Something’s got to give when the Golden State Warriors visit the Boston Celtics Saturday night at TD Garden. The reigning champions are on a nine-game winning streak, while the Celtics search for their sixth victory in a row. It will be their first head-to-head duel of the season and the Warriors are 5-3 straight up and just 1-6-1 ATS in their last eight meetings with the Celtics, while Boston is 1-4 straight up and 2-2-1 ATS in the previous five H2H meetings at TD Garden.
All Celtics’ players should be ready to go including Kyrie Irving (illness) who practiced with the team yesterday. The Warriors will only miss Jonas Jerebko due to personal reasons.
The Warriors opened as 2-point favorites with the total at 229.0 points and the Celtics at +115 money line odds, while almost 70.0% of wagers are on the defending champions to cover. Golden State is 8-0 straight up and 5-3 ATS in its last eight games on the road, and the over is 6-2 during that span. The Celtics are 10-0 straight up and 8-2 ATS in their previous ten showings at TD Garden, and the over is 7-3 in that span. With DeMarcus Cousins back from injury, the bookmakers just have to set the Warriors as slight favorites here.
What’s at Stake?
The Warriors are topping the West two games ahead of the Denver Nuggets, and from this point of view, it seems like no one can stop them to win the conference title. On the other side, the Celtics are occupying the No. 5 seed in the East 1.5 games behind the Philadelphia 76ers and 4.5 games ahead of the 6th-placed Brooklyn Nets, so we can say the Celtics need a win more than the Warriors. However, there’s always a lot at stake when two heavy-loaded contenders meet each other, as winning the game like this one is a huge boost for the confidence.
Golden State is coming off a 126-118 victory at the Washington Wizards this past Thursday, and the Warriors will end up their four-game journey with a matchup at Indiana Monday night. The Celtics are coming off a comfortable 123-103 home win over the Cleveland Cavaliers last Wednesday and will host the Brooklyn Nets Monday night.
The Celtics had a lot of ups and downs this season, but if anyone has enough firepower to compete with the All-Star Warriors, it’s this Boston team. The Celtics possess great depth and their bench is surely capable of making some serious damage. Likewise, the Celtics’ defensive potential is enormous as they can switch everything, and that’s why Al Horford is so important for the Celtics. Not to mention Marcus Smart who can play some serious D on any guard in the league. For the record, the Celtics limited the Warriors below 110 points in the previous five H2H duels.
Boston is allowing 106.1 points per 100 possessions (5th in the league) on 44.1% shooting from the field (2nd) and 33.4% from beyond the arc (also 2nd). They are permitting 22.8 assists per 100 possessions (4th) and 10.3 offensive rebounds (16th). The Celtics are scoring 112.6 points per 100 possessions (10th in the league) on 46.1% shooting from the field (14th) and 37.0% from downtown (6th), making 26.0 assists (6th) and posting 45.1 rebounds (14th).
The Warriors possess the best offense in the league, no doubt. Their offensive rating is the best by far with 117.2 points per 100 possessions while shooting 49.1% from the field (also 1st) and 38.9% from beyond the arc (2nd). They are making 28.8 assists (1st) and grabbing 46.0 rebounds per 100 possessions (8th). On the other side of the ball, the Warriors are allowing 110.5 points per 100 possessions (16th in the league) on 45.0% shooting from the field (6th) and 34.9% from downtown (13th).
Golden State possesses five All-Stars in their starting lineup, and you never know who will drop 30+ points. However, their bench is certainly much weaker than Boston’s second unit which could make a difference, but the Warriors are still looking like a better team than the Celtics at the moment.
I really like this Celtics team and admire Brad Stevens’ work, but they will have a mountain to climb against the in-form Warriors even though they will play on the home court. The Celtics will certainly be highly motivated to prove their worth against the arguably best team in the league and it could be an X-factor tonight. Still, there’s no easy money on this one, but I think the Warriors are closer to the victory. The last two H2H duels were decided by four points, so you can pick any team by 1-5 points around tempting +160 odds.
I’ve mentioned how tough the Celtics’ defense can be, but it doesn’t mean they will manage to prove it on this one. Boston will need its best D in the playoffs, while both teams have been executing very well offensively, so I’m backing the over. However, if you like to go with the betting trends, take the under, as the last five H2H games were ended in the under, and the under is 10-2 in the previous 12 meetings between Golden State and Boston.