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Monday, July 15, 2024

Warriors-Celtics Finals Matchup A Classic Clash Of Opposites

  • Golden State is first in PPG (114.2), APG (28.3), and offensive rating (116.1).
  • Boston is second in OPP PPG (101), OPP FG % (43.3), and defensive rating (105.1).
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA Finals matchup between the Warriors and Celtics could be one of the most memorable we’ve seen in recent years — a perfect collision between stellar offense and elite defense.

In different ways, both teams are looking to reclaim dynasties built on a smart mix of star power and homegrown talent — just as the superteam era appears to be on its last legs. 

As the league’s most storied franchise with 17 titles, the Celtics are only making their first Finals appearance since 2010, while the Warriors are going for their fourth title since 2014 and making their sixth Finals appearance in eight years. The differences don’t end there.

  • The Warriors’ $179M payroll is the highest in the league; Boston’s $138M is 11th.
  • Golden State is first in PPG (114.2), APG (28.3), and offensive rating (116.1) — while Boston is second in OPP PPG (101), OPP FG % (43.3), and defensive rating (105.1).
  • The Warriors have collectively played in 123 Finals games — the Celtics none
  • GS coach Steve Kerr won eight rings as a player and coach — Boston’s first-year coach Ime Udoka has only been to the Finals as an assistant.

One thing the teams have in common: a shared belief in prioritizing continuity over splashy trades and free-agent signings.

This is the first time since the 1998 Bulls-Jazz matchup that the top three postseason scorers on each side — the Warriors’ Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Jordan Poole; the Celtics’ Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Smart — debuted with their respective teams.

As Game 1 approaches (Thursday, 9:00 PM ET), speculation somehow seems both lopsided and even — 58.6% of bettors believe the Warriors will win it all, while analytics-based FiveThirtyEight has given the Celtics an 80% chance of taking the trophy.

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