter Jr. (left foot soreness) are TBD. James Wiseman (right knee injury management) are out. Team Notes
BOS: Sam Hauser (right shoulder) is out. Team Notes
ROAD TO THE 2022 FINALS
The Warriors’ postseason run thus far has been a reunion of sorts, with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green taking the floor together for extended minutes, something that simply didn’t happen during the regular season due to various injuries to all three players. Curry has recovered from a regular season ending left knee sprain to be the leading Warriors scorer this postseason (25.9 ppg) and was named the Western Conference Finals MVP following the Dubs’ 120-110 series-clinching win over the Mavericks last Thursday. That Game 5 win over Dallas was preceded by a a 4-2 series win over the Grizzlies in the Western Conference Semifinals and a 4-1 series victory over the Nuggets in the first round.
The Celtics, on the other hand, have reached the NBA Finals after falling in the conference finals in three of the previous five seasons. Boston opened their 2022 playoff run with a tightly contested sweep of the Nets, as all four games were decided by one, seven, six and four points, respectively. The Celtics then beat the reigning champion Milwaukee Bucks in seven games before outlasting the Heat in another seven-game series in the Eastern Conference Finals. Jayson Tatum earned series MVP of the conference finals, averaging 25.0 points, 8.3 rebounds and 5.6 assists in the series.
TEAM PLAYOFF LEADERS
MATCHING UP WITH BOSTON
The Warriors split their two regular season matchups with Boston, but as the Dubs showed during their first three 2022 playoff series, regular season matchup history doesn’t really matter. The Warriors lost three of their regular season meetings with Denver, Memphis and Dallas, and the Dubs went on to win each of those series in five, six and five games, respectively. The postseason is a whole new beast, and while lessons were certainly learned from the Warriors’ regular season matchups with the Celtics, each squad will likely learn much more about their opponent by watching their playoff tape.
The Warriors are the leading-scoring (114.5 ppg) and assist (28.3 apg) team in the postseason, and three players – Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Jordan Poole – have had 30-point games this postseason, and two others – Andrew Wiggins and Kevon Looney – scored at least 20 points in a game. Additionally, the Dubs’ have been the best fourth quarter team of these playoffs, outscoring the opposition by an average of 5.9 points per fourth frame.
The Celtics, meanwhile, have the second-best defensive rating this postseason, yielding 105.1 points per 100 possessions, and have yielded the second fewest points overall, allowing 101 points per contest. While the Warriors have proven to be a second half team – they are 4-3 when trailing at the end of the third quarter – the Celtics have been an NBA-best team in the second quarter, outscoring the opposition by an average margin of 4.0 points that period. And while the Warriors have gone undefeated at home, the Celtics have been impressive on the road this postseason. The Celtics are 7-2 in road games during these playoffs, and they’ve won away from their home court when facing elimination in each of their last two series.
While both teams have no shortage of playoff experience, the Warriors are the only team with players who have been here before. With the Warriors winning three NBA Championships during a stretch of five straight years making it to the NBA Finals from 2015 through 2019, Dubs players have a combined 123 games of NBA Finals experience on their roster, while each Celtics player who plays on Thursday will be making their NBA Finals debut.
BOSTON SCOUTING REPORT
The Celtics are making their first trip to the NBA Finals since 2010 and come into Chase Center after having survived a Game 7 in each of their prior two series. After a less-than-stellar start to the season, Boston had the NBA’s best record over the final two-and-a-half months of the regular season (28-7), and entered the postseason tied with Milwaukee and Philadelphia for the second-best record in the Eastern Conference (51-31).
The Celtics have a pair of elite two-way wings in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, both of whom have had 50-point games this season. Tatum was All-NBA First Team selection and has been the team’s scoring leader both in the regular season and in the playoffs, while Brown was an All-Star last season who during this playoff run has shown off a tendency for strong second half finishes.
Under the direction of first-year head coach Ime Udoka, the Celtics have an elite defense. The longest-tenured Celtic, Marcus Smart became the first guard to win the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year Award since Gary Payton in 1996. Center Robert Williams III was a Second Team All Defense selection and four other Boston players – Tatum, Brown, Al Horford and Derrick White -- received votes for the first or second All-Defensive teams this season.
When it comes to size, Boston has plenty of depth. Horford, whose NBA record 141 career playoff games without a Finals appearance will come to an end on Thursday, has regained prime form this postseason, improving on his scoring, assist and rebound averages from the regular season. Williams can change games with his athleticism, Grant Williams has won the Celtics some games – hitting seven 3-pointers in Boston’s Game 7 victory over the defending champion Bucks in the Eastern Conference Semifinals – and Daniel Theis is another quality big who provides athleticism in the paint. The Warriors have neutralized their size disadvantage through the first three rounds, and whether or not they can do so again will likely influence who is eventually crowned 2022 NBA Champions.