C's Should Surprise No One with W in Golden State

SAN FRANCISCO – The Boston Celtics should beat the Golden State Warriors tonight at Oracle Arena.

Not they might win, or they could win. The Boston Celtics should win, tonight, on the road, against the Golden State Warriors.

Crazy statement, you may think, but there are many reasons to believe that statement to be true.

The Warriors are missing arguably their best player, Kevin Durant, who was averaging 25.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 1.6 blocks per game before he went down with a knee injury eight days ago. They’re adjusting to playing without him.

They Warriors are coming off of a five-game, East Coast road trip from which they arrived home to a massive time adjustment only 30 hours before tonight’s tip-off.

Yes, they are the defending Western Conference champions who own the top record in the league, but they are ripe for the picking.

Let’s also take into consideration Boston’s side of the ball when assessing its chances of grabbing a win tonight. The Celtics have given the Warriors fits over the past three seasons.

Boston is 1-4 against Golden State, with its lone victory having been logged in the very arena in which it will play tonight. Three of the four losses were by five or fewer points.

The only outlier of those games was a 16-point defeat at the hands of the Warriors back on Nov. 18 of this season. For a true interpretation of that score, however, one must take into consideration that the Celtics were without two of their starters in Jae Crowder and Al Horford.

Tonight, Boston’s starting unit will be intact, and that matters.

The Celtics also shot only 37.7 percent from the field during their first matchup this season against Golden State. That was an anomaly. They have failed to shoot 40 percent or better from the field only seven times this season, so the odds indicate that they will not shoot as poorly against Golden State again tonight.

Two keys to success against the Warriors are perimeter defense and skill. The Celtics have both.

Boston owns what may be the top perimeter defensive duo in the league in Avery Bradley and Marcus Smart. Jae Crowder, a versatile forward who comfortably guards any position from shooting guard to power forward, is also a menace at the defensive end of the floor.

That group, combined with the emergence of rookie Jaylen Brown and continued improvement of Terry Rozier, matches up quite well with Golden State’s star-studded backcourt of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.

Skill, and in particular 3-point shooting, must also be showcased in order to beat Golden State. The Cavaliers proved as much during last year’s NBA Finals. Opponents have shot 38.4 percent from long range during 11 wins over the Warriors this season, as compared to only 31.5 percent during 52 losses.

Boston enters tonight’s action having made 36.5 percent of its 3-pointers this season and ranks third in the league with an average of 12.1 made 3s per game.

The Celtics have the necessary perimeter firepower at both ends of the court to beat the Warriors, and that’s on a regular night.

Tonight is not a regular night for Golden State. It is down a superstar, and as the old NBA adage says, the toughest game of a lengthy road trip is the first game after that road trip.

For Golden State, that game is tonight.

The Warriors are ripe for the picking, and the Celtics own the keys to success against Golden State. That’s why Boston should surprise no one by grabbing a win in front of a raucous crowd at Oracle Arena.

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