Matchup: Boston Celtics vs Golden State Warriors
Records: Celtics (33-25); Warriors (42-16)
Where To Watch
Date: Wednesday, Mar. 6
Time: 9:00 AM IST
TV: Sony Ten 1
Location: Oracle Arena, Oakland, CA
Are the Celtics in trouble?
They've lost five of their last six games overall and are just 3-7 over their last 10 games, not exactly the type of form you'd expect in early March from a team many considered the prohibitive favourite to come out of the Eastern Conference at the start of the season. They've been a mess on the offensive end, ranking 29th in the NBA in offensive efficiency since the All-Star break.
Bostom has struggled to find consistency all season long. We're not that far removed from a stretch prior to the All-Star break in which the Celtics won 10 of 11, including a win against the revamped Philadelphia 76ers and yet it feels like an eternity ago that they resembled a team that could reach the NBA Finals.
With the stretch run coming up, there's no better time for the Celtics to find their on-court chemistry than now. The game in Golden State is the first of a four-game Western Conference road trip that also features games against the Kings, Lakers and Clippers. After that, they return to Boston for three tricky games against the Kings, Hawks and Nuggets before a tough road game at Philadelphia.
Like their previous matchups in Oakland, this Celtics-Warriors could produce another entertaining contest. Over the past few years, especially since Brad Stevens took over as a head coach, the Celtics have always played the Warriors tough. Since the 2013-14 season, the Celtics have gone 2-3 in the Warriors' fortress with the three losses by a combined margin of nine points.
There's an opportunity for Boston to right the ship against a Warriors team that's struggled a bit recently. The Warriors are just 3-4 over their last seven games which included back-to-back losses at Orlando and at Miami.
One bright spot of late has been the play of DeMarcus Cousins who is starting to once again look like an All-Star. He's averaged 23.3 points and 10.0 rebounds per game on 57% shooting over his last three contests and recently had his minutes restriction lifted. Through 16 games, the former All-Star has averaged 15.8 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 3.2 assists on 45.7% shooting in 25.2 minutes per game.
Despite some recent hiccups, they have won 20 of their last 26 games overall and have strengthened their hold on the West's top seed, leading the Denver Nuggets by 2 games.
Although they may not appear to be hitting on all cylinders, the Warriors remain the best offensive team in the leage. The two-time defending champs rank first in the NBA in offensive rating, points per game, FG percentage and assists per game. Their offensive rating of 115.5 would not only be their best over the last several years, it would be the best by any team in modern NBA history.
Where Golden State has at times looked beatable is on the other end of the floor as it ranks just 15th overall in defensive rating which would be it's worst since Steve Kerr took over as head coach prior to the 2014-15 season.
Last Time They Played
Date: Jan. 27, 2019
Score: Warriors 115-111 Celtics
Warriors: Kevin Durant - 33 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 blocks.
Celtics: Kyrie Irving - 32 points, 10 assists, and 6 rebounds.