SAN FRANCISCO – In the beginning of the NBA Finals between Boston and Golden State, the Celtics’ inexperience vs. the Warriors’ experience at this stage of the postseason was a storyline.
Golden State coach Steve Kerr said the experience mattered.
“It does help to have been here before, to simply feel it and know what’s coming,” he said. “The one thing to do is just give attention to the sport and, while you’re away from it, try to not get too wrapped up in anything regarding the sport. Read a book, watch a movie, take a walk, do something aside from stare in any respect the media stuff.”
Celtics coach Ime Udoka said it wasn’t a giant deal that none of his players had played within the Finals.
“When you get out of the initial media circus and the intensity and the way all the pieces is far more exaggerated,” he said. “Obviously, it isn’t much different while you get on the court. You’ve got guys which might be young but have been through just a few Eastern Conference finals already, and our path this yr, you recognize, two Game 7s and playing some high-level teams and taking a tricky route, I feel that is prepared us greater than anything.”
It’s about what you expected each coaches to say as they searched for any slight advantage, real or not.
Boston discarded the subject with Game 1 victory after which took a 2-1 series lead.
Nevertheless, as this series moves to Game 6 on Thursday in Boston, where the Warriors have a probability to win their fourth championship in eight seasons, experience has played a determining role.
Within the fourth quarter of Game 4, the Warriors outscored the Celtics 28-19, and within the fourth quarter of Game 5, they outscored Boston 29-20. Each games were one-point contests headed into the fourth quarter.
With the sport on the road, Golden State executed higher, ran higher offense, played higher defense, made fewer mistakes and prospered while Boston withered.
Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala and Kerr know what’s required in late-game situations. The moment isn’t overwhelming. They might not make the best play each time, but they’re conversant in the scenarios.
“I assumed that was a very powerful a part of the sport tonight because we had a 12-point lead on the half, they usually got here and just stormed throughout us in that third quarter for the primary, whatever it was, eight, nine minutes,” Kerr said.
The Warriors wasted a 51-39 halftime lead and led just 75-74 in the beginning of the fourth quarter.
“And that was a vital a part of the sport for us to answer that. … The response to Boston’s run to me was the important thing to the sport,” Kerr said.
The Warriors handled the rough stretches. The Celtics haven’t.
Within the fourth quarter of the past two games, the Celtics are 11-for-36 from the sector, including 6-for-21 on 3s, and Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are 6-for-21 from the sector. Their fourth-quarter efficiency in two consecutive losses is dreadful, scoring just 84.8 points and allowing 123.9 points per 100 possessions.
The Warriors are shooting 22-for-44 from the sector, and while just 5-for-17 on 3s prior to now two games, they’ve worked over the Celtics contained in the arc.
Curry, Thompson and Green have had an influence on their teammates who don’t have that Finals experience, specifically Andrew Wiggins, Jordan Poole and Gary Payton II.
Curry, Thompson and Green have 20 Finals victories, second most by a trio behind the 22 from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson and Michael Cooper. They’re ahead of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.
“I feel such as you embrace the indisputable fact that even when it isn’t pretty, you may still win the sport, and that is all that matters,” Curry said. “There are plenty of guys you would point at that made an impact in those moments through the game where we actually grabbed momentum and responded to their runs and all that form of stuff.
“Won’t be probably the most free-flowing situation or the prettiest high-level skill on the market, however it’s just grinding it out. That is what the Finals is all about.”
Kerr was calm within the moment, having been in these situations so again and again. That’s to not say Udoka isn’t calm. Kerr made a lineup switch in Game 4, inserting Otto Porter Jr. into the starting lineup and bringing Kevon Looney in off the bench, and the Warriors are receiving more contributions from more players than Boston.
Just before the fourth quarter began, Kerr told ABC’s Lisa Salters, “We’re right where we should be.”
Kerr and the Warriors have been here before, and it shows.