The first step in the race towards the NBA championship was given by the Boston Celtics on Thursday when they beat the Golden State Warriors at the Chase Center to the surprise of many and more than the Western Conference monarchs themselves.
San Francisco was the first team since the 2013 Miami Heat to lose Game 1 of the NBA Finals at home, and just the fourth in the past 25 seasons.
A difference of 12 points in the final score (120-108) would mean an enormous superiority in favor of coach Ime Udoka’s men in the best-of-seven series; however, if the Warriors have shown anything over the years and especially over the past decade, it is their ability to get ahead when the wind is not blowing in their favor.
And if to that resilience of coach Steve Kerr we add a little history and some statistics (even if neither of them play), it cannot be taken for granted that for Game 2 on Sunday the Celtics will increase the advantage before that the Finals will ‘move’ to the TD Garden for Games 3 and 4 (Wednesday June 8 and Friday June 10).
On Sunday, the Warriors could join the list of those teams that despite losing Game 1 of the Finals at home manage to tie the franchise wins after Game 2. So far, the five teams that lost the Finals opener at home they are 14-3 for Game 2 (14-2 when the first two games are played at home) in Larry O’Brien Trophy contention history.
At the moment the only teams in the NBA Finals that fell 2-0 playing both games at home were the Orlando Magic against the 1995 Houston Rockets and the Phoenix Suns against the 1993 Chicago Bulls, according to research from ESPN Stats & Info.
Likewise, home teams, in this case Golden State, are also 9-1 in Game 2 of all playoff series in the past two postseasons when trailing 1-0 in their matchups.
Now, the Warriors are 4-0 after accepting a loss this postseason and have outscored teams by 14.5 PPG in those four wins. That matches the sixth-best PPG odds after losing for any team in the past 50 postseasons (just behind this year’s Celtics).
In those four victories, Stephen Curry Y Klay Thompson they combined to average 50.5 PPG and 9 3-pointers per game, something that doesn’t sound unreasonable for Game 2 if we remember that the ‘Chef’ had 21 points during the first quarter on Thursday night, making six 3-pointers to set a playoff record .
Finally, coach Kerr has 23 directed series to qualify for the NBA Finals and so far has never had a 2-0 deficit. His 23 best-of-7 directed matches without going down 2-0 is 10 more than any other coach at the start of his career. The closest are Doc Rivers and Flip Saunders, with 13, while Lenny Wilkens added 11.
The adjustments that Kerr makes for Sunday’s game will support the previous data because there is no doubt that the Warriors have already ruled out the idea of adding a second loss at home.
With information from ESPN Stats & Info.
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History (and numbers) are with Warriors for J2