BOSTON – The Boston Celtics (12-9) are poised to take on their greatest challenge of the season so far. This Friday they will be facing off against the currently undefeated Golden State Warriors (23-0).
In this matchup, the young Celtics roster will be trying to match the ferocious offensive output of these Warriors, whose roster includes stars such as Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala, etc. This intense offensive production of the Warriors is represented in the following statistics (per ESPN.com): 116 points per game and 50% field goal shooting (which includes 44% 3-point field goal shooting).
The Celtics, offensive efficiency has struggled thus far into the season. Their strongsuit is their tough defense, stemming from their young and athletic roster. However, it is questionable whether even youth and athleticism can do anything to slow the offensive machine that is the Golden State Warriors.
Game Predictions: Warriors 109 – Celtics 100
Procappers.com experts predict this final score, and I certainly agree with it. As a matter of fact, I believe that the gap may be even wider. Golden State is currently riding on a 4-game winning streak against Boston, not to mention a 27-game regular game winning streak that dates back to last year.
The Warriors are flying high, and it’s unlikely that the Celtics will find a way to stop them. Boston has played well this year, despite such a young and inexperienced roster, but they aren’t comparable to the caliber of Golden State. The Celtics are rounding off a seven-game East Coast road trip that included top-flight teams such as the Indiana Pacers, who they beat on Tuesday.
Indiana was predicted to be the best chance that any of the East Coast teams had at upsetting the undefeated Warriors. Golden State was clearly up to the challenge as they dismantled the Pacers in a game that wasn’t nearly as close as the score indicated. They can beat a very good team in the midst of a tiresome road trip that was created for the sole purpose of wearing teams down. Teams are meant to lose during this time, only the Warriors haven’t fell into such traditions.
Against Indiana, Golden State was led by the 10 3-pointers of Klay Thompson, the second “Splash Brother” along with Stephen Curry. This record-tying 3-point shooting game goes to show how the Warriors have multiple weapons. They can win behind the prowess of Curry, Thompson, Green, or whoever else is ready to have a big night. This excess of star power is one of the many reasons why Golden State finds itself undefeated at 23-0. Conversely, the Boston offense struggles to score because of its lack of a superstar who can be relied on to put up solid number every game.
This Warrior star power, and Boston’s lack thereof, makes a game plan that much more difficult for Celtic’s coach Brad Stevens, Boston. He can either attempt to slow the Golden State offense by hoping that his young, stingy defense is up to the challenge. Or, he can attempt to win a shootout with the Warriors. Other teams have tried such, resulting in high-scoring games. However, the Warriors 23-0 record shows how teams have fared against such a challenge.
When it comes to playing the Golden State Warriors, Brad Stevens and the Boston Celtics have to understand that it’s a matter of “choosing your poison”.