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NBA Finals - Basketball: Game 2 Preview

It was first blood to Boston in the NBA Finals, with Golden State Warriors now determined to avoid falling two down in their best-of-seven showdown with the Celtics.

The Dubs went into the NBA Finals the clear favourites to claim the title for a fourth time in eight years, but now Steve Kerr's Western Conference winners are 6/4, with the Celtics - the kings of the East and chasing a record-setting 18th title -10/17 after taking a 1-0 lead on the road.

What: Boston Celtics vs. Golden State Warriors, NBA Finals Game 2

Where: Chase Center, San Francisco

When: 01:00am, Monday 6th June, 2022

How to watch: Sky Sports or bet365 Live Stream

Odds: BOS Celtics 8/5, GS Warriors 5/9

Weird start to final was fitting

Going into Game 1 of the Finals, there was a sense there would be a twist or two, so what unfolded was probably less surprising than might have first appeared.

Yes, the Warriors, with the holy trinity of Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson ready to roll, had cruised through the play-offs and were 9-0 post-season at their newish Chase Center home.

But Boston - big, bad Boston - have just powered through everyone, weak or strong, and having taken care of the Nets, Bucks and Heat, the last two in seven, are quite simply a team you'd be foolish to write off.

They had also headed into Game 1 with a 7-2 road record during the play-offs. They just love silencing home crowds and now that record reads 8-2 after a stunning 17-0 fourth-quarter run on Thursday helped them turn a 12-point deficit into a 120-108 win.

Advantage Boston, though they remain the underdog in Game 2, with the Warriors acutely aware they don't want to be travelling to The Garden for Game Three at 0-2.

Poole needs to step up - and he's not alone

So what needs to change for the Warriors? In short, quite a lot but it's all do-able. They are a champion team who were outfoxed by a super-smart, super-strong, super-impressive Celtics, who maybe deserve more respect.

But if Boston stay strong, the Dubs need things to click and first up Jordan Poole needs to come to the party.

A cone of a defender, Poole has produced big-game offensive contributions, but he didn't step up, shooting 2-for-9 from the field - Curry said it was just "nerves" and that he'll settle in. So what was Green's excuse? He was 2-for-12. Or Thompson, who was six-for-14?

Curry can't do this on his own and he'll be praying that his usually supreme sidekicks produce finals-calibre basketball in Game 2.

Celtics set out their stall

But, as we've said, bar an astonishing run, a freaky run in the fourth quarter, Golden State would have been going in 1-0 ahead. The margins are fine and Boston are well aware of that.

And they, too, have things to improve. They made some defensive adjustments on Curry which didn't work initially - Curry scored 21 points in the first quarter - but they tweaked again to get a foothold into the game.

Jayson Tatum, many people's idea of an MVP, went three-for-17 and made just one three-pointer, however, on a night when he scored only 12 points, the Celtics' team ethic came to the fore with four others getting 18 or more.

Al Horford led the way with 26 points, including six threes, while Jaylen Brown scored 24 and added seven rebounds and five assists. Derrick White also had a night to remember off the bench.

What we've learned through the 2022 play-offs is expect the unexpected and while Boston are confident enough to go 2-0 up, it's also entirely possible that Curry goes astral and the Dubs win by 20 or so.

Whatever happens, it will be well worth watching.

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