The Boston Celtics are four victories away from a league-record 18th NBA title.
They’ll have to knock off three-time champions Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green in the NBA Finals, but there are plenty of sharp minds who believe Boston has the ingredients to finish the job against the big, bad Golden State Warriors.
“The Celtics have a lot of pieces that play important roles,” Westgate SuperBook vice president of risk management Jeff Sherman told NESN. “You can look at some other teams and they might have two or three superstars, yet team depth doesn’t get discussed enough.
“(Jayson) Tatum is a superstar and Jaylen Brown isn’t considered one, but there are so many solid players that fill certain roles. Whether it’s Marcus Smart with his defense, Robert Williams’ rim protection, Al Horford’s leadership and guys like Derrick White and Grant Williams contributing off the bench.
“Boston has the pieces that complement each other. It’s very difficult to compile a team that plays to its roles exactly as they need to. And the Celtics have been doing it for several months now.”
Sherman has been high on the Celtics since February — when he began to drastically shorten their odds behind the counter — and professional bettors have been singing the same song about Boston’s potential for a while now. The Celtics finished a ridiculous 26-6 down the home stretch, which raised plenty of eyebrows.
“They started clicking and winning games by huge margins,” Sherman remembered. “We’re talking 30- and 40-point victories against teams like Miami and Brooklyn and Philly. As deep as the East was this year, those beatdowns were still flying under the radar to some extent.”
Curry, Thompson and Green are obviously the elephants in the room, players with championship pedigree who have endless experience in crucial moments of Finals past. Curry’s brilliance, Thompson’s sharpshooting and Green’s intangibles have proven to be a deadly combination over the years.
“They’ve all been here before, but there’s a lot of youth on that side, too,” Sherman countered. “Golden State is relying on a lot of youth and experience for the first time in a long time. If the supporting cast doesn’t hold up its end of the bargain, it could be a frustrating series for the Warriors.
“And Golden State hasn’t seen a defense like this in the postseason.”