Celtics 8-1, Warriors 3-6
Projected Starting Lineups
Celtics: Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Kendrick Perkins
Warriors: Baron Davis, Kelenna Azubuike, Stephen Jackson, Al Harrington, Andris Biedrins
Match up Notes
Al Harrington is still a bit of an enigma to me. I don't feel entirely qualified to discuss his all around game. However, I am pretty sure I have never heard "Al Harrington" and "excellent defense" in the same sentence. On top of that KG is a nightmare for him to guard.
Last year I caught the Warriors live in their only visit to Boston. I came away horrified by how easy it was for Baron Davis against Sebastian Telfair. Factor in that Davis scored 21 points last night...in the first half, and I am concerned. It will be up to Rajon Rondo and the Celtics help defense to slow him down.
Will Stephen Jackson and Paul Pierce guard each other? Based upon the Warriors' lineup I would say yes. Now those are two guys who can ratchet things up, talk ridiculous amounts of trash and really go at it.
Getting to know random players from the Warriors
Andris Biedrins - He is averaging a double double, shooting greater than 60% from the field, blocks shots and for the time being has greatly improved his previously dreadful free throw shooting to a respectable 70%. The kicker? He could easily pass for a villain from a 80s action movie.
"You told me you'd kill me last." - Biendris
"I lied." - Arnold Schwarzenegger
Matt Barnes - When I saw the Warriors in person last season Barnes stood out in a lot of ways. That was December. By May everyone knew him. However, things have not exactly gone as planned this season. He is battling injuries, struggling on the court and currently away from the team due to a family illness. Having said all that, I still like Barnes. He'll turn it around eventually.
Baron Davis - When Davis is healthy and not taking and missing ill-advised three point bombs from all over the court, he is awesome.
Stephen Jackson - After the Auburn Hills fiasco and the strip club incident that ultimately led to Jackson's trade to Golden State, people went too far in their criticism. And now after his seminal role in the Warriors playoff victory over the Mavericks and his ascension to team captain it now appears to be swinging back in the opposite direction. Most likely Jackson is somewhere in between franchise cancer (Indiana) and franchise savior (Golden State). But he does have one of the most remarkable basketball journeys in the NBA - Oak Hill Academy, Phoenix Suns (very briefly), CBA, Australia, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, New Jersey, San Antonio, Atlanta, Indiana and now Golden State. On top of that he always plays hard.
Warriors Biggest Strengths
They have a lot of guys - Barnes, Davis and Jackson in particular - who play with a chip on their shoulder. Don Nelson is one of the best coaches in the league. They can play at a frantic pace and score in bunches. Their home crowd is awesome when yuppies don't jump on the bandwagon. Since it is a road game that last one will not apply.
They are in the midst of a three game win streak, which roughly coincides (the last 2) with the return of Stephen Jackson from his suspension.
Warriors Biggest Weaknesses
They are an atrocious rebounding team. I can't stress this enough. Outside of Biendris and Davis, who rebounds well for a point guard, I can't think of an above average rebounder on their team. Not that the Celtics are fantastic in this regard, particularly when it comes to offensive rebounds. But the Celtics need to control the boards and Kevin Garnett will be a big part of that effort.
The Warriors are a bad defensive team. Not bad in a New York Knicks "half the team does not care about defense" kind of way. But bad nevertheless. Heading into last night the Warriors had given up just over 114 points per game. Granted holding the Knicks to 82 helps that stat. But perhaps we should just completely ignore the Knicks until they get their act together.
Not a good free throw shooting team.
The Warriors are playing their third game of an east coast swing. Furthermore, their match up against the Celtics will be their second of back-to-back to games, with the first one coming against the Knicks. Denver was the last team to do that. And we all know how that ended. Meanwhile, the Celtics have not played since Sunday. Advantage Boston.
Random YouTube Clip
I originally found this last spring on the always excellent Golden State of Mind. It is odd to watch given Jason Richardson's departure, which does not make sense when you think about it. The Warriors are a bizarre mix of veterans who want to win now, upcoming young guys and a bunch of dudes who are not ready to contribute in the NBA. The Richardson trade only further complicated that. How are the Warriors any better than last season? Austin Croshere? I don't think so. I guess I'd be more on board if someone besides Brandan Wright came over in the Richardson trade.