The Boston Celtics play the fourth game in their current five-game West Coast road trip tonight, as they head into ORACLE Arena to spar with the Golden State Warriors for the first time this season.
This isn’t exactly a dream match-up for the Cs: so far on this road trip they have been allowing 119.7 points on average, and 64.3 in the first half alone. Meanwhile, the Warriors average 300 points per game (okay, more like 103.4) so I expect Golden State to score, oh, about 450 points this evening (actually, around 125).
Since the Celtics don’t score nearly that much . . . well, don’t say I didn’t warn you!!!
The Celtics have lost six games in a row, and are in danger of going oh-fer on this daunting road trip, as they will follow tonight’s difficult match-up by heading into Portland to finish the trip against the Trail Blazers, who currently sits in second place in the Western Conference. Boston will have almost no chance of winning tomorrow night against Portland if they lose tonight – their confidence will be as low as possible – so what can they do to get a W tonight?
1. Defend the arc.
The Warriors connect on 38.8% of their 3-point shots (3rd best in the league), to the tune of 9.4 made three-balls a game (also 3rd in the league). Once upon a time, the Celtics defended the 3-point shot really well . . . until they allowed the Los Angeles Clippers to torch them for 33 points from behind-the-arc in their loss Wednesday night. Granted, the Clippers needed 30 attempts to score those points, but an awful lot of those shots were wide-open looks that Boston defenders gave the Clippers’ shooters. If the Clippers, who shoot only 33% from deep and sink about 8 per contest, can do that against the Boston, it’s scary to think how many bombs the Warriors will connect on unless Boston really clamps down and limits the number of wide-open looks.
Look – Boston isn’t a big team. They don’t have many lumbering big men, so they don’t play a pound-it-into-the-paint kid of game. Their half-court offense is also a mess most of the time, a statement that is backed up by the fact that their effective field goal percentage of .484 ranks them 21 out of 30 teams in the NBA. What this all adds up to is this: the Boston Celtics are a team that need to make the game chaotic, fast-paced, and messy if they want to win games with the roster they have. Their best plan of attack is to disrupt as much of their opposition’s game plan as they can, cause turnovers and sloppy mental mistakes, and try to run, run, run. Sadly, Boston doesn’t seem to want to play this kid of game, which is too bad, because in the early stages of this season, that is often what they did, and their reward was a seat atop the Atlantic Division. With athletic players such as Jeff Green, Jordan Crawford, Kelly Olynyk, and recently re-acquired MarShon Brooks (fresh from his shredding of the D-League), the Cs can slash through the paint and attack the rim with abandon and do their best to disrupt what the Warriors do on both ends of the court.
Tonight’s game is set to tip off at 10:30! Hope you can sleep in tomorrow morning! Follow us on Twitter – @HoudiniCeltics - and come on back for our thoughts on the action. Go Celtics!