It all comes down to this.
For Golden State, a championship would further the team’s dynastic reign, adding a new chapter to an already supreme run with its fourth title in eight years. Boston, on the other hand, would rear itself as basketball’s greatest franchise once again, breaking a tie with the Lakers for the most titles in NBA history, and setting the foundation for its own hopeful empire.
So who wins Game 6 in Boston?
Shannon Sharpe is riding with the home team.
“I know what [the Celtics] are capable of doing when they play smart basketball, move the ball and don’t get bogged down,” he told Skip Bayless Thursday on “Undisputed.” “Sometimes I think they resort to being isolation players because they don’t have a point guard who can get them easy shots.
“I’m expecting them play to their best game. But it can’t be a situation where all of a sudden, the crowd is nervous. The crowd needs to energize them like, ‘we got this.’ Stop overthinking this, Jayson Tatum, you’re overthinking it. I’m not concerned about what Kobe Bryant would do in this situation, I just need to know what are you going to do? Remember the games you had against Kevin Durant, Giannis [Antentokounmpo] and Jimmy Butler. Go out and play your game, you’re that talented. You guys belong here.”
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The Celtics are four-point favorites, according to FOX Bet Sportsbook, against the Warriors in Game 6 of the NBA Finals. Shannon Sharpe predicts Thursday’s winner.
Bayless went in the other direction.
“The truth is, Golden State is just better than Boston,” he retorted. “They’re more talented because they have the two greatest shooters in history.
“They’re just smarter, because Boston is fatally flawed with no point guard. They have the Defensive Player of the Year [Marcus Smart] masquerading as a point guard, and it just tears your heart out down the stretch of every winnable game. You can just see it: The two wings can’t find their way when it’s time to do so, because they don’t have anybody to settle and orchestrate, and get them the right-place, right-time shot. … In the end, the deciding factor for me is depth of experience that Golden State has.”
Al Horford has appeared in 146 postseason contests, though slightly more than half came with the Hawks. The combination of Horford, Tatum, Brown and Smart have played in about 60 playoff games together.
“The fatal flaw of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown: They lost two home playoff games to Milwaukee and Miami, they almost blew a Game 7 against Miami,” Bayless opined. “They’ve already lost one home game to the Warriors, and my gut is they’re going to lose another one. I think they have a hard time living up to the high-decibel expectations of the home crowd. And Steph Curry loves this building, and the negativity directed at him.”
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