There was a little talk around the Celtics about potentially overlooking the Bulls last night because the team might be looking ahead to the Warriors game. Thankfully that didn't happen and the Celtics delivered a solid win over a quality opponent.
But now... let the hype begin.
The Warriors are the greatest team in the land and they have the greatest player in the land playing for them in Stephen Curry. This is must-see-TV folks. Tell your friends, tell your significant others, tell the delivery guy. You have to watch this team play because you'll be telling your grandchildren about it someday.
There's no shortage of stats to show how great this team is and it goes well beyond the 23-0 record.
The Warriors aren’t just winning – they’re crushing teams. They have outscored their opponents by a combined 335 points this year and are on pace for a season-long point differential of plus 1,194. The best season ever was the 1971-72 Lakers, who finished +1,007 vs. their opponents to a 69-13 record. In per-game terms, the Warriors are winning the average contest by 14.6 points, or about two points per game better than that record Lakers season. Only two teams in the last decade have even gotten to a point differential of +10 per game: the 2007-08 Celtics (10.3) and last year’s Warriors (10.1). The Warriors’ figure will drop if they ever lose a game, of course. They’ll definitely lose a game. Right?
The Celtics would like to think that the Warriors will lose a game and Friday night is as good a time as any.
There are some stats that paint the Celtics in some pretty flattering colors as well.
ESPN's Basketball Power Index ranks Boston as the No. 4 team in the league and the top squad in the East. Many dismiss it as an analytics anomaly for a team that's had an odd propensity to win big this season (owning an average margin of victory of 16.1 points). But there's hope in Boston that real progress is being made.
Obviously the Celtics will be deep underdogs in this game, but they can't approach it that way. They have to have the attitude that they can compete with anyone.
"We’ve been doing that all year," Sullinger said of the focus thing, "and on Friday, we’re going to take it as another game. "I know they’re coming in with a hot streak. They’re undefeated, but we can’t look at it as a Super Bowl. We’ve got to look at it as just another game, another chance to get another win and carry ourselves like that, because if we get over there and try to get too excited, they’re just going to blow us out."
Look at it this way. The Brooklyn Nets were one missed tip-in away from beating the Warriors. On any given night anything can happen.
While this game is just one game in an 82 game schedule, it would be so sweet to be the team that knocked ended the Warriors streak. I think I'd give up a future 2nd rounder just for the chance to say that we beat the Warriors.
With all that said, I'm doing my best to take a realistic view of the game. I'm mentally preparing myself for a blowout loss. That way anything better than that will be a pleasant surprise.