The stakes couldn’t be much higher as they head into Game 5 of the NBA Finals between the Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors. In the first four games of the series, the two teams alternated wins, with the Celtics winning Games 1 and 3 and the Warriors emerging victorious in Games 2 and 4. With the series tied at two wins apiece, Game 5 will likely go a long way towards determining the ultimate winner. Teams that win Game 5 of a best-of-seven series tied 2-2 win that series more than 80% of the time.
If the Warriors are going to be the team to take a 3-2 lead, they’re going to need some guys to get involved around Steph Curry, who’s been phenomenal throughout the series. Curry’s 43-point performance in Game 4 was a masterpiece, but Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Jordan Poole need to do more if the Warriors are to earn their fourth ring under Steve Kerr.
On the other side, the Celtics’ success could very well hinge on their ability to slow down Curry – something they haven’t accomplished so far. Maybe trapping him and forcing the ball out of his hands is the way to go. It’s a strategy worth at least trying. Also, Boston needs to take care of the ball. The Celtics are only 1-6 this postseason in games where they turned the ball over 15 or more times. Conversely, they are 13-2 when limiting their turnovers to 14 or less.
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Considering everything at stake, Match 5 should be a fiercely competitive contest. I’m leaning towards Boston because of their incredible ability to always bounce back from losses. Here’s how our panel of experts sees it unfolding.
How to Watch Game 5 Live
- Game: NBA Finals Game 5
- Date: Monday, June 13 | 9 p.m. ET
- Location: Chase Center – San Francisco, CA
- TV: ABC | Direct: fuboTV (Get Access Now)
- Odds: BOS +145; GS-170; O/U 212 (via Caesars Sportsbook)
Featured Game | Golden State Warriors vs. Boston Celtics
Celtics vs Warriors Prediction, Match 5 Pick
Bill Reiter: The Celtics are younger, more athletic, deeper, better on defense and on a remarkable streak of resilience and top-notch basketball since the turn of their season in late January. But they don’t have Stephen Curry. And, as we saw in Game 4, they can’t stop him either. Klay Thompson has found his footing somewhat, Kevon Looney has been quietly excellent late in these Finals, and there’s still time for Draymond Green to make the impact we’ve all been waiting for. But that’s just noise serving as background music to the fact that Curry is a great historical player and, like in Boston a few nights ago, he won’t let his team lose Game 5 regardless of his cast of support. Pick: Golden State -3.5 | Warriors 112, Celtics 107
Brad Botkin: I picked Boston to win in seven, but they won’t win Game 5. Curry is too hot, and I think Klay, who had periods where he looked ready to explode, is coming home. Draymond must be better. I bet on it. At this point in the series, I don’t think the tweaks make that much of a difference. Few surprises remain. I’m curious how long Boston will continue to drop (even if they try to start higher) on Curry, but if that changes it could ignite Green as a 4-on-3 point guard, which could in turn throw it defensively. It’s something to watch out for. Either way, I think Golden State wins this one. The curry is too much right now. Pick: Golden State -3.5 | Warriors 102, Celtics 95
Jacques Herbert: Boston is the choice. This team bounces back every time they lose, and more specifically, they bounce back on offense. I expect this to be more like Game 3 than Game 4, especially when it comes to Jayson Tatum’s game. (If I’m wrong because Steph is going wild again, awesome!) Pick: Boston +3.5 | Celtics 114, Warriors 103
Michel Kaskey-Blomain: His really tough to pick against Steph Curry given how much he’s played on the show, but his supporting cast has been inconsistent to say the least. There’s not much Curry can do, especially if Boston changes their defense to try and force the ball out of Curry’s hands, and it’s hard to trust the guys around him to get the job done at this point. Plus, Boston was stellar after a playoff loss, as they went 7-0 in such situations. Jayson Tatum, in particular, stepped up his game after Boston’s losses, and we can expect him to do the same in Game 5. Pick: Boston +3.5 | Celtics 106, Warriors 100
Sam Quinn: We have reached the point in the series where both teams know each other. We know what rotations will look like. They learned each other’s playbooks. There aren’t many surprises left here. Here’s the one thing we know pretty categorically: Golden State can limit Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown … but there’s nothing Boston can do to stop Stephen Curry. A lot of other things can rock a game. Maybe the role players on a team are shooting a lot more. Maybe a team gets to the line more often. There are no guarantees in the NBA Finals, but with four games on the books, I take the one constant this series has given us: Curry. Pick: Golden State -3.5 | Warriors 110, Celtics 101
Colin Ward-Henninger: Usually at this point in a series of finals you can start throwing tactics and adjustments out the window, but that’s not necessarily the case here. Steve Kerr always plays with rotations, and his choice to separate Draymond Green and Kevon Looney came in handy in Game 4. The Warriors’ half-court offense hasn’t been good, even with Steph’s exploits. Curry, but Jordan Poole appears to be turning a corner and they’ll likely get more Otto Porter in Game 5. The Celtics have played well on the road and after losses, but Golden State knows how important it is to win this game returning to Boston. Give me the Warriors. Pick: Golden State -3.5 | Golden State 109, Boston 105
Jasmine Wimbish: Steph Curry was electric in Game 4, but the Warriors needed their best to win. Golden State’s production has come out of guys like Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins has been so inconsistent, and despite being at the Chase Center, I still trust the Celtics a little more right now. I go with them to win the victory. Pick: Boston +3.5 | Celtics 110, Warriors 105