Golden State Warriors (23-0) at Boston Celtics (13-9)
Friday, November 18, 2016
8:00 PM ET
Regular Season Game #12, Home Game #6
TV: ESPN, CSN-NE, CSN-BA
Radio: 98.5 Sports Hub, 95.7
Referees: Zach Zarba, Derrick Collins, Lauren Holtkamp
The Celtics host the Warriors in a much anticipated match up. The Celtics had hoped to entice Kevin Durant to come to Boston this summer but he chose the Warriors instead. This will be the first time to face them with KD in the starting lineup. They will meet one more time in Oakland on March 8.
After Durant spurned the Celtics and chose the Warriors, Jae Crowder said that it was like a slap in the face and he was upset that the Celtics unveiled to him some of their defensive secrets. He also branded the Warriors as villains. More recently he chalked his comments up to competitiveness. I wouldn't be surprised if some of the Celtics use his decision as motivation for this game. As for Durant, he said that he feels no attachment to the Celtics.
Last season the Warriors came into Boston undefeated last season and the Celtics gave them all they could handle but lost 124-119 in a double OT thriller. The Warriors then lost to the Bucks the next night because the Celtics had obviously worn them out. When the Celtics played them in Oakland, the Celtics ended their 54 game home winning streak with a 109-106 win.
The Warriors have been fairly healthy this season while the Celtics have not had their whole team together yet. In Wednesday's win over the Raptors, Draymond Green left the game in the first quarter after rolling his ankle. He returned in the second quarter after some treatment and getting retaped and finished the game. He is expected to play. Steve Kerr said today that he may rest some players for tomorrow's game vs the Bucks, but he expects all players to be available to play tonight.
Both teams are playing in the first of back to back games. The Celtics are 3-0 so far in the first game of a back to back set with all 3 being played at home. The Bucks will once again play in Milwaukee the night after playing the Celtics while the Celtics will play in Detroit.
PG: Isaiah Thomas
SG: Avery Bradley
SF: Marcus Smart
PF: Kelly Olynyk
C: Amir Johnson
Al Horford (concussion) doubtful
Jae Crowder (ankle) out
PG: Stephen Curry
SG: Klay Thompson
SF: Kevin Durant
PF: Draymond Green
C: Zaza Pachulia
James Michael McAdoo
Draymond Green (ankle) game time decision
Damion Jones (pectoral surgery) out
Isaiah Thomas vs Stephen Curry
The simple truth is that no human can guard Stephen Curry. Avery and Isaiah and Marcus have to do the best they can but he will still get his. Curry is averaging 27.9 points, 3.6 rebounds, 6.0 assists, and 1.18 steals per game. He is shooting 46.4% from the field and 50.8% from beyond the arc. The best the Celtics can hope for is to maybe slow him down a little.
Avery Bradley vs Klay Thompson
Durant is averaging 27.9 points, 8.0rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.6 steals. He is shooting 55.8% from the field and 40% from beyond the arc. The Celtics are hoping to get Jae Crowder back healthy for this game and that would make things easier for them. Otherwise, it will be up to Marcus Smart to try to slow him down.
Avery Bradley vs Klay Thompson
With the addition of Durant, Thompson's stats are down a bit but he is still averaging a respectable 18.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 2.4 assists. He is shooting 44.1% from the field and 31.3% from beyond the arc.
Keys to the Game
Defense - The Warriors can put up points quickly and in bunches. They are averaging 117.4 points per game. It will be important for the Celtics to bring their defensive intensity into this game, especially to shut down the Warriors' fast breaks as they can get up the floor very quickly. The Celtics must especially guard the perimeter as the Warriors are very dangerous from beyond the arc. The Celtics must execute on the defensive end of the court and play tough team defense if they have any hope of winning this game.
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 Celtics are 5-0 when they out rebound their opponents. They have to crash the boards as a team to have a chance in this game.
Take Care of the Ball - The Warriors can be very disruptive by getting into the passing lanes, averaging 10 steals per game. 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. 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.
Run, Run Run! - The Celtics play best when they run on every possession and run back on defense as well. The Warriors love to run and the Celtics have to match their effort and energy and keep up with the Warriors running game and even better, out run them.
Focus - The Celtics have to be focused on the game and not on all the hype of the Warriors and Kevin Durant. The only way the Celtics will get a win in this game is to outwork the Warriors and stay focused on the task at hand.
Injuries -Draymond Green is a game time decision and it could make things a little easier for the Celtics. It would also be very nice to get Al Horford and Jae Crowder back healthy and would make it a bit easier for the Celtics.
Officiating - As always, the officiating is an x-factor. Every crew officiates differently and teams never know what to expect. Sometimes they let them play and other times they call a foul on every possession. Some games they call evenly and others they favor one team or the other. It's like Forrest Gump's box of chocolate... you never know what you are going to get.