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NBA Picks: June 08

By Lior Lampert

The NBA Finals returns to Boston for the first time since 2010. With the series tied 1-1, Game 3 should be an exciting game with the Warriors looking to reclaim home court advantage throughout the remainder of the series. The Celtics had three different starters score exactly two points and Jaylen Brown never seemed to get into a rhythm in Game 2. Who will help Jayson Tatum? Klay Thompson has shot a combined 10-33 from the field through 2 games: can he finally get it going?

It was a tale of two halves in Game 2 for Boston, who looked up to the challenge and were ready to potentially steal a second game on the road versus the Warriors. The lack of shot-making outside of Jayson Tatum was most certainly felt in the second half. Al Horford and Marcus Smart went from combining for 44 points and 10 three-pointers made in Game 1 to combining for a measly 4 points on zero 3-pointers made. That is simply not going to cut it against a team who has been to the NBA Finals six times in eight years. Robert Williams status cannot be taken for granted, we saw his minutes dip from 24 to 14 and he clearly is not near 100 percent. He gives Boston a nice size advantage and dose of energy on the defensive end that is tough to replicate.

On the other hand, that third quarter in Game 2 was magical for the Warriors. They simply couldn’t seem to miss and the defensive intensity was very noticeable led by future Hall of Famer Draymond Green. Jordan Poole made his presence felt at the end of the third quarter as well and it came at a good time with the recent struggles of Klay Thompson and Andrew Wiggins. Like Thompson, Wiggins also had just 11 points with only 4 field goals made. Can the Warriors expect to win on the road with two of their three best scorers shooting the ball that poorly?

As I stated earlier, this is Boston’s first time hosting an NBA Finals game since the 2010 season. And for that reason, I think there will be some jitters/nerves early on, but I also think the atmosphere in TD Garden will be so loud and intense. The Warriors are not only playing against the Boston Celtics tonight, they are playing against one of the most loyal fanbases in one of the most storied arenas in all of sports. Boston has been resilient all year, and I expect Game 3 to be no different. They got punched in the mouth in Game 2, but I expect them to come out swinging in this first half and try to set the tone early. Take Boston to cover the first half spread. 

My Pick: Boston Celtics -1.5 1H -120 (Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook)

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