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Bold predictions for Game 1 of the NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors, Boston Celtics

Vincent Frank

Game 1 of the 2022 NBA Finals will tip-off Thursday night in San Francisco. The Western Conference champion Golden State Warriors are favored to defeat the Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics.

As with the entire series, Game 1 is expected to be hotly-contested. Boston brings the best defense in the NBA with it to the Chase Center while the Warriors’ ability to score will put said defense to the test.

There’s headliners here in that of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. But the opener could be decided by lesser-known players set to make an impact. Below, we provide you with four bold predictions for Game 1 of the NBA Finals between the Warriors and Celtics.

Related: Top-10 players of the 2022 NBA Finals

Jayson Tatum will drop 40 in Game 1 of the NBA Finals

game 1 2022 nba finals: jayson tatum, boston celtics
Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

Andrew Wiggins did well to make Luka Doncic a volume scorer in the Western Conference Finals. While the Dallas Mavericks’ star averaged 32 points per game, he also shot a mere 42% from the field. We’re expecting Wiggins to follow Tatum around throughout the NBA Finals, too. It’s going to be a task.

Tatum has dropped 30-plus points seven times thus far in the playoffs. That includes a 46-point outing in the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Milwaukee Bucks. We’re going to boldly predict that he hits 40 points for a second time in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. It might not be efficient, but it will keep Boston close.

Early technicals for Marcus Smart, Draymond Green in Game 1 of the NBA Finals

2022 nba finals game 1: draymond green, marcus smart
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Two NBA Defensive Player of the Year winners. Two hot heads. Two players who love to set the tone for a series. We know that Smart and Green will go at it at times during the NBA Finals. We also know the backstory here.

Back in March 16, Smart dove for a loose ball in the first half. Said play resulted in a foot injury for Warriors star Stephen Curry. It forced him to miss the final 12 regular-season games. Following Boston’s win, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr had a lot to say about the play in question.

“I thought it was a dangerous play. I thought Marcus dove into Steph’s knee and that’s what I was upset about. A lot of respect for Marcus. He’s a hell of a player, gamer, competitor. I coached him in the world cup a couple summers ago. We talked after the game and we’re good. But I thought it was a dangerous play and just let him know.”

Steve Kerr on Marcus Smart, Stephen Curry incident

It’s debatable whether the play was dangerous or even dirty. What we do know is that this wasn’t too long ago. It’s on the mind of the Warriors. We wouldn’t be surprised if Green lets Smart know about it early, leading to double technicals to open up the 2022 NBA Finals.

Related: Golden State Warriors to the NBA Finals, winners/losers from Game 5

Jordan Poole leads the Golden State Warriors in scoring

nba finals game 1: jordan poole, golden state warriors
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

With Curry on a minutes restriction to open up the 2022 NBA Playoffs due to the aforementioned injury, Poole came to play big time against the Denver Nuggets. The sharp-shooting guard showed us that he can in fact be the third Splash Brother in San Francisco. It’s been a continuing theme throughout the playoffs.

Those shooting numbers are absolutely ridiculous. In fact, Poole shot an absurd 64% in the Western Conferenec Finals. With Smart mirroring Curry throughout the NBA Finals and Poole coming off the bench, the 22-year-old guard is going to have ample opportunites to lead the second unit. It’s in this that we’re predicting he’ll actually lead Golden State in scoring in Game 1.

Related: 2022 NBA Playoff and championship predictions

Game 1 of the NBA Finals goes to overtime

NBA: Boston Celtics at Golden State Warriors
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Golden State currently finds itself as 3.5-point favorites for Game 1. The team is 9-0 at home thus far in the playoffs, outscoring its opponents by an average of 14.8 points per game. As for Boston, it’s actually 7-2 on the road during the postseason.

Something will have to give here. With the Warriors having six days of rest, they could either come out on fire or cold. It’s going to be one or the other. We’re predicting the latter. Couple that with Boston’s elite-level defense and the Eastern Conference champs will have an opportunity to steal home-court in the 2022 NBA Finals.

Our bold prediction is that Boston finds itself up three late in the game and decides not to foul. Instead, Klay Thompson forces overtime with a trey — leading to a dramatic Warriors home win in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.