Battle of the Conference Titans
You hear that? That’s the sound of the hype building for this game tonight. The defending NBA Champion Golden State Warriors come to Boston for the first and hopefully not the only time this season. Led by two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry, the Warriors will enter tonight’s contest as the hottest team in the Western Conference, winning seven games in a row after an unusual subpar start. Their competition? Oh, just the hottest team in the Eastern Conference, led by this man (broken face and all):
The Boston Celtics have won 13 straight basketball games, all in which at least one of their three most accomplished players have been absent (Hayward, Horford, Irving). Maintaining the streak has been far from easy, and hosting Golden State will be no exception. Without a doubt, the Warriors are far and away the best team in the NBA. With the talent they have up and down their roster, creating a game plan had to be difficult for Brad Stevens. From Curry all the way down to Kevon Looney, the Warriors are stacked in their own special way. Personally, I am a big fan of the Golden State Warriors. I know that warrants some ‘bandwagon fan’ BS but I assure you, I was on the Warriors bandwagon when Mark Jackson was still in command. Harrison Barnes and David Lee were still on that squad, so I know a bit more than the typical Warriors bandwagon fan.
Anyway, let’s preview some things we could see at the Garden later on tonight…
As of this moment, Steph Curry is listed as probable for tonight’s game. He injured his right thigh last Saturday night against the Sixers, which led to him sitting out the team’s last game on Monday against the Orlando Magic. In 14 career games against the Celtics, Curry has averaged 20.4 PPG to go along with 5.8 Assists per and 4.0 Rebounds per. If Curry does play, I’m excited to see how he will matchup against Kyrie Irving, who promptly clinched the 2016 NBA Finals for the Cavs with this insanely clutch shot over Curry in Game 7:
Like Curry, Durant also missed a game during the Warriors recent homestand after suffering an injury to his left thigh. Not too long ago, it looked like Durant was going to join the Celtics, but chose Golden State instead. In his second year with Golden State, Durant is averaging 24.5 PPG while shooting 53.5% from the field. In 14 career games against the Celtics, the Washington DC native is averaging 26.1 PPG to go along with 3.7 ASTS and 6.1 REBS per game.
Draymond Green and Klay Thompson:
Honestly, these two do not deserved to be lumped together because they are both so good. Thompson is one of the best two-way, 3-and-D guards in the NBA. With the addition of Durant, Thompson has become the forgotten one in Oakland, with his cool demeanor and all. On the other hand, we have Draymond Green, one of the most vocal players in the NBA. Similar to old friend Isaiah Thomas, Green was overlooked as a prospect and was not taken until the second round of the 2012 NBA Draft. Since then, the former MSU Spartan has solidified himself as the voice as the Warriors on the floor. Tenacious, Green is less of a stat sheet stuffer and more of a physical and verbal presence while on the court. Marcus Morris and Al Horford will probably have their hands full dealing with Green all night.
The home debut of the legend, Masked Kyrie. He said he isn’t a huge fan of it, but when you can do things like this, does it even matter?
Like I said above, Steph vs. Kyrie should be interesting as heck, given the two have the best handles in the league.
Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have been an exciting pair to watch fifteen games into the season. How will they fare against the defending champs? Hopefully, we see something like this tonight:
— NBA (@NBA) November 15, 2017
— NBA (@NBA) November 15, 2017
Celtics bench vs. Warriors bench:
I would say this comes as a surprise, but both of these teams benches are pretty efficient. With the roster moves these teams have made over the past two years you would think otherwise. Marcus Smart, Terry Rozier, Andre Iguodala, and Jordan Bell are just some of the names that can spark a run coming off the bench.
Brad Stevens vs. Steve Kerr:
Probably the two best coaches in the NBA not named Gregg Popovich, Stevens and Kerr are both studs as head coaches. When asked about the Celtics recently, Kerr described them as, “the team of the future in the East.” That’s high praise coming from someone who has won as much as Kerr has, and here’s what Brad Stevens had to say about it yesterday:
Brad Stevens after Steve Kerr said Boston is the future of the East: "The future is hard to predict. … I really appreciate him saying that. There’s nobody that I could respect more. He’s an incredible person and coach. But, yeah, we have to stay in the moment."
— Chris Forsberg (@ESPNForsberg) November 15, 2017
There’s a huge amount of respect between these two, and that makes me very happy since I enjoy following both of these teams.
Well, that should do it for this preview of what could potentially be the game of the best season. Two teams that want to accomplish a lot this season, should be a good one. I’ll also have a recap up sometime on Friday hopefully.