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Bold predictions for Game 4 of the NBA Finals between the Boston Celtics, Golden State Warriors

Andrew Buller-Russ

Spectators hoping to take in a back-and-forth NBA Finals series between the Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors have gotten their wish, in a way, with each team alternating wins through three games. On the other hand, there hasn’t been a game decided by less than 12 points thus far with the Celtics leading 2-1.

The Celtics have taken one at home and one on the road, but now they’ll try and become the first team to win consecutive games in the series unless the Warriors get in the way. Unlike Boston who’s led by first-year head coach Ime Udoka, Golden State has plenty of Finals experience among its key contributors, which could prove to be the key as the series continues.

Here are four bold predictions for Game 4, which takes place Friday night at the TD Garden in Boston.

Related: Boston Celtics beat Golden State Warriors in Game 3: A look at 4 takeaways

Golden State drops 40 in the first quarter

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

The Stephen Curry-led Warriors are known for going off from time to time, with explosive bouts of scoring splurges, but we haven’t seen them come unhinged yet this series.

So far the Celtics are the only team to have a 40-point quarter this series, which came in the fourth quarter of Game 1. While the C’s top-ranked defense has clearly been a factor all series, the Warriors have the potential to do more.

Undoubtedly frustrated by going ice cold in the final frame of Game 3, in which they scored just 11 points compared to Boston’s 23, watch out for the Splash Brothers to show up in full force early on in Game 4, putting up 40 in the first quarter.

Curry isn’t coming into the game feeling 100%, but the adrenaline will carry him early on, and Jordan Poole has to be itching to put on a show after averaging just 12 points per game through the first three games of the series. Ditto for Draymond Green, who’s been atrocious so far, but more on that in a bit.

Related: Why the Golden State Warriors dynasty hinges on Game 4 of the NBA Finals

Jayson Tatum posts another dud

NBA: Finals-Golden State Warriors at Boston Celtics
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

In Game 1, Jayson Tatum had an embarrassing shooting display, hitting just three shots on 17 attempts, coming through with 12 points, and chipping in 13 assists. While Jayson Tatum’s point totals have since grown, (28 points in Game 2, 26 points in Game 3), his shooting percentage is still pitiful at 32.9%.

As much as his team will look to rely on his offensive prowess again in Game 4, especially if the Warriors get out to a hot start, Tatum will struggle once again. Andrew Wiggins has been aggressive early on offensively, fading later in the game, but if he focuses more of his energy on defense from the jump, it could set the tone for the rest of the night.

Tatum might still be effective in other aspects, like setting up teammates (averaging 8.3 assists per game in NBA Finals), but I don’t predict him to suddenly have a hot shooting night, not in Game 4 anyway.

Related: 2022 NBA Finals: Ranking the top-10 players between the Golden State Warriors and Boston Celtics

Draymond Green turns back the clock for epic performance

NBA: Finals-Golden State Warriors at Boston Celtics
Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

Perhaps more than any other player entering Friday night, Draymond Green has a large chip on his shoulder to come through for his teammates. Green won’t lead the Warriors in points, or come anywhere close, but for him to be at his best, the defensive wizard doesn’t have to.

If Green can manage to keep his head in the game, while still playing aggressively, setting the tone by playing chippy without fouling, scrapping for extra possessions, he can make a major impact. As he mentioned, it could be as simple as getting off to a strong start.

“I just think I never found a rhythm, really on both ends of the floor. Not enough force. But just got to find a rhythm quicker. I was soft. That’s what was most disappointing to me, for us.”

Draymond Green after Game 3 performance

Green appears to already know what he needs to do to get into a better mindset in Game 4. He’s been here before and he knows what it takes, so I fully expect him to be a key contributor on Friday night.

Related: NBA Finals: Draymond Green has been a liability for Warriors versus Celtics

Boston Celtics lose rebounding battle for the first time this series

NBA: Finals-Boston Celtics at Golden State Warriors
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Winning the rebounding battle is always key. Not only are the Celtics leading in the win column, but they’re also pulling down more rebounds.

Rebounding stats through Game 3

  • Celtics:
    • Game 1 – 39 rebounds, Game 2 – 43, Game 3 – 43
  • Warriors:
    • Game 1 – 39 rebounds, Game 2 – 39, Game 3 – 42

One player we haven’t heard much from is Kevon Looney from the Warriors. Sure, he’s probably the sixth-most important player on the squad, but he has the ability to dominate the glass, we just haven’t seen it yet in this series.

With Robert Williams still fighting through knee soreness and unlikely to play major minutes, Draymond Green and Looney have an opportunity to smack the C’s in the mouth and never look back. If they can get off to a hot start by winning the rebounding battle while hitting their shots, the Warriors will easily tie the series at two wins a piece.

Related: NBA games today: NBA Finals schedule, TV info and best bets