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NBA Picks: June 16

By Lior Lampert

The story of Game 5 was quite different than how the rest of the series had gone. Golden State was the team to get out to a hot start and build a double-digit first half lead in this game, while Boston had a monstrous third quarter to cut the deficit to just one heading to the final quarter. In the end, the Warriors were able to come out victorious and are now just one win away from winning the 2022 NBA Finals. Can they do it in Boston? Or can the Celtics defend their home court and force a Game 7?

Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum both looked exhausted towards the end of Game 5, and it showed. Both players finished with 44 minutes, combining for 9 turnovers while Jayson Tatum uncharacteristically shot just 2-6 from the free line. Those type of mistakes are tough to come back from against a team of Golden State’s stature in this magnitude. They received some much-needed scoring help from Marcus Smart, but the bench combined for just 10 points. Although Boston made some great adjustments on the defensive end which really gave Stephen Curry a problem all night, forcing him to have his worst game of the series. The problem for the Celtics: they lost by double digits with Curry having his worst game of the series. They will force Curry to continue to struggle if they want any chance of sending this game back to The Bay.

From the opposite perspective, the Warriors just won a very important Game 5 to take a 3-2 series lead with Stephen Curry scoring just 16 points on 7-22 shooting. That has to be encouraging for Curry, Golden State and their fans considering how unlikely it is he plays that poorly again for the remainder of this series. Draymond Green played with fantastic energy in this game and seemed to put it all together in this game, looking much more comfortable on his home floor. Though, the real star of the night was Andrew Wiggins. Shooting 12-23 from the field with 26 points and 13 rebounds while playing absolutely stellar defense on Jayson Tatum all night, something he has done all series. He truly has been the Warriors second best player in this series and much of the postseason; he deserves as much credit as anyone if Golden State is able to win it all.

As an NBA fan, I truly am hoping we get to see this series go the distance. The Warriors seem to have the momentum in the series, but winning in Boston is easier said than done. Turnovers and free throws aside, Tatum shot 50 percent from the field while scoring 27 points and making an impact on the glass with 10 rebounds. I expect him to feel more comfortable in Boston and well-rested since they have had 3 days off, which will help him cut down on the mistakes. Tatum didn’t attempt his first shot of Game 5 until there was 2:06 remaining in the first quarter. He has to be aggressive from the very start of this game and ready to take over this game if his team needs him to in order to force a Game 7, and I will be betting on just that. Take Tatum to combine for 36 or more combined points and rebounds and don’t be surprised if he reaches that total with just points.

My Pick: Jayson Tatum o35.5 Pts/Rebs -115 odds via DraftKings Sportsbook)

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