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NBA Picks: June 13

By Lior Lampert

Game 4 was an all-time classic NBA Finals matchup and it will be tough to follow-up such a thrilling game. The greatness of Stephen Curry and what he was able to do in Game 4 when the magnitude of the moment could not have been any higher cannot be taken for granted. Not to mention, Steve Kerr made some great coaching adjustments and lineup changes that put the Warriors in a position to reclaim home court advantage in what is now a best two-of-three series. Will Celtics rookie Head Coach Ime Udoka be able to make the necessary adjustments to respond? 

Throughout this series, the Celtics had been able to get off to quick starts and early leads. In Game 4, the Warriors came out ready and were able to weather Boston’s 11-4 to start the opening quarter. Al Horford struggled to get into a rhythm, making just two of his six shot attempts on the night. The Celtics are basically using a 7-man rotation given the lack of minutes Payton Pritchard plays on a nightly basis, so they cannot afford to have off-nights from one of their top scorers and trusted vets. Jayson Tatum scored 12 points in the opening quarter only to finish with 23 for the game. Tatum is shooting 34.1% from the field for the series, the lowest mark by any player with 20+ attempts per game in a Finals series. That number is going to have to improve drastically if the Celtics want to steal a game from the Warriors in San Francisco.

What can be said about Stephen Curry that hasn’t been said? That was one of the greatest individual performances in NBA Finals history and it was incredible to see the passion and energy that Curry was playing with on the court. He seemed dialed in from the very start and ready to do whatever was required of him to will his team to victory. But we must recognize the adjustments Steve Kerr made and the decision he had to make to bench Draymond Green late in the game due to his poor play. When someone has as much of a pedigree and personality as Green, it can be tough to actually make the decision to bench a player of that stature. But, he decided to go small and use Andrew Wiggins as the Power Forward/Center and his energy and play was much-needed assistance for Curry’s masterpiece. Can the Warriors bring that same intensity and energy in Game 5 or did they expand all of it in Game 4?

Klay Thompson has struggled for the most part in this series, but he made big shots late in the fourth quarter when his team needed it most. He is attempting just under 17 shots and 10 3-point attempts per game, and I expect him to come out ready to exceed those numbers in Game 5. In the last two games he has attempted a combined 23 3-point attempts, making at least 4 in both games. With that being said, I will be betting on “Game 6 Klay” to make an early appearance in Game 5 and make more than 3.5 3-pointers. 

My Pick: Klay Thompson o3.5 3PFG +100 odds via Caesar’s Sportsbook)

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