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Can underdog Boston Celtics upset the Warriors - again?

Can underdog Boston Celtics upset the Warriors – again?

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Al Horford's MVP odds shift significantly after spectacular Game One performance

The Boston Celtics have found themselves in some difficult situations this spring.

Outside of an opening round sweep of the Brooklyn Nets, the Celtics have not had an easy path to the NBA Finals, needing the maximum seven games to knock off Milwaukee in the second round and Miami in the Eastern Conference Finals.

That same resiliency continued in Game One against the Golden State Warriors on Thursday.

The Warriors, 3.5-point favourites going into Thursday’s contest, opened a 14-point lead on the Celtics in the third quarter, only to let Boston completely dominate the game in the fourth quarter. On the road to open the series, the Celtics came out with a stunning 12-point win.

Al Horford, the 36-year-old veteran making his NBA Finals debut, scored 26 points for the Celtics, who outscored Golden State 40-16 in the fourth quarter. That is an impressive feat on its own, but to accomplish that on the road against the Warriors in the NBA Finals is nothing short of astonishing on many different levels.

Horford’s odds to win NBA Finals MVP have improved significantly following his performance in Game One.

He entered the series with odds of 101.00 to win MVP. Those odds now sit at 15.00 on PlayNow.com as of Friday.

Meanwhile, the Warriors wasted another strong performance from Stephen Curry, who had 34 points and made seven three-pointers, and was dialed in from the beginning of the game.

If there was any doubt that the Celtics belonged in the series before it began, that should be wiped away by now. Boston has proven time and again in these playoffs that they certainly do not hide when things get difficult in a game or in a series.

The Celtics defence has been praised throughout these playoffs. On Thursday, Boston took control of the game in the fourth quarter thanks to their three-point shooting. They knocked down 21 in total, shooting 51% from beyond the arc for the game. When the game was on the line in the final quarter, Boston hit four three-pointers in less than two minutes to take the lead.

Derrick White and Al Horford had the hot hands during that flurry from three-point range, and Boston never looked back.

With an extra day in between Game One and Game Two, the Warriors will likely find adjustments in how they defend. The Celtics have made about 37% of their three-point attempts in these playoffs, but they certainly got hot at the right time on Thursday and now have the advantage in the championship series. At worst, the Celtics will earn a split on the road before the series shifts back to Boston after Game Two.

The Warriors, though, certainly won’t want to go down 2-0 on home court and should have added urgency to not only get off to a good start on Sunday, but carry that all the way through to the end of the game.

As of Friday morning at PlayNow.com, the Celtics were four-point underdogs going into Game Two, and sitting with odds of 2.55 on the money line.

The Warriors have not lost two consecutive games in these playoffs and are 5-1 against the spread in their last six games following a loss.

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