Jun 14, 2022

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The Boston Celtics lost Game 5 of the 2022 NBA Finals and once again, turnovers were to blame. A few hours after the Golden State Warriors prevailed, 104-94 and gained the lead in the series 3-2, Jayson Tatum sat at the podium and just confirmed what everyone’s been thinking for the entire postseason. “Yeah, we got to be better. We’re hard to beat when we don’t turn the ball over. Clearly, we’re easy to beat when we do turn the ball over,” Tatum said. The Celtics simply couldn’t take care of the ball – they coughed it up 18 times, contributing to the Warriors’ 22 points. It was definitely a margin that influenced the outcome, especially since it was a low-scoring game won by just 10 points. This will most likely become a reflection of the entire series as well. The Finals saw the Warriors converting the Celtics’ 78 turnovers into 103 points. Since 1990, that is the  third most points off turnovers through the first five games of a Finals. Only the Chicago Bulls in 1991 and 1992 have benefited more from opponent turnovers 32 years since then. The Celtics are turning the ball over on 16.3 percent of their possessions in the Finals, and it has become a compounding issue for the team. They aren’t even giving themselves a chance to score on nearly one out of every five possessions.  This is already bad enough, but they are also making it too easy for the Warriors to score on the other end since they were able to play in transition instead of against a set defense.  This is the third time during the series that Boston committed 16 or more turnovers and they have lost in all those three games. Looking at the entire playoffs, the Celtics are now 1-7 when they committed turnovers 16-plus times, and 14-2 when they committed less than that. The Warriors defense should also take the credit. By accident, they weren’t one of the best defensive teams in the league this season. But during the recent games, they were able to amp up the pressure and intensity. Jaylen Brown said: “They’re a really good defensive team. Disciplined and sound. They’ve forced us to do what obviously we don’t do best. We just got to continue to recognize the game, see the game and make in-game adjustments. Take care of the ball when it comes down to it.”   Sloppiness and inexplicable mistakes have also contributed to much of the Celtics’ turnover issue. Game 5 saw Boston doing inaccurate passes, losing track of court position, being careless with the ball, and exhibiting poor decision making – just like what they did throughout the playoffs.   During the middle of the second quarter and the Warriors were already ahead by 12, Tatum drove to the court and made a quick pass behind Robert Williams III.  Draymond Green takes it the other way and gets two free throws for it. Plays like this have no place in an NBA Finals game. During the third quarter, the Celtics are on the verge of taking the lead as they make their run when Al Horford snags a rebound and runs up the floor into traffic. He then tries to execute a dribble handoff on the run with Jaylen Brown, even though the Celtics don’t have the numbers. The Warriors end up with two free throws for Klay Thompson because of this blunder. “Another game with too many turnovers. It cost us,” Brown said. The Celtics weren’t themselves in Game 5…or were they? If that’s the case, then it’s going to be a problem, especially now that they are on the brink.
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