The Golden State Warriors are yet to learn of their NBA Finals opponent, with the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics set to square off in a massive game seven on Sunday.
Ahead of game six, Draymond Green publicly noted that he expects to play the Celtics who, at the time, had a 3-2 lead and were on their home court for game six, to win. Was that a ploy to motivate the Heat because he would rather play them, or an innocent answer to a straightforward question?
The Warriors will be confident regardless of who they play in the NBA Finals, but the coaching staff will undoubtedly have a preference on which team they face.
The Warriors may have played the two teams just twice each during the regular season, but those meetings weren’t short on drama. Golden State last played Miami in late March, chalking up a win on the road despite missing Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.
However, the game is best known for a blow up between Jimmy Butler and Heat coach Erik Spoelstra during a timeout.
The Warriors and Celtics split their two meetings during the regular season, but it was the matchup at Chase Center that’ll retain in the memories of each supporter base.
Boston won the game by 22 points, but not before an incident between Marcus Smart and Stephen Curry that left the two-time MVP with a left foot sprain. The Warriors’ superstar played only 14 mins and subsequently missed the remainder of the regular season.
The Warriors will likely be hoping for a Miami victory in game seven. That’s not necessarily because they beat them twice during the regular season, but because they forecast as a more suitable matchup for Steve Kerr and his coaching staff.
If the Warriors do face Miami, expect them to defend in a similar manner as they did against the Mavericks. Jimmy Butler is their lone superstar, although he does perhaps have a better supporting cast than what Luka Doncic had.
Still, expect Golden State, led by Andrew Wiggins, to load up on Butler much like they did Doncic. Miami’s role players have been incredibly hit and miss from the perimeter during the Eastern Conference Finals.
In Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, the Celtics have two major offensive threats to combat. Boston also has greater flexibility in their frontcourt, with the capacity to go defensive with two bigs in Al Horford and Robert Williams III, or maximize perimeter shooting with Horford and Grant Williams.
Regardless of who they face, the Warriors have earned home-court advantage and will host game one of the NBA Finals at Chase Center on Thursday.