NBA Finals, Game 6: Golden St. at Boston

Boston is facing its fourth elimination game of the playoffs at home Thursday vs. Golden St. The Celtics are 3-0 both SU and ATS in their three previous such spots.

Boston Celtics vs. Golden State Warriors

Line: Boston -4

Total: 210

Where: TD Garden

When: Thursday, 6/16 at 9:00 p.m. ET

TV: ABC

Golden State can win its fourth NBA title since 2015 when it travels to Boston for Game 6 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night.

The Warriors have now won back-to-back games, although the path to victory looked very different each time. Star guard Steph Curry had a heroic performance in Game 4 at TD Garden, but he shot 0 of 9 from 3-point range on Monday. Small forward Andrew Wiggins stepped up to score 26 points, and his team’s defense held Boston to a 41.3 percent shooting clip in the game.

The betting market is not convinced that the Celtics are done just yet, though. They opened as 3.5-point favorites for Game 6 and have been bet up to -4, as of Wednesday afternoon. Thursday night’s total opened at 212 and has been bet down to 210.

The total has been correlated with the winner of each game thus far, going ‘under’ in all three of Golden State’s wins and ‘over’ in both of Boston’s victories. These teams have now gone ‘under’ in 14 of their last 18 head-to-head meetings.

Monday’s game followed a different path after some similar results in the first four games of the series. The Warriors had relied on strong third quarters throughout the NBA Finals, but it was Boston that pushed back from a deficit to outscore the hosts 35-24 in the third period of Game 5. Golden State responded in the fourth quarter with a strong defensive effort to hold Boston in check down the stretch.

The Celtics have now lost consecutive games for the first time this postseason, despite Jayson Tatum scoring 27 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. They turned the ball over 18 times, while Golden State only gave it away six times. Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart took over 70 percent of the team’s shots, making a combined 22 of 53 from the floor.

They have been held under 100 points in all three of their losses in the series. Curry shot 7 of 22 from the floor for 16 points, which came one game after pouring in 43 points on the road. He had made at least one 3-pointer in an NBA record 132 consecutive playoff games prior to Monday night.

“Of course it bothers me as a shooter,” Curry said. “You want to impact the game that way. But thankfully that’s not the only thing that you can do out there on the court. Obviously, track record says I shoot the ball better the next game. Looking forward to that bounce back.”

Golden State finished with five players scoring at least 14 points, including an underrated 21-point effort from Klay Thompson. He scored eight points in the fourth quarter of Game 4 and then shot 5 of 11 from downtown in Game 5. Wiggins led the team in scoring and rebounding while helping limit Tatum, who is shooting 30.6 percent from 2-point range in the series.

“We ain’t got to win two in one day,” Tatum said. “We just got to win one game on Thursday. We’ve been in this situation before. So it’s not over. Got to win on Thursday. That’s all we got to worry about right now.”

Boston is now 13-3 against the spread in its last 16 games following a loss. Golden State has covered in eight of its last 11 games, but the Warriors are 2-6 ATS in their last six road tilts.

The pick: Boston -4

It would be tough to blame anyone for backing the Warriors as road ‘dogs on Thursday night. They did, in fact, take care of business at home without their best player making much of an impact. They also have championship pedigree to rely on in this spot, while Boston is trying to keep its season alive in an unfamiliar position. I am still going to roll with the Celtics to come up with one more strong bounce-back performance, though. Turnovers and missed free throws were the story in Game 5, two things which I expect to be cleaned up at home. If the Celtics can avoid mistakes, they are still the better team in this series. They also have their backs against the wall much like Golden State did in Game 4, which means Ime Udoka and co. cannot afford to play anything other than their best lineup in the second half. The Warriors have a little more breathing room after winning the past two games.

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