2022 NBA Finals: If Celtics lose to Warriors, these factors will lead to their downfall

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If C's lose to Warriors, these factors will lead to their downfall originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Will the Boston Celtics bring home Banner 18? Or will they become the latest victim of the Golden State Warriors dynasty?

The C's reached their first NBA Finals since 2010 with series wins over the Brooklyn Nets, Milwaukee Bucks, and Miami Heat. They've been the hottest team in the NBA since January, but there's no doubt this experienced Warriors squad presents their toughest test yet.

Celtics Talk: Celtics in 7? Breaking down NBA Finals matchup against the Warriors | Listen & Subscribe | Watch on YouTube

Golden State has now reached the Finals in six of the last eight seasons. It leads the playoffs with 114.3 points scored per game and its defense was right there with Boston as the best in the NBA during the regular season. It's a powerhouse, for sure, but the Celtics are no slouches either.

While they enter the Finals as slight betting underdogs, the C's are heavily favored by sites with predictive models like FiveThirtyEight and ESPN. It wouldn't be a shock if they pulled it off, and we explained why they could beat the mighty Warriors here, but what if they fall short? What would be the deciding factors?

If Boston's admirable run comes to an unceremonious end, these will be some of the main reasons why...

1. Stars get outshined

There's no shortage of star power in this series. On the Warriors' side, you have a two-time MVP in Stephen Curry, a five-time All-Star in Klay Thompson and a perennial All-Defensive selection in Draymond Green. For the Celtics, there's All-NBA First Team selection Jayson Tatum, All-Star Jaylen Brown and Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart.

Simply put, these Finals will come down to which stars shine the brightest. The Celtics will need Tatum to prove he's worthy of the "superstar" label. Brown has to be a consistent secondary scoring option, and Smart will need to do what he he does defensively while being the stellar facilitator that helped fuel Boston's second-half turnaround.

Would you rather have Stephen Curry or Jayson Tatum in NBA Finals?

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We already know what Curry, Thompson and Green are capable of on this stage. The "Splash Brothers" can get hot from beyond the arc and put a game out of reach early. Green can counter what Smart brings to the table with his own scrappiness and stifling defense.

If Golden State's stars shine brighter than Boston's, this series could be over in a hurry.

2. Turnover issues continue

The Celtics have struggled to take care of the basketball throughout the postseason, especially during the Eastern Conference Finals. In their three losses to the Heat, they turned the ball over 16, 23, and then 17 times. That's a recipe for disaster against a team as dangerous as the Warriors.

The good news for Boston is Golden State has been just as bad in the turnover department. It's committed turnovers on 15 percent of its possessions this postseason and averaged 16.3 turnovers per game in its four playoff losses. The turnover battle very well could be the difference between raising Banner 18 and watching the Warriors add another Larry O'Brien Trophy to their collection.

3. Robert Williams isn't himself

It became clear in the Celtics' Game 7 win over Miami that Robert Williams is not 100 percent. Perhaps not even close.

The 24-year-old big man continues to deal with soreness in his surgically-repaired left knee and remains day-to-day for the Finals. There's a chance head coach Ime Udoka opts to rest Williams for Game 1 on Thursday night. If Boston would be getting the Game 7 version of Williams, who struggled to move laterally throughout the contest, that may be a wise choice.

The Warriors will catch a huge break if they don't see Williams close to full strength in this series. Time Lord was one of the Celtics' most important players throughout the campaign on both ends of the court. His presence under the rim would be a significant advantage. But if the knee doesn't cooperate, that could be a major detriment to the C's chances.

4. Role players don't rise to the occasion

We mentioned the stars, but the supporting casts will play important roles as well. Both teams have gotten key contributions from their role players during the postseason, and they'll need that to continue.

The ageless wonder Al Horford will be counted on to step up in his first Finals especially when Rob Williams can't suit up. The same can be said for Grant Williams, who's been a revelation for Boston this season on both ends of the floor.

Derrick White has been outstanding throughout the playoffs, adding a scoring punch to go with his usual stout defense. Payton Pritchard is always a threat to get hot from 3-point range off the bench.

Tomase: Why Marcus Smart holds the key to Celtics winning Banner 18

The Warriors will counter with two major difference-makers in Andrew Wiggins and Jordan Poole. Wiggins has revived his career with Golden State and averaged 15.8 points to go with 7.0 rebounds per game this postseason while playing great defense. Poole, who finished fourth in Most Improved Player voting, has thrived as a secondary scorer in the playoffs with 18.4 points per game.

In the frontcourt, Kevon Looney has stepped up in the absence of James Wiseman. The big man played in all 82 games this season and has averaged a team-high 7.7 rebounds in the playoffs. He dropped 21 points in the team's Game 2 win over the Dallas Mavericks.

Tatum and Brown will have their moments, but it's the role players who will need to take their game to another level to propel the Celtics to victory.

5. No home-court advantage

The Warriors will have home-court advantage for the Finals as they had a better regular-season record (53-29) than the Celtics (51-31). Boston got through the Bucks and Heat series as the road team, but Chase Center is a different animal.

Golden State is 9-0 at home during these playoffs and was 31-10 at home during the regular season. The team hasn't played since last week and doesn't have to worry about hopping on a plane to Boston until Game 3 on June 8. That rest could give the Warriors an advantage in Games 1 and 2 in San Francisco and set the tone for the rest of the series.

6. Lack of championship experience

As we mentioned earlier, the Warriors' "Big Three" of Curry, Thompson and Green has been here before. Five times. Golden State players have a combined 123 games of NBA Finals experience while the Celtics have zero. Nada.

That kind of experience simply can't be overstated. You can count on the Warriors' stars shining under the bright lights as they've done time and time again. The jury is still out on whether Tatum, Brown, and Smart can do the same.

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Game 1 of the 2022 NBA Finals tips off at 9 p.m. ET Thursday. Coverage begins right here on NBC Sports Boston with Celtics Pregame Live at 7:30 p.m.