7:30 P.M. ET
Boston: 105.0 points/100 possessions (13th)
Golden State: 105.2 points/100 possessions (t-11th)
Boston: 97.6 points allowed/100 possessions (2nd)
Golden State: 108.2 points allowed/100 possessions (27th)
Probable Golden State Starters: Stephen Curry (PG) Monta Ellis (SG) Dorell Wright (SF) Ekpe Udoh (PF) David Lee (C)
View From The Opposing Bench: Warriors World
Thumbnail: The Celtics host their second straight defensively indifferent opponent in a rematch of the game in Oakland February 22 where the Celtics obliterated the Warriors. How bad was it? The Celtics racked up an offensive efficiency rating of 116.2 and a defensive rating of 93.9. Both of those figures are league bests by wide margins. Effectively, the Celtics forced the Warriors into a game of near-perfect sucktitude.
WHAT THE WARRIORS DO WELL:
Before the February 22 game, the Warriors had won six of eight games. Have a look at the numbers from each of those wins (via hoopdata):
Effectively, the Warriors won these games with offensive performances that would lead the league by a fair margin. Interestingly, despite the scoring fireworks, their defensive performances improved on their season averages as well.
This suggests the Warriors, appropriately given their mediocre record, play well on both sides of the ball. Or not at all.
It’s instructive: Celtics fans will sometimes criticize the team’s effort and focus from night to night, and rightly so, but they remain on the top of the curve in terms of ability to execute (talent) and drive to execute (focus and effort). The Warriors are still a work in progress on both those fronts.
WHAT THE WARRIORS DO POORLY:
Have another look at the defensive numbers from those wins. Those are Golden State’s strong games. And while their performance is strong in relative terms, overall they’re still a very poor defensive team.
Hayes identified one particular area of deficiency in his preview last week. It’s worth revisiting.
Rotate on defense. The Warriors are, by a huge margin, the league leader in Opposing Percentage Assisted, a stat that sounds obscure and irrelevant but actually isn’t. It’s just the percentage of field goals by the opposing team that were assisted on, and the Warriors are dominant in this area all over the court. They’re league highest in O%Ast at the rim, from midrange, from the long two, and from three, and they’re second from inside ten feet.
What does it take to get an assisted basket? It takes a player receiving the ball with enough space from his defender to immediately put up a shot. If a team sees that happen a lot for its opposition, it suggests to me that they miss a lot of defensive assignments as a group and that it’s easy to kill them with ball movement.
PLAYERS WHO MAKE ME WORRY:
PLAYERS WHO DO NOT MAKE ME WORRY:
WHAT WE WANT TO SEE FROM BOSTON TONIGHT:
Boston needs to keep the momentum going and needs to get something out of their bench. Two of the Celtics most consistent bench players are likely out tonight (Glen Davis we know is out, Delonte West’s status is up in the air but let’s just say it’s doubtful he’ll play). I would love to see Troy Murphy, a full practice with the green team under his belt, really step it up and show Celtics’ fans that he’s still got it (hoping, begging assuming he still has something left to offer). At any rate, Celtics’ fans are going to find out if Murphy still has some production left in his slightly above averaged-aged bones.
Sasha Pavlovic is a Celtic. Weird. Should be fun to see him play though.
Boston 113 Golden State 106
The parts of this preview that sounded extremely over-tired were written by Brendan Jackson. Please direct complaints, insults and ribbings toward him.