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Celtics look for first 4 game win streak as they host league leading Warriors

The Celtics host the league leading Golden State Warriors as they look to win their 4th straight game.

Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports

Golden State Warriors (45-11) at Boston Celtics (23-33)
Sunday, March, 1, 2015
6:00 PM ET
Regular Season Game #57, Home Game #30
TV: CSN-NE, CSN-BA, NBA-LP 753(DTV)/753,754(Xfinity)
Radio: 98.5 Sports Hub, KNBR 680 AM
TD Garden

Referees: James Capers, Mark Lindsay, Violet Palmer

The Celtics host the league leading Golden State Warriors for the second and final meeting between these two teams this season. The Celtics lost the first meeting on the road 115-111, but gave the Warriors a scare so it's pretty certain they won't take the Celtics for granted in this game.

The Warriors lost 2 of 3 games to begin their 6 game road trip, but bounced back to beat the Atlantic Division leading Raptors 113-89 on Friday. The Celtics have won their last 3 games and are looking for their first 4 game win streak this season. The Warriors have won 3 in a row vs the Celtics and are looking for their first 4 game win streak over the Celtics since moving West fromPhiladelphia prior to the 1962-63 season. The Warriors last won four-straight over the Celtics from Jan. 27 to Feb. 10, 1962, as the Philadelphia Warriors in a pair of home-and-home back-to-back sets took place in a 15-day span...

Jared Sullinger led the Celtics with 26 points in their first meeting but is out for the rest of the season. Kelly Olynyk practiced on Saturday and is day to day. Golden State led that game by as many as 14 points to start the fourth quarter, but the Celtics scored seven straight points in the game’s final 30 seconds to cut the Warriors’ lead to just three points. Golden State held on for the three-point victory, just its second game this season decided by four points or fewer.

Both teams are 7-3 in their last 10 games. The Warriors are 21-9 on the road while the Celtics are 14-15 at home. Should the Celtics win this game, it will be their 200th all time win over the Warriors franchise. The Warriors are looking for their 2nd straight win while the Celtics are looking for their first 4 game win streak of the season.

Probable Starters

PG: Marcus Smart
SG: Avery Bradley
SF: Evan Turner
PF: Brandon Bass
C: Tyler Zeller

Celtics Reserves
Gerald Wallace
Jae Crowder
James Young
Phil Pressey
Shavlik Randolph
Isaiah Thomas
Jonas Jerebko
Gigi Datome

Kelly Olynyk (ankle) day to day
Jared Sullinger (foot) out

Head Coach
Brad Stevens

Probable Starters

PG: Stephen Curry
SG: Klay Thompson
SF: Harrison Barnes
PF: Draymond Green
C: Andrew Bogut

Warriors Reserves

Leandro Barbosa
Justin Holiday
Andre Iguodala
David Lee
Brandon Rush
Marreese Speights
Shaun Livingston

Festus Ezeli (suspended) out

Ognjen Kuzmic
James Michael McAdoo

Head Coach
Steve Kerr

Key Matchups
Marcus Smart vs Stephen Curry
The Warriors have perhaps the best back court in the league. Stephen Curry is playing very well and will be a tough cover for Smart. Curry is averaging 23.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, 7.9 assists and 2.2 steals. He is shooting 48.2% from the field, 40.6% from beyond the arc and 90.7% from the line. Slowing him down will be key.

Avery Bradley vs Klay Thompson
The other half of the Warriors talented back court is just as dangerous. Against the Kings earlier this season he scored 52 points, 37 points of which came in the 3rd quarter alone. He was 13-13 from the field, including 9-9 from beyond the arc. He is averaging 21.1 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.2 steals. Bradley and Smart must find a way to slow these two down.

Keys to the Game
- The Warriors can put up points quickly and in bunches. It will be important for the Celtics to bring their defensive intensity into this game, especially to shut down the Warriors' fast breaks. The Celtics must especially guard the perimeter as the Warriors are very dangerous beyond the arc. The Warriors are tops in the league in scoring, averaging 110.2 points per game. They also allow just 99.8 points per game. The Warriors are 28-0 when they hold teams below 100 points. The team that executes best on the defensive end of the court will get the win.

Rebound - The Celtics need to crash the boards to keep the Warriors from igniting their fast breaks. The Celtics also need to rebound to give themselves second chance points and limit the second chance points for the Warriors. The Warriors are a very good rebounding team, pulling down 44.8 rebounds per game, good for 7th in the league. The Celtics need to up their effort on the boards in order to win the rebounding battle.

Take Care of the Ball - The Warriors can be very disruptive by getting into the passing lanes. The Celtics seem to go through periods in every game where they turn over the ball several times in a row. The Celtics need to stay focused and not give the Warriors any easy opportunities to steal the ball or to get out on the break. The Warriors are 4th in the league in getting steals at 9.5 per game and if the Celtics get sloppy with the ball, the Warriors will make them pay.

Be Aggressive - The Celtics need to come out focused and play hard from start to finish. The Celtics have to be the more aggressive team throughout the game. They must be aggressive on defense, on the boards, in chasing down loose balls, and in taking the ball to the hoop and not settling for jumpers. They will need energy and extra effort from every player on the team.

Set the Pace - The Warriors are in the midst of 4 games in 5 nights on the road and they may show some signs of fatigue from their tough schedule. The Celtics need to run on every possession and set the pace and hope to hear the Warriors out by the end of the game.

