Game Preview: Celtics at Warriors

Make your picks now in Celtics 3-Point Play

BOSTON – The last two games that the Boston Celtics (14-14) have played can both be described as blowouts. They were on the good side of one, and on the bad side of the other.

The Celtics head into Golden State to take on the Warriors (20-10) at 10:30 p.m. tonight as they continue their attempt to find some consistency as a team. Their up-and-down start to the season has left many wondering whether the C’s are a winning team or a losing team.

“For us it is the same old story. We win one and we lose one,” Jason Terry said after Thursday’s convincing loss at the hands of the Clippers. “Until we are able to break that cycle, we are not going to take the next step and we know that. We have to win this next one.”

Lee, KG

Kevin Garnett will be faced with the task of keeping up with potential All-Star David Lee tonight.
Rocky Widner/NBAE/Getty Images

Boston’s next contest might be just as difficult as Thursday’s. The C’s took on a hot Clippers team that had won 14 consecutive games heading into Thursday’s tilt, and now they’ll take on a Warriors team that has won 11 of its last 15 games in December. The Warriors are coming off of a 96-89 victory over the 76ers last night that featured 25 points and 12 rebounds from David Lee.

Mark Jackson, in his second year as head coach of the Warriors, has plenty of talent to play around with. He has Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, two up-and-coming sharpshooters in the game, in his backcourt. In the frontcourt, Jackson plays through Lee, who is averaging 20.0 points per game and 11.2 rebounds per game this season.

That trio of players is surrounded by a group of solid role players who are thriving in their roles. From Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry all the way down to rookie Harrison Barnes, this group of Warriors has well defined roles that are being filled very well.

The Celtics cannot say the same about their roles thus far in the season. Everyone on the roster has seen their production go up and down at both ends of the floor. Boston heads into this game scoring just 96.3 PPG, and they’re giving up 97.3 PPG at the other end.

Boston will need to straighten out a lot of issues tonight in order to take down a Warriors team that is beaming with confidence. The C’s took a step backward Thursday night in Los Angeles, and now they’ll look to recover against Golden State.

Pure Effort

Jackson has turned the Warriors into a successful team because he has his players playing with effort. Lee is not the biggest guy on the court, but he has hustled hard for his 20 points and 11.2 rebounds a night. Curry and Thompson aren’t shooting the ball as well as they’d like this season, but they’re still digging in and helping this team win games.

Boston needs to match that effort tonight. Effort hasn’t necessarily been an issue for the Celtics this season – they almost always play hard. Tonight, however, they may need to play even harder to keep up with this young and talented Warriors team that is playing well in nearly all aspects of the game.

A Statement Game

How often have you heard of a game against the Golden State Warriors being called a statement game? Probably not often, right? Well, tonight is a different story. This game isn’t on national television and it’s not against one of the top teams in the league, but the Celtics can make a statement to the league and its fans.

Boston was crushed Thursday night on national television. There is no beating around that bush. As many of the Celtics and their fans know, that wasn’t the team that we’ve come to know in this city. The Celtics can make a point to everyone who cares that Thursday night’s debacle was not indicative of their team. They can do that with a convincing win over a very good Warriors team.

Another Tough Matchup for Terry

Another game, another tough assignment for Jason Terry.

Terry was brought into Boston to be the scoring spark off of the bench but he is currently slotted in as the starting shooting guard. That position has left him with some defensive challenges of late, most notably against players like Jamal Crawford and Monta Ellis, who are quicker, and Joe Johnson, who is bigger.

There will be another mismatch for Terry tonight. Terry, who is just 6-foot-2, will be defending Thompson, who is 6-foot-7. Thompson loves to shoot, and he’ll get a clean release on nearly all of his shots tonight.