NBA Finals: Searching the Latest Trends

During a high-level sports series, you may have ebbs and flows. Sometimes, the adjustments made by one participating team can't overcome the talent, togetherness, or momentum of the opposing squad. In those instances, the series will be pretty short. That doesn't seem to be the case for the 2022 NBA Finals. A lot has happened over the four games of this battle between Golden State and Boston.

Heading into Monday's "pivotal Game 5," the stars of each team have had a varying impact on the series. As teams, the plus/minus factor alone have not only been lopsided, but alternating. Games 1 and 3 were heavily favored in the Celtics' favor, while Games 2 and 4 went the Warriors' way. Now, as the championship tilt has been shaved to a best-of-three, everyone's looking for the one distinct factor that will tip one squad over to the trophy podium. What do I think will make the biggest difference?

Will the Same Continue to Be the Same?

One of the big trends coming into this series was the Warriors' home dominance during the postseason. Boston's Game 1 victory put the first dent in a 9-0 home record for Golden State. With a potential three contests to go, a couple other tendencies stay intact. Throughout the 2022 Playoffs, the Celtics have not lost consecutive games. On a more micro level, I alluded to the fact that the first four matchups of the Finals have alternated victors. To lift the trophy again, the Warriors will need to break both of these (either Monday or in Sunday's Game 7).

Can Golden State's Leader Keep Up the Pace?

Steph Curry has everything to fill a Hall of Fame career. To increase his legend, however, there is something the sharpshooter hasn't achieved. Curry doesn't have a Finals MVP. While it's not one of my requirements for a player to be an all-time great, winning the award usually means you carry a team to a title. This would definitely be the case if Golden State were to pull this out. Curry's 34.3 ppg are almost double that of any Warrior playing in the series. Does he need another couple of 40-point efforts to lift his team to ultimate victory?

How Deep Can Boston's Star Power Go?

We know that Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are the one-two punch that make the Celtics go. They'll usually get their numbers each night. But who will be the big supplement for Boston? Al Horford and Derrick White came up large in Game 1. Marcus Smart provided that necessary help in Game 3. It appeared that Smart and White had enough to get Game 4. However, Curry's big night prevented a big advantage for the men in green. Was Friday a blip or a sign of trouble?

The Importance of Showing Up Late?

Going back to how this series "moves," there was an odd thing going on into Friday's action. Golden State won each third quarter of the first three games. Boston won all of the fourth quarters. That direction shifted on Friday night. Oh, the Warriors still won the third quarter, but they finally outscored the Celtics over the final 12 minutes of a game. Will Game 5 revert back to that odd inclination? More importantly, who has a better second half? That trend is still going strong, as the higher-scoring team over the last 24 minutes ends up satisfied with the 48-minute result.

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