Why Stephen A. Smith is now 'nervous as hell' about his NBA Finals prediction

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Why Stephen A. Smith is now 'nervous as hell' about his NBA Finals prediction originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

ESPN's Stephen A. Smith predicted the Golden State Warriors would defeat the Boston Celtics in the 2022 NBA Finals in a hard-fought seven-game series.

He doesn't sound as confident in his pick following Thursday night's Game 1.

Despite trailing by 12 points entering the fourth quarter, the Celtics won the series opener 120-108 after a 40-16 rout over the final 12 minutes of the game.

2022 NBA Finals: How Jaylen Brown ignited Celtics' Game 1 comeback win

Jaylen Brown scored 10 points over the first 4:22 of the fourth quarter, and then the Celtics caught fire from 3-point range. Al Horford, Derrick White and Marcus Smart all contributed to Boston shooting 9-of-12 from beyond the arc in the quarter.

The Celtics' defense also went up several levels as they held the Warriors to just 16 fourth-quarter points, while winning the rebounding battle and forcing four turnovers in the frame.

"I picked Golden State in seven games. I'm nervous as hell," Smith said on ESPN's "SportsCenter" following Game 1. "Obviously the Warriors can come back and win Game 2, and then steal one in Boston to make this that seesaw battle I anticipated, but nevertheless, you've got to have the legs.

"We were up in the booth with Magic Johnson and he said, 'Look at the Warriors. At the end of the first quarter, everybody's got their hands on their hips.' They looked absolutely exhausted. They took a body blow, and they didn't seem able to handle it. They came out storming in the third quarter but couldn't maintain that efficiency because they didn't appear to have that stamina to keep up with the young thoroughbreds on the Celtics. So I'm nervous as hell."

The Warriors were 9-0 at home in the 2022 playoffs and 7-0 all-time at home in Game 1 of the NBA Finals before Thursday night's defeat.

Luckily for Golden State, head coach Steve Kerr and his staff have a couple days to make adjustments on both ends of the court before Sunday night's Game 2 at Chase Center.