This Friday night the NBA offers an 8 game slate. Slotted in at 9:30 CST, worst meets first so to speak, as the 9-1 Celtics head to the Bay to match up against the 2-10 Warriors. Boston has come out scorching and look to continue their torrid pace against a reeling and very injured Golden State bunch.
The Celtics will have to find a few new ways to score moving forward, as they lost Gordon Hayward earlier in the week. Brad Stephens will have to dig deeper into his bench for at least 4-6 weeks. The Warriors have been banged up pretty much all season. Klay Thompson is out for the season, and Steph Curry started 4 games before having hand surgery on a broken left hand. He is expected to miss at least 3 months.
The Warriors are 2-3 this season against the spread at home, the Celtics are 3-1-1 against the spread on the road. You can see from the respective teams’ records and recent play who will be favored, but the line here becomes a bit more important given that Golden State is somewhat better against favorable spreads at home. The Celtics head into the contest an 8 point favorite, with the O/U, set at 226.5.
The Skill of the Irish
The Celtics have been getting it done on both sides of the ball this season, but even with the offensive fire power of Kemba Walker, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, and Hayward before the injury, it’s been the defense that has propelled them to the top. With Walker, Brown, and Tatum with deflections and steals, and Daniel Theis, Robert Williams, and Enes Kanter protecting the rim, and as they say, defense travels.
Boston only allows 103.4 points per game on the road this season, which ranks 5th in the NBA. They also rank 9th in the league in opponents three point percentage, which should throw Steve Kerr off his spread offense a bit. Theis blocks over 2 shots per game while Tatum averages 1.5 steals per game. Marcus Smart has become quite the man defender himself. They come at you with a complete team effort on both ends of the floor.
The product that Golden State has put on the floor this season doesn’t at all resemble the defending Western Conference Champions that we’ve come to expect. Between the departure of Kevin Durant, and the injuries to both Thompson and Curry, this is not the start that head coach Steve Kerr envisioned.
The Warriors are left with team and vocal leader Draymond Green, and point guard D’Angelo Russell, who is putting together a pretty nice season so far. Russell is averaging 25.7 points and 6.7 assists per game while Green is averaging 5.7 assists, 6.7 rebounds, and bringing the raw emotion that he brings on both ends of the floor. Unfortunately for the team, that emotion just hasn’t been enough.
It doesn’t look like Golden State will have enough to combat everything that Boston brings to the table. They are simply outmatched here, however, I know what you may be thinking. Don’t. Stop. I know that 8 points is a pretty widespread, but it’s best not to overthink this one. It’s literally worst against first. The pick is the Celtics to win and cover the -8 spread.