2022 NBA Finals predictions: Expert picks for Warriors-Celtics clash

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Expert predictions for Warriors-Celtics NBA Finals aren't kind to C's originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The Warriors and Boston Celtics are set to meet in the 2022 NBA Finals, which means it's officially prediction season.

Will the Warriors' experience pay off against the Celtics' youth? Can Steph Curry finally win his elusive Finals MVP trophy? Or will Marcus Smart and the Celtics' hard-nosed defense prove too much for the Dubs to handle?

Our friends at NBC Sports Bay Area had their Warriors experts -- Monte Poole, Dalton Johnson, Kerith Burke and Grant Liffmann -- make their series predictions. Here's what they came up with.

Monte Poole

A sweep of the Nets preceded a seven-game series to topple the defending champion Bucks, which preceded a seven-game series to outlast the compromised Heat, and now the Celtics confront a Warriors squad that will push the pace at every opportunity.

From a pure talent perspective, the Warriors have the edge; they can roll out four players -- Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Jordan Poole, Klay Thompson -- with takeover ability. Andrew Wiggins might be a fifth.

Celtics Talk: Celtics punch their ticket to the NBA Finals with a Game 7 win over the Heat | Listen & Subscribe | Watch on YouTube

Boston's counters are Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, and a shortlist of maybes. The Celtics have played 18 postseason games in the past six weeks, 40 postseason games in the past 20 months, with 265 total games in that span.

The lack of depth (going no more than eight deep) and high mileage are massive challenges.

Pick: Warriors in 6. Five if Andre Igoudala, Gary Payton II and Otto Porter Jr. are cleared.

Dalton Johnson

All could be going right for the Warriors going into the NBA Finals against an exhausted Boston Celtics team. While the Warriors cross their fingers for reinforcements in Otto Porter Jr., Gary Payton II and Andre Iguodala, the Celtics might be gasping for air after their hard-fought seven-game series with the Miami Heat.

The Celtics have played only two more games than the Warriors this postseason, but coming off the series they just had against the Heat compared to the Warriors' five games with the Dallas Mavericks might be all the difference. I've gone back and forth between Warriors in five or Warriors in six.

I think the Celtics are too talented to not push the Warriors a bit, but Robert Williams isn't who he was the last time these two teams squared off, which makes a big difference.

Pick: Warriors in 6.

Kerith Burke

This is an all-time great Finals matchup. With respect to Boston, they needed seven games to beat the Bucks and Heat in order to arrive at the Finals. I wonder about their legs. I wonder about Boston’s health, specifically Williams’ knee and Smart’s ankle.

Tomase: Celtics-Warriors is a Finals matchup 10 years in the making

The Warriors did themselves a huge favor by wrapping up the Western Conference finals early. Combine that with more Warriors experience in the Finals from a strong core of players, plus a perfect playoff record at home, and the Warriors edge them out.

Pick: Warriors in 6.

Grant Liffmann

This should be an intriguing Finals. The Celtics have a formidable defense that can give the Warriors trouble on the perimeter. However, the Warriors' offense could take advantage of Al Horford and Robert Williams through high ball screens.

Meanwhile, the Warriors' defense should be able to hold their own against the Celtics, as long as some combination of Otto Porter, Gary Payton II, and Andre Iguodala are able to play.

Boston should be pretty worn down at this point after two tough series, so Golden State should continue to push the pace and exhaust the highly shortened Celtics rotation.

Pick: Warriors in 6.