Analyzing the Bill Simmons Podcast: What Went Wrong for the Celtics in Their Title Quest

Did the Boston Celtics Miss Their Chance at the 2022 NBA Championship?

When it comes to New England sports, one name that immediately comes to mind is Bill Simmons. Known for his passion as a Boston Celtics superfan, Simmons recently expressed his belief that his favorite team squandered their opportunity to win the 2022 NBA Championship. This sentiment arose after the Celtics lost Game 5 against the formidable Golden State Warriors, putting them behind in the series with a score of 3-2.

Simmons, in all fairness, does think that the Celtics have a chance to bounce back and win Game 6 at their home ground, TD Garden. This would tie the series before heading into a decisive Game 7 at the Warriors’ home court, Chase Center in San Francisco. Many experts also share this outlook, with the Celtics potentially triumphing in Game 6, only to be thwarted by the Warriors in the ultimate showdown.

Simmons’ Playful Remark on the Referee Assignment

Add a touch of humor to the discussion, Simmons jokingly speculates about the potential referee assignment for Game 6. He quips, “I assume it’s Scott Foster the Extender coming to Boston. Has the season reached the point where we’re like, ‘Please give us Scott Foster for a chance at Game 6?'”

Putting the game dynamics aside momentarily, let’s take a look at the current odds. The Celtics are -4 favorites at home for Game 6, with a total of 210 points. As the underdogs, the Warriors carry a +150 moneyline, while the Celtics sit at -170. In terms of winning the championship, the Warriors are favored at -360 odds, whereas the Celtics need to overcome the odds as +270 dogs and win back-to-back elimination games to complete their comeback.

The Fallout from Game 5

On the latest episode of his podcast, Simmons discussed the aftermath of Game 5 with his long-time friend, Kevin Hench. The Celtics’ 104-94 defeat marked their first consecutive losses in the postseason. Simmons wasted no time in making his stance clear, stating, “I think I just saw the Celtics throw away the 2022 title.”

One noticeable pattern throughout this series has been the Celtics’ struggles in the third quarter of previous games. However, in Game 5, they came out strong after halftime, only to be dominated by the Warriors in the final quarter. The Celtics could only muster 20 points, coupled with turnovers and Jayson Tatum’s sudden decline in performance during crunch time.

Both Hench and Simmons agree that Andrew Wiggins played a pivotal role in the back-to-back losses for the Celtics, while also highlighting the lackluster performance of the Celtics’ bench. Despite Stephen Curry having an off night in Game 5, shooting 0-for-9 from 3-point range, Wiggins and the rest of the Warriors stepped up to fill the offensive void. Wiggins contributed a team-high 26 points and 13 rebounds in the 10-point victory. In the previous game (Game 4), Wiggins scored 17 points and grabbed 16 rebounds to help the Warriors tie the series at 2-2.

The underperforming role players from the Celtics’ second unit have also come under scrutiny. In Game 4, they collectively shot 5-for-16, but their performance dipped even further in Game 5 with a measly 1-for-8 shooting display.

Tatum’s Struggles and Possible Injuries

An area of concern for the Celtics lies in Jayson Tatum’s struggles. Perhaps to improve his performance, Tatum should focus on shooting more 3-pointers, as he has been remarkably accurate from beyond the arc (47.5%). Additionally, he needs to avoid constantly seeking fouls in the paint, especially considering that officials tend to call fewer whistles in the postseason, allowing for a more physical game.

Tatum’s shooting inside the paint has been subpar, with a meager 30.6% success rate. Both Hench and Simmons express frustration at Tatum’s missed layups, especially considering the Warriors’ lack of a shot-blocker in the post.

There is speculation that Tatum may be nursing a shoulder or neck injury, which he initially sustained in a stinger against the Miami Heat in the previous round. However, fans in New England are eagerly awaiting a career-defining performance from Tatum in the NBA Finals, akin to Stephen Curry’s 43-point outburst in Game 4. While Tatum has averaged 23.2 points per game in the NBA Finals, he has failed to surpass the 30-point mark against the Warriors.

Tatum demonstrated his scoring prowess in the earlier rounds, scoring two 30-point games during the Boston Celtics’ sweep of the Brooklyn Nets in the first round, including a remarkable 39-point performance in Game 3. He followed this up in the second round with a stunning 46-point eruption in Game 6, a must-win elimination game on the road against the Milwaukee Bucks. Furthermore, Tatum recorded two 30-point games in the Eastern Conference finals against the staunch defense of the Miami Heat. Yet, in the NBA Finals, he has yet to surpass the 30-point mark.

Conclusion

In conclusion, despite Bill Simmons’ concerns about the Boston Celtics’ missed opportunity, there is still hope for a comeback in the NBA Finals. Game 6 will be a crucial moment for the Celtics to prove their resilience and tie the series. However, the Golden State Warriors are a formidable opponent, and Game 7, if necessary, will present a significant challenge for the Celtics on the Warriors’ home court.

FAQs

1. Can the Boston Celtics still win the 2022 NBA Championship?

While the Celtics are facing a 3-2 deficit in the series, there is still a possibility for them to win the championship. They must first win Game 6 to tie the series and then secure a victory in the decisive Game 7.

2. Who has been the standout player for the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals?

Andrew Wiggins has emerged as a key contributor for the Warriors, playing a significant role in their back-to-back victories. His scoring ability and rebounding prowess have made a notable impact on the series.

3. What has been Jayson Tatum’s biggest struggle in the NBA Finals?

Tatum has been struggling with finishing at the rim in the NBA Finals. Despite the absence of a strong shot-blocker from the Warriors, he has missed several layups, hindering the Celtics’ offensive efficiency.

4. Are there any injuries affecting the Celtics’ performance?

Rumors suggest that Jayson Tatum may be dealing with a shoulder or neck injury, which could be impacting his performance on the court. However, no official confirmation has been provided regarding his injury status.

5. What are the odds of the Celtics winning the championship?

The Celtics face an uphill battle to clinch the championship, with the Warriors being favored to win. The Celtics are the underdogs according to the current odds, but they still have a chance if they can execute a comeback in the remaining games.

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Doug I. Jones

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