It’s safe to say that Game 2 of the 2022 NBA Finals was a whole lot better than Game 1 for Dub Nation.
As in the first game, the Golden State Warriors and the Boston Celtics went neck and neck in the first half. And like Game One, the Warriors used a dominant third quarter to build a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter. But unlike Game 1, the Dubs didn’t squander it in Game 2, going home with a 107-88 win, a tie streak and a plane ticket to Boston where things will get very interesting very quickly.
We will discuss that in the next few days. Until then, let’s rank the Warriors players based on our expectations for each one.
Note: The league average true shooting percentage (TS) this season was 56.6%.
35 mins, 9 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 1 turnover, 3 fouls, 2 on 3 shoot, 0 on 1 treble, 5 on 7 free throws, 74.0% TS, +9
Despite the fact that Green regularly fills every box score column, he is a player with a reputation for doing far more than the box score can accurately represent.
And my goodness was that the case on Sunday.
Draymond was a thorn in Boston’s side. He mistook it for Jayson Tatum. He confused it with Jaylen Brown. He confused it with Marcus Smart. He got it mixed up with the whole damn team.
He got reactions from them. On a crucial play, the Warriors attempted to smash the ball and Tatum closely guarded Green. Dray got so physical with the Celtics star forward that the umpires had to separate them three or four times before starting the game … only for Tatum to foul Green on the inbounds.
There’s no better way to describe Dray’s performance than Marcus Thompson II in this tweet:
Draymond really lives for it
— Marcus Thompson II (@ThompsonScribe) June 6, 2022
The box score stats are nice. But the leadership, toughness, mind games and 4D chess are the things that really make Draymond a superstar for this team.
And I can’t help but think we’ll feel the impact of his performance in Game 2 throughout the rest of the series.
Post-Game Bonus: Led the team in assists.
31 mins, 11 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 turnovers, 2 fouls, 4 v 12 shots, 2 v 3 trebles, 1 v 2 free throws, 42.7% TS, +19
Wiggins had a couple of great shots in this game, although his overall offensive performance was rather poor.
But it’s still a good grade in my book simply because his defense against Tatum was mighty impressive. Tatum had a good game and scored the ball but Wiggins really made him work for it.
21 mins, 12 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals, 1 block, 2 fouls, 6-on-6 shooting, 100.0% TS, +24
Looney had 12 points. Al Horford and Robert Williams III have a total of 4 points. Looney took 6 shots. Horford and Williams only shot 5 times together. Looney had 7 rebounds and 2 assists. Horford and Williams combined for 10 rebounds and 2 assists.
His stellar post-season run continues.
Looney also played a big part in helping the team make offensive gains in the first quarter.
Post-Game Bonus: Led the team in rebounds, shared for team lead in plus/minus.
32 mins, 29 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals, 2 turnovers, 2 fouls, 9 v 21 shooting, 5 v 12 trebles, 6 v 7 free throws, 60.2% TS, +24
The main reason the Warriors won this game was Curry’s gravity. There is simply no way around it. The way Boston defended the two-time MVP allowed the team’s offense to thrive … they got four for three with Dray leading the charge, they got Cutter to move to the basket with limited assist defense and they got a lot of open shooters.
This is Curry’s greatest effect. But they also won not least because of his excellent defense.
If the Warriors find a way to win three more games, Curry – who should already be on everyone’s top 10 list but is somehow still disregarded – will add a fourth ring and MVP trophy for the Finals.
And then, maybe, just maybe, people will start to realize that he’s not just a great player of all time, he’s a great player of all time game start players too.
Steph Final’s Career:
He is one of 3 players to ever average 25/5/5 at 55 TS% in finals. The others are LeBron and Jordan. pic.twitter.com/0VJzjIcBTp
— StatMuse (@statmuse) June 6, 2022
Respect the man’s name. He is one of the best that ever made it, on this stage and on all stages.
Post-Game Bonus: Led the team in points, tied for team lead in plus/minus.
30 mins, 11 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, 2 turnovers, 1 foul, 4 v 19 shooting, 1 v 8 trebles, 2 v 2 free throws, 27.7% TS, 0 plus/minus
There is no way to sugarcoat this. That was a really tough game from Klay.
He missed good looks. He forced glares. He didn’t do much else, although he did have some good defensive possessions.
He’s going to have one of those ridiculous games he’s known for and it’s going to be amazing when it happens.
11 minutes, 6 points, 5 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 turnover, 3 fouls, 3-for-4 shooting, 75.0% TS, -7
Bjelica had some pretty surprising minutes early in that game and… he was excellent.
But most of all he was excellent on defense.
And even more notable than that, he excelled on defense on Jayson Tatum.
Bjelica had numerous possessions where he was taken to an island and asked to defend the All-NBA star and he was up to the task. Three fouls in 11 minutes is the only flaw in an outstanding game. We will see more of him in this series.
Post-Game Bonus: Worst plus/minus in the team.
4 minutes, 0 points, -5
Kuminga stays out of the rotation, but the dubs got their fair share of trash time this game.
Otto Porter Jr.
15 mins, 3 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 steals, 1 foul, 1v1 shooting, 1v1 threesomes, 150.0% TS, +24
Porter couldn’t play many minutes, but he was out of light for the minutes he played. He was a threat on defense, did the little things on offense, and was on the court when the Warriors played their best basketball. Partly because of what he was doing.
Post-Game Bonus: Tie for the team leadership plus/minus.
Juan Toscano Anderson
4 minutes, 0 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 turnover, 0-1 shooting, 0-1 trebles, 0.0% TS, -5
Trash time for JTA but he did some nice things while he was out there.
4 minutes, 0 points, 0v1 shooting, 0v1 threesomes, 0.0% TS, -5
Trash time for Lee. Nothing to note.
Gary Payton II
25 mins, 7 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 fouls, 3-on-3 shooting, 1-on-1 three-pointers, 0-on-2 free throws, 90.2% TS, +15
Payton gets a perfect mark here simply for making his first return to the court since breaking his elbow in the Western Conference semifinals after an injury that would sideline him until next season. It was incredible to see him out there.
But he also gets a high mark for playing brilliant basketball at both ends of the court. What a difference it makes to have him back.
23 mins, 17 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 3 turnovers, 1 foul, 6-on-14 shooting, 5-on-9 threes, 60.7% TS, +7
Poole picked up where he left off in the first half with some fights that made you pause. But then he turned on in the second half, highlighted by a memorable sequence late in the third quarter that felt like the game’s greatest moment as he took a comfortable lead through a deep three followed by into a foregone conclusion converted a low three.
Much of his damage came after the outcome was decided, but he still gets high marks for those monumental shots and greatly improved defense.
6 mins, 2 points, 1-on-1 shooting, 100.0% TS, -3
Moody could still play meaningful minutes at some point in this series. But it wasn’t in this game.
Inactive on Sunday: Andre Iguodala, James Wiseman