When the NBA Finals rematch between the Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors takes place Saturday night in San Francisco, both teams will be refreshed but not fully prepared.
The Warriors won the title in six games after coming back from a 2-1 deficit with three straight victories, two of which came at Boston.
Robert Williams, a centre for the Celtics, and Andrew Wiggins, a swingman for the Warriors, both of whom were essential to their teams’ playoff runs a year ago, won’t participate in the first of this season’s two regular-season matchups. The clubs will square off once more in Boston on January 19.
Al Horford of Boston (health and safety procedure) and Andre Iguodala of Golden State (strained left hip) will both miss the reunion.
Williams underwent knee surgery after suffering an ailment that frequently kept him out of action throughout the previous season. Williams’ condition was upgraded to day-to-day by Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla.
NBA Finals Rematch: Celtics and Warriors Not at Full Strength
With outstanding success this season, the Celtics have adopted a smaller look without Williams. One of the league’s most effective forward combinations is Jaylen Brown (26.7 points per game) and Jayson Tatum (30.5 points per game).
In their third straight road game, the Celtics thrashed the Phoenix Suns 125-98 on Wednesday night, with each player scoring 25 points. The past two days have been free in Boston.
Golden State hasn’t played since losing to the Utah Jazz on the road, 124-123, despite having a late lead. The Warriors were without Wiggins, who will miss his third straight Saturday due to right adductor stiffness, as well as Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, and Wiggins, who were all resting minor injuries.
When he led the Golden State comeback with double-doubles in Games 4 and 5, averaging 21.5 points and 14.5 rebounds, Wiggins attracted recognition as the Finals MVP.
Curry led the Finals in scoring with 31.2 points per game, earning the Bill Russell Award as the series MVP.
The Warriors have dropped two straight games to drop to 13-13, but they don’t seem to be worried about that or their matchup with the Celtics. Curry was really distracted in the days leading up to the showcase competition by accepting the Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year award and cheering for the comeback of women’s basketball great Brittney Griner.
Regarding the prisoner exchange between the United States and Russia, Curry said, “It’s amazing that Brittney’s home.” Shoutout to President Biden and his team, as well as to all the athletes, activists, and other public figures that spoke up for her.
The Celtics, on the other hand, have been all business as they’ve amassed the best record in the league (21-5) and started a six-game trip with victories in Brooklyn, Toronto, and Phoenix. Before returning home, they will make a stop in Los Angeles to play the Clippers on Monday and the Lakers on Tuesday.
Brown, a former standout at the University of California, emphasised that the Warriors defeat last June has not been forgotten.
There is nothing more humbleing than losing in the NBA Finals, according to Brown. Nothing can teach you humility like losing in the most important competition of your career. In this season, we were all humbled, and I believe that is a characteristic of us. We are performing from the pain of loss.