Will Steph Curry be Celtics’ focus, or will Warriors need Game 6 Klay?

BOSTON — With the Golden State Warriors winning three games to two in the Finals and one win away from winning an NBA title, here are three key factors for Thursday night’s Game 6 against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden:

Game 6 Clay: Shooting 55% from field and 50% from 3-point range in his final five quarters in the finals, Klay Thompson makes it seem like he’s on course for another notable performance in Game 6.

Thompson had a rollercoaster ride of a postseason in terms of his efficiency on the floor. But this is also a guy who had to recover for 941 days between games, first recovering from a cruciate ligament rupture in his left knee, followed by a ruptured right Achilles tendon. The fact that he’s averaging 19.4 points per game on 44% shooting this postseason is an achievement in itself. And as Games 4 and 5 of the Finals proved, Thompson can still take on the toughest defensive duties when asked.

Thompson has historically been best in the playoffs in Game 6 scenarios. The Celtics will play desperately on Thursday night, looking to keep the game out of Stephen Curry’s control by any means necessary. That said, Thompson should get his fair share of scoring chances. The Warriors need him to come back from the NBA champion in Boston.

How Will Boston Curry Guard? It’s safe to assume that Curry won’t be going 0-9 out of the 3-point range again any time soon. But hey, hats off to the Celtics and head coach Ime Udoka for the adjustments and ways of making Curry uncomfortable after he lit them for 43 points in Game 4.

The Celtics had been playing drop coverage on ball screens for most of the series and decided to sacrifice Curry pull-up 3-pointers to limit the Warriors’ ball movement. But in Game 5, they adjusted their cover to take Curry’s hit away, augmenting their big men in action and denying his shot more often rather than stepping back towards the edge.

While battling from deep in Game 5, Curry still shot 58% from the field on 2-point attempts and dished out eight assists. The Warriors were plus-15 when Curry was on the court because the extra attention Boston gave him created scoring chances for Thompson, Andrew Wiggins and others.

So in Game 6 it will be interesting to see if the Celtics maintain the same defensive approach at Curry or change things up again. They could probably live with a 26-point performance from Wiggins. But if Curry walks away again with more than 40 points, the finals don’t get to a Game 7.

Celtics refuse to die: The Warriors have learned the hard way this postseason that finals games are toughest on the road, and the Celtics have gotten more tailwinds than any other team.

Boston is 3-0 in eliminations in this playoff after sweeping the nets in the first round. Two of those wins came against the Bucks in Games 6 and 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals to recover from a 3-2 deficit, and the other came in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Heat. Two of those three wins came on the road.

While the Celtics are only 6-5 at home this postseason, the playoff game the team is currently in is different. This is the final. Although Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are young, some players have spent their entire careers trying to reach the finals.

The Celtics are favored to win Game 6 for a reason. They’ve got their backs against the wall and TD Garden is going to rock. It’s up to the Warriors to stand up to them shot after shot. If they don’t make it, we’re hosting a Game 7 in San Francisco on Sunday.

And at that point, anything can happen.

CJ Holmes covers the Warriors for The San Francisco Chronicle. E-mail:
cj.holmes@sfchronicle.com Twitter:

@CjHolmes22

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.