);
Golden State Warriors

Thursday Game Preview:Celtics host Raptors in East heavyweight clash, Pelicans continue road trip in Oakland

A star studded cast headlines NBA's Thursday broadcast in India.
A star studded cast headlines NBA's Thursday broadcast in India. (Getty Images)

Boston Celtics (25-18) vs Toronto Raptors (33-12)

Where to Watch

Date: Thursday, Jan. 17

Time: 6:30 AM IST

TV: Sony Ten 1

Location: TD Garden, Boston, MA

Game Preview

For the third time this season, the Boston Celtics have three games in a row. Their current streak of three losses have all come on the road in Orlando, Miami, and Brooklyn.

Despite the depth and level of talent on Boston's roster, they seem to find it difficult maintaining consistency. Other than their eight-game win streak in early December, the Celtics have won more three games in a row just twice.

There seems to be no pattern to these losses, at least, in their current three-game skid. They lost by 16 to the Heat, then lost a nail-biter by two points to the Magic and then gave up a 44-point third quarter in the loss to the Nets.

Unfortunately for the Celtics, it isn't going to easy snap out of their skid by hosting the team with the best record in the league.

The Raptors, along with the Milwaukee Bucks and the Denver Nuggets, are the only teams to be top 10 in offensive and defensive rating.

The momentum on the Raptors' side has been of a contrasting nature. Since their 18-point loss in San Antonio, the team has won five games in a row. More importantly, their last three wins have come with both Kyle Lowry and Kawhi Leonard healthy and playing.

Arguably more impressive than the recent output of the starters is the Raptors reserves response to putting forth a disappointing effort in the team's win over the Bucks on Saturday, Jan. 5. In the past three games - wins over Indiana, Atlanta and Brooklyn - Toronto's bench is averaging 42.8 points while shooting 49.6% percent from the field and 42.9% from deep.

Depth has proven to be an advantage for the Raptors as of late and the team's success should continue if the trend holds true.

Game Notes

  • The Celtics are have won 15 of their previous 20 home games at the TD Garden.
  • On the road, the Raptors have among the best away records in the league at 15-8.
  • Boston will be without Jabari Bird (Not injury related) while the duo of Aron Baynes (Hand) and Marcus Smart (Illness) are said to be game-time decisions.
  • The visiting Raptors will miss OG Anunoby (Personal) and Jonas Valanciunas (Thumb) in this game while C.J. Miles (Hip) and Fred VanVleet (Thigh) are reportedly game-time decisions.

Last Time They Played

Date: Nov. 17, 2018

Score: Raptors 116-123 Celtics

Raptors: Kawhi Leonard - 31 points, 15 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals.

Celtics: Kyrie Irving - 43 points, 11 assists, and 3 steals on 69.2% shooting.


New Orleans Pelicans (21-23) vs Golden State Warriors (30-14)

Where to Watch

Date: Thursday, Jan. 17

Time: 9:00 AM IST

TV: Sony Ten 1

Location: Oracle Arena, Oakland, CA

Game Preview

At the beginning of the season, this might have been looked at as a difficult back-to-back but the Warriors took care of business in Denver, giving all their starters enough rest.

It was a statement win for Golden State. Not only did they snatch the West's top seed from the Nuggets but they did it in Denver, one of the toughest road arenas to win in.

The Warriors' current record of 30-14 is the worst under Steve Kerr through 44 games. They have never registered double-digit losses in the previous seasons (under Kerr) through 42 games. So the wear-and-tear of a three-peat is certainly showing.

Despite all of this, the Warriors still have the league's best offense (115.3). They also rank among the league's elite in various other offensive categories such as - FG% (48.9- 1st), 3P% (38.9% - tied 2nd), FT% (82.3% - 1st), PPG (118.0 - 1st), and APG (28.5 - 1st).

Despite a very positive 10-7 start to the season, it's been downhill since for New Orleans. The Pelicans haven't been above .500 since the Thanksgiving break (10-9) despite arguably one of the great players in the league right now.

Anthony Davis is averaging 29.4 points, 13.3 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.8 steals (all career-highs). He also leads the league in ESPN's PER (Player Efficiency Rating) - 31.34 and ranks a close second in NBA.com's PIE (Player Impact Estimate) - 20.6.

The defense is an issue for the Pelicans. Their offense ranks a tied 3rd in the league with a rating of 113.5 but their defense ranks in the bottom third of the league at 25th with a rating of 111.3.

This season, the Pelicans have failed to score 100 points just twice in 43 games but their defense has restricted the opponents to under 100 points just twice.

Game Notes

  • Back at the top of the Western Conference, the Warriors have a home record of 17-6.
  • Anthony Davis and the Pelicans have a road record of 6-17.
  • This is Golden State's sixth back-to-back of the season and they have gone 4-1 so far in the second night of a back-to-back this season.
  • The Warriors are said to miss both of their backup centers for this game - Damian Jones (Pectoral) and DeMarcus Cousins (Achilles).
  • As per reports, the Pelicans have a fully healthy roster and no players on the injured players' list.

Last Time They Played

Date: Nov. 1, 2018

Score: Pelicans 121-131 Warriors

Pelicans: Nikola Mirotic - 26 points, 12 rebounds, and 2 steals on 66.7% shooting.

Warriors: Stephen Curry - 37 points, 9 assists, and 2 steals on 60.0% shooting.

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