NBA fans were treated to a stunning comeback win by Boston in Game 1, but can Golden State rebound in Sunday night’s showdown? We’ve got all the important news and stats you should know for Celtics vs. Warriors in the NBA Finals.
Also, we’ll break down the betting angles for Lightning vs. Rangers in the Eastern Conference Final. Can Mika Zibanejad and the Rangers stay hot in Game 2 tonight?
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. New York Rangers
Friday, June 3 | TV: ESPN
As “The Who” would say, the kids are alright in New York. The Rangers’ third line, nicknamed The Kid Line because of their ages, racked up five points in the Rangers’ 6-2 victory in Game 1. They’ve remained aggressive and confident, especially at Madison Square Garden, where the Rangers have gone 7-1 in the postseason. Filip Chytil has been the hottest of the bunch, with five goals in the Rangers’ last three impressive wins. Having a series lead is a welcome change of pace for the Rangers, who fell behind in the first two playoff rounds before rallying back. The Lightning, on the other hand, swept the Panthers, but looked pretty rusty in Game 1 after getting eight days of rest in between series.
Will it be another dominant win for the Blueshirts in Game 2? The reigning Stanley Cup champions might not go down so easy. Over their last three postseasons, the Lightning have a 17-0 record in games following a loss. The Lightning also began their first-round series against Toronto with a 5-0 loss before rebounding with a 5-3 win on the road. The Rangers are on a serious roll, so repeating that same feat isn’t a given, but Tampa Bay’s defense has shown resilience and the ability to make necessary adjustments in the playoffs.
Boston Celtics vs. Golden State Warriors
Sunday, June 5 | TV: ABC
The Celtics outscored the Warriors by 24 points in the fourth quarter and came back to win, 120-108, in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. Al Horford scored 11 points in the final period, including two 3-pointers, to help lead the late rally. The veteran big man finished with 26 points, six rebounds and six 3-pointers, which were the most he’s ever made in a game. After taking such a punch to the gut from the Celts, you have to think Warriors coach Steve Kerr, as well as vocal stars like Steph Curry and Draymond Green, light a fire under their teammates to play better defensively. The Warriors entered the fourth quarter with a 12-point lead, but that was quickly extinguished once Curry went to the bench.
What’s amazing is that the Celtics pulled off the upset despite Jayson Tatum’s off night. Their biggest star shot 3-of-17 from the field but did find his teammates regularly, with a game-high 13 assists on the night. Prior to Thursday night’s tough loss, the Warriors had been undefeated at the Chase Center this postseason, reeling off nine straight wins over the previous rounds. Now they’ll have a couple of days off to regroup before Game 2 takes place. Will there be an encore for Curry after his 34-point performance led the Dubs? Well, the Celtics’ top-rated defense has seemingly game-planned to shut off Curry’s perimeter shooting, who only hit one 3-pointer after his scorching first quarter in Game 1. The Warriors will likely need bigger efforts from Klay Thompson and Jordan Poole from beyond the arc.