The Golden State Warriors have the advantage of Finals experience over the Boston Celtics - no one among the Celtics player ever played in a Finals game. Despite the overwhelming advantage, the Warriors must make the series short because they don't want to face Jayson Tatum in a Game 7.
Jayson Tatum's Game 7 record
The magical run of the Boston Celtics to the finals announced the arrival of Jayson Tatum as one of the best players of his generation. Boston wasn't supposed to make it to the Finals, not with their dismal win-loss record in the first part of the season. But something clicked at the turn of the new year and a lot of it can be credited to Tatum.
That's one of the reasons the Warriors must make the series short. As the Finals go the distance, Jayson and the Celtics become more dangerous. The multi-talented forward has proven he is a clutch performer. His track record for Game 7s is 5-1, with the only loss coming from LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2018. Even if Boston, as a team, lacked finals experience, they have been tested in do-or-die games, and it could be a significant factor if the series goes to seven games.
What GSW must do to defeat the Celtics
Stopping Tatum is easier said than done. He improved other areas of his game, most notably, shot selection and passing. Head coach Ime Udoka also instilled relentless effort on defense in his players, which was key against Kevin Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Jimmy Butler.
For the Warriors, daring other Celtics to beat them could be risky. Jaylen Brown could erupt anytime. We've seen Al Horford, Grant Williams, Marcus Smart, and Derrick White all have breakout games when teams decided to take Tatum away.
The pressure is on Golden State, given their experience and the way they dismantled opponents en route to the finals. Stephen Curry knows his window to win a title closes sooner than later. The Warriors are the favorites to win it all but expect Tatum and the Celtics to throw everything and the kitchen sink.
Steph Curry played in four Game 7s in his career with a 2-2 win-loss record. So it's clear that for Steve Kerr, the shorter the series, the better. For Boston, the longer the series goes, the greater chances they have to win the championship. But as with any Game 7, if the Finals go there, stats don't matter anymore: it's who wants it more than the other. Steph Curry vs. Jayson Tatum in a do-or-die should be a good one.