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NBA Finals Pick: Boston Celtics (+130) to win series
Just as in the Eastern Conference Finals, I like the Boston Celtics to win this series, but in an absolute dogfight! I still believe that the Celtics are the best "team" in the playoffs, as they are offensively dangerous, defensively stout, they communicate well, and they seem to really play for each other. Jaylon Brown was underwhelming against the Heat, and the Celtics had some injuries that kept them from having a consistent five players on the floor. Seemingly healthier now, I expect Boston to play with more continuity in that series. The Warriors are certainly going to cause more defensive issues for the Celtics than the Miami Heat did, but the Celtics are going to put more pressure on the Warriors defense than the Dallas Mavericks could ever dream of doing, and will physically punish the Warriors similar to the way the the Grizzlies did. The Celtics are big and physical, and those are two things that the Warriors are not. This matchup is all about finesse versus grit and grind. We saw the issues that the Warriors had with the Memphis Grizzlies, and this Celtics team has something that the Grizzlies team doesn't...experience. Although this is the first trip to the Finals for Jason Tatum and Company, they have been on the precipice before, and this is their chance to shine against a Warriors team that has not only been there, but dominated the Finals landscape and have proven that they know how to win it all. But, the defensive inefficiencies, and the "look at me mentality" of the Warriors just might be the chink in their armor though. When the Warriors are "on", they are "on" like nobody else, but when they are "off", they are ugly. We have already seen that to be the case many times throughout these playoffs, and the Celtics are going to challenge them on every possession. The Warriors "analytics-driven" style of play might just be what the Celtics are needing, as the Celtics won't allow uncontested shots inside the arc, which means that the Warriors are going to have to win this series from a distance, and that is always a risky proposition. I expect Curry to be Curry, Klay to be erratic, Poole to be sloppy, and Green to be gritty, and due to just enough inconsistent play, the Warriors come up short against a team willing to play the role of the bully. The Celtics "bully" their way to their first Championship since 2008, and putting to rest all of the naysayers that suggested that the Celtics break up Tatum and Brown. Celtics in 7.