The NBA Nailed It by Selecting Celtics-Warriors for Saturday Primetime

BOSTON – The NBA is pretty good at this Saturday Primetime thing.

Twenty-four weeks ago, when the league released its 2018-19 schedule, it hand-picked Saturday’s matchup between the Celtics and the Warriors to be broadcast as part of the Saturday Primetime series on ABC. Now a day ahead of the showdown, there’s no other game the NBA universe would rather watch.

And why would there be? Just go down the list of intriguing storylines heading into Saturday night.

Star power will be in full force when the opening tip is tossed. Both teams are at full health, meaning nine current or former All-Stars will play in the game.

The Celtics will trot out three such players in Kyrie Irving (six-time All-Star), Al Horford (five-time) and Gordon Hayward (one-time), as well as Jayson Tatum, who finished fourth among East frontline players in All-Star voting.

On the other side of the ball, the most stacked team in league history will run six current or former All-Stars onto the court, including its entire starting lineup that features Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and DeMarcus Cousins. Andre Iguodala, who was an All-Star in 2012, is the sixth.

Cousins adds particular intrigue to this game, and to every other game Golden State will play this season, for that matter. The four-time NBA All-Star, who suffered a torn Achilles tendon last season, made his debut with Golden State Jan. 18. He has played three total games, averaging 13.0 points and 7.0 rebounds, and with him, the Warriors’ starting lineup has outscored opponents by 34 points in 32 minutes of action together.

Speaking of outscoring opponents, these two teams have been doing a lot of that recently.

Boston is riding a five-game winning streak and has won nine out of 12 overall. The C’s have also won 10 straight at TD Garden, which is tied for the longest home winning streak in the league.

Golden State, meanwhile, has won nine in a row and 11 of 12 overall. The Warriors surged from 23-13 to 34-14 and atop the Western Conference during the last four weeks.

A driving force behind each team’s strong play has been offense, of which there has been plenty. That surely won’t upset fans, who very well may see some fireworks Saturday night.

Boston has averaged 118.6 points per game during its nine wins sine Jan. 2. Golden State, on the other hand, is averaging an absurd 137.3 PPG during its 11 wins since Dec. 29. Both teams have shot better than 50 percent from the field and better than 42 percent from long range during those wins.

As was already covered, the NBA is pretty good at this Saturday Primetime thing. Really, there’s nothing else anyone could want heading into Saturday night’s showdown.

Star power? Check!

Full health? Check.

Streaking powerhouses? Check.

Offensive fireworks? Check.

The only thing that could put a cherry on top of this elite matchup? Well, that would be a Celtics victory.

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