Home and Momentum
The Celtics are at home while the Warriors are in the midst of a 6 game road trip. They should get a boost from the home crowd and familiar surroundings. Also, they have been playing their best ball of the season in winning their last 3 games and hopefully that will continue in this game. After the scare that they gave the Warriors in their last meeting, there won't be any underestimating the Celtics in this one but the Celtics have momentum coming into the game and look for the newcomers to continue bringing energy to the team.

Official Report

James Capers

The son of former NBA official James Capers Sr., James Capers has officiated 1,110 regular season games, 67 Playoff games and three NBA Finals games during his 19-season NBA career. In addition to his NBA experience, Capers has six years of CBA officiating experience, including three CBA Finals and two CBA All-Star Games. I've seen several posts from Lakers fans who swear he hates the Lakers. At least he has that in his favor. In 2012, Capers called game 2 of the ECF and the officiating was terrible in that game. The Heat shot 47 free throws to 29 for the Celtics. Pierce, Dooling and Pietrus all fouled out. There were bad calls and missed calls throughout the game. Lebron James took 24 free throws himself, only 4 less than the entire Celtics team.

He was lead official in the Nets game that resulted in a brawl the season before last. Capers gave Doc a T for yelling to Rondo. They let the Nets get away with pushing and shoving and hard fouls the entire first half. The Nets shot 17 free throws to 5 for the Celtics in the first half and 3 of those free throws were on technicals. They did better in the second half after the brawl, but the refs' failure to call the game evenly in the first half led to the fight. This season, he called the Golden State game and made a terrible call to end the first half on a last second heave. Even the Warriors fans thought it was a terrible call. The calls all went the Warriors way down the stretch and Warriors fans couldn't believe how they were getting the benefit of all the questionable calls. Now here he is again officiating another Celtics/Warriors game. The Celtics are 0-5 this season and 2-8 in their last 10 games with Capers. The Warriors are 1-1 this season and 7-3 in their last 10 with Capers. His home W/L record this season is 26-18.

Mark Lindsay
Mark Lindsay has officiated 413 regular season games and one playoff game in his seven NBA seasons. Prior to working in the NBA, he worked for five seasons in the NBA Development League, officiating 116 games, including playoff games in 2005, 2006 and 2007. Lindsay received a Bachelors degree in Elementary Education and graduated with honors from West Chester University where he was a three year letterman on the Men’s Varsity Basketball team. He later worked as a teacher and a real estate sales agent and officiated in several college conferences, including the ACC, Colonial Athletic Association, Atlantic Sun, Big South and Ohio Valley Conferences before joining the NBA.

The Celtics are 1-3 this season and 3-7 in their last 10 games with Lindsay making the calls. One win last season was a 101-95 win over Chicago where the Bulls shot 31 free throws to 16 for the Celtics and there were more than a few questionable calls. But then, he called a game vs the Mavs where the Celtics shot 30 free throws to 17 for the Mavs and the Celtics got the benefit of a lot of calls. In several of the games the officiating was good but in a loss last season to the Cavs the officiating was terrible, with bad calls going both ways. Tommy had this to say, "I don't remember when there was such a plethora of terrible calls throughout." Lindsay also called the game vs the Bulls with Jason Phillips where the Celtics took 11 free throws to 40 for the Bulls and where Tommy described it as an abomination and not even close to a decently officiated game.

Lindsay (along with Tony Brothers, was terrible in the game vs the Lakers. The entire game, calls were going against the Celtics. Isaiah Thomas was ejected on a bogus call and that technical was recently rescinded. Smart and Zeller fouled out and the Lakers shot 38 free throws to 27 for the Celtics. Even the Laker fans were complaining because the refs were giving them all the calls and helping them. One comment from the Lakers board says it all: "The refs are screwing our tank." He can be good and he can be very, very bad depending on the night. The Warriors are 5-0 this season and 8-2 in in their last 10 with Lindsay. He's not intimidated by the home crowd with a home W/L record this season of 23-24.

Violet Palmer
Violet Palmer, one of the first two female officials in the NBA, has officiated 839 regular season games and has appeared in nine playoff games over the past 16 seasons. Before joining the NBA, Palmer officiated in the WNBA during the league’s inaugural season, including the 1997 WNBA Finals. She has two years of CBA officiating experience and nine years of collegiate officiating experience, including women’s games in the Pac-10, Western Athletic, West Coast, Big Sky, and Big West Conferences, as well as five NCAA Final Fours and two NCAA Championship games.

Before becoming an official, Palmer was a successful basketball player both at the collegiate and high school levels. She was a four-year letter winner at Cal. Poly Pomona, where her team won the NCAA Division II Finals in 1985 and 1986. In addition, she was on the basketball team at Compton High School.

At one time Violet was the worst ref in the league. In one game Cedric Maxwell was moved to urge her to go back into the kitchen because her calls were so bad. She has had Tommy close to exploding many times as well. She's improved a lot over the years and is no longer the worst ref in the league (that honor goes to Bennett Salvatore with a host of runners up) but she's still not a very good ref. Although, after getting a hug from Pierce after he ran into her in a win over the Pacers two seasons ago, the Celtics took 20 more free throws than the Pacers.

The Celtics are 5-5 over their last 10 games with Violet on the court. One win last season was at the Knicks where the Celtics took 20 free throws to 26 for the Knicks. At one point, Violet made a series of bad calls prompting Tommy to yell, "Violet, you're a fraud!" The other games last season were evenly officiated without any calls standing out one way or the other. The Warriors are 1-1 this season and 3-7 over their last 10 with Violet. Her home W/L record this season is 15-4.

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