NBA Finals Game 6 Recap and Analysis: The Warriors Are the 2022 NBA Champions


The Golden State Warriors are officially the 2022 NBA Champions! In the past few days, the media made it clear that the Warriors wanted to close out the series in Game 6, at Boston, but in the first few minutes of the game, it seemed like there was going to be a Game 7. Boston's plan of blitzing Steph off of the screens worked like a charm in Game 5, so they decided to do it again in Game 6. It was working. Curry was forced to pass the ball to his teammates who were open, but they did not make the Celtics pay initially. Generally, the Warriors just looked extremely frazzled, not expecting that Boston would play like it was the last game of their season. On the offensive end, Boston started off attacking the paint with tons of force, but they were also taking, and making, threes here and there. In just 3 minutes, Boston was up 12-2. Part of the way Boston attacked the paint was by attacking Steph Curry in the paint, in hopes of tiring him out or drawing some quick, early fouls. Once the timeout was called, the Warriors settled in a bit more, but the Celtics were still dominant. Early on, part of the reason that the Celtics had a lead was because of their significant advantage in the points off turnovers. At the halfway mark of the first quarter, both teams had the same amount of turnovers, yet the Celtics had 7 points off those turnovers, while the Warriors had none. However, after the mandatory timeout around the 2-minute mark where Boston led 22-18, the Warriors started their historic run. Threes for the Warriors were dropping left and right, and Draymond even made a three in the first quarter. Poole and Curry made three-pointers in that span as well. While the offensive was flowing fluidly all of a sudden for the Warriors, the Boston offense collapsed. The idea that good defense leads to good offense, and vice versa, was extremely prevalent in the final 2 minutes of the first quarter. The Warriors ended the first quarter on an 11-0 run, but that was not all.

At the start of the second quarter, the Warriors continued to play lights-out basketball, with perfect offense and defense. They started the second quarter on a 10-0 run, and overall, the Warriors had a 21-0 run, which had not been done before in the Finals since 1950. During that 10-0 run in the second quarter, the Celtics were forced to call two early timeouts, which teams rarely do. It is important to note that the 10-0 run in the second quarter was done mainly with Warriors bench players such as Jordan Poole, meaning that the Warriors bench was clearly outperforming the Celtics' bench. Finally, at the 10-minute mark, the Celtics scored through a three-pointer. This game was a game full of runs in the first half, as after the 21-0 run by the Warriors, the Celtics came back with their own 7-0 run, primarily led by Jaylen Brown, and the Celtics cut the Warriors' lead to 8 points. All of a sudden, the Warriors responded with their own 14-4 run immediately after Boston's 7-0 run. The magic turnover number for the Celtics is 16, and at the half, they already had 12 turnovers, which is the most they have had in this year's playoffs. Overall, the halftime score was 54-39, Warriors. Some of the main reasons that the Warriors had such a huge lead going into the half were that the Warriors' role players were outperforming the Celtics' roleplayers, the Warriors had far fewer turnovers than the Celtics, and the Warriors had a significant offensive-rebounding advantage over the Celtics. 

The third quarter has always been known as the Warriors' quarter, and at the beginning, it seemed like the Warriors were going to run away with the game. Draymond Green miraculously hit another three, and it felt like whenever Boston scores, the Warriors responded immediately thereafter, giving Boston no chance to shorten the Warriors' lead. Boston was still playing aggressive defense on Steph, yet he was still able to get off a couple of threes simply because of Steph's Magic. However, when playing overly aggressive defense on one player, other players for the Warriors were open, and they were making the Celtics pay. For example, Otto Porter had 2 threes in a span of 2 minutes. The lead had bloomed to 22 points, 72-50 Warriors. Steve Kerr and the Warriors clearly wanted to maintain their large lead, so when Boston scored 5 points in a row to make it a 17-point game, Kerr called timeout at around the 6-minute mark, which felt like a good, cautious move, yet it did not slow down the Celtics. They went on another run, this time it was 12-2. One reason that the Celtics went on another run was that Gary Payton II, one of the Warriors' most prolific defenders, had 4 fouls and went to the bench, allowing Jaylen Brown to go off and find his rhythm. At one point, it was a single-digit game, and Boston kept attacking mismatches and scoring. Overall, the Celtics ended the quarter on a 16-4 run, and they were clearly playing with a sense of urgency and physicality. Klay Thompson had zero points in the third, and it was sort of sad to see that Game 6 Klay had not come to fruition. At the end of the third, it was 76-66, Warriors. 

In the fourth quarter, the Warriors consistently had a double-digit lead, though Boston did make it single digits for 1-2 minutes. One thing to note is that the Warriors maintained their double-digit lead for the most part despite them missing, at one point, 10 consecutive three-pointers in a row. Though Klay continued to struggle in the second half, the Celtics star Jayson Tatum struggled mightily as well. He had some awful misses and costly turnovers, such as a travel. However, Jaylen Brown was playing amazingly, allowing the Celtics to at least remain at striking distance. However, the turnovers and lack of defensive rebounding proved to be a detriment for the Celtics. There was one play, where Andrew Wiggins missed a three, yet Looney tapped it out for an offensive rebound, and then Andrew Wiggins cashed in his second-chance three, making the Warriors lead by 15 points with 2 minutes left. Overall, the final score was 103-90, and the Golden State Warriors are the official 2022 NBA Champions. One thing that consistently showed up for the Celtics was their unhealthy amount of turnovers. In Game 6, they had an absurd 22 turnovers. Notice that at the end of the third quarter, when Boston was making its slight comeback, they had controlled their turnover numbers very well, but in the other times, where the Warriors were dominant, Boston kept committing stupid and unnecessary turnovers. The Warriors also had an offensive rebounding advantage of 4, yet the Warriors had a significant advantage in second-chance points. Those two things, second-chance opportunities and turnovers, were the main things that caused the Celtics to lose Game 6, and ultimately, the series. In general, it has been a fantastic season full of up and downs for the Warriors, and it was amazing to cap off this season with an NBA Championship. 

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