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NBA Picks: June 02

By Lior Lampert

Game 1 of the 2022 NBA Finals is upon us and we have one of the more exciting matchups in recent memory. A meeting between two teams who had completely different journeys getting to this moment, yet both share a similar defensive-minded approach. These are the No. 1 and 2 ranked defenses in the league, Boston being one and Golden State two. Will Stephen Curry and the Warriors continue to build on their legacy or will Jayson Tatum and the Celtics solidify their place in NBA history? 

It truly is hard to believe Boston was 25-25 through the season’s first 50 games. Since then, they’ve practically been unbeatable enroute to an NBA Finals appearance. Jayson Tatum has truly taken that next step as an elite two-way superstar talent in addition to being more vocal as a leader of his team. In the three seasons prior, the Celtics had been eliminated from the playoffs by teams led by Kyrie Irving, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jimmy Butler. This year, they defeated the teams of all three respective players on this amazing run. Although this run has been nothing short of remarkable, no player on this Celtics roster has ever been to an NBA Finals. Can they overcome this lack of experience with a rookie head coach under center against a team as accustomed to this stage as the Golden State Warriors?

The Warriors have had nearly the exact opposite path to the championship than Boston. They were coasting atop the Western Conference standings all season long, with a postseason path that hasn’t tested them all too much, and have 123 games of Finals experience as a team. Golden State has not faced a team as big and physically imposing as the Celtics in this postseason and this will serve as a true test to the dynasty that is Stephen Curry and this Warriors core. Not to mention, they have reinforcements on the way: Otto Porter Jr., Gary Payton II and Andre Igoudala seem to be returning from injury as soon as Game 1 of this series.

I truly believe we are in store for an all-time series that will go the distance and I think Game 1 will set the tone for what is yet to come. Since I will be betting with the spread in this game, I will take Boston with the spread. They are 12-1 against the spread in the last 13 road games and I expect it to be a tight game to the very end. Although, I will not be betting Boston to win this game outright, as the Warriors have won 11 straight home games. In the end, Boston covers the spread but the gap in experience and Golden State’s championship-DNA prevails.

My Pick: Celtics +4 -112 (Odds via BetRivers)

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