The Boston Celtics will welcome the Golden State Warriors at the TD Garden on Saturday night (26/01) in another match-up between the two rivals.
The hosts have started playing at higher standards lately. They have created a three-game winning streak and have won seven of their last 10 games (7-3).
On Saturday night (19/01), they defeated the Hawks in Atlanta (93-105) and now have five straight games at home.
They will play against the Miami Heat and the Cleveland Cavaliers prior to the match against the defending champions, so they have the opportunity to extend their streak to five games.
On the other hand, Golden State have lost only once in their last 10 games (9-1), while they have won their last seven straight matches. Against the Celtics on Saturday, they will be in the middle of a five-game road trip.
Their matches against the LA Lakers (who will be without LeBron James and Lonzo Ball) and the Washington Wizards will let them extend their winning streak to nine games.
The Warriors have enhanced their overall performance lately and the return to action of All-Star power forward/center DeMarcus Cousins can make them unstoppable.
The trio of Stephen Curry (29.8 points, 5.4 assists, 5.2 rebounds per game, 32.6 points over the last 10 games), Kevin Durant (28.1 points, six assists, 7.4 boards) and Klay Thompson (21.6 points, 4.2 rebounds) has led the squad to the top of the Western Conference.
Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala offer GSW defensive stability, while both players have the ability to become game changers offensively.
For their part, the Celtics rely a lot on their leader, Kyrie Irving, who has averaged 23.4 points, 6.8 assists and 4.8 rebounds so far.
Alongside him, Jayson Tatum plays very well on both ends of the floor, with 16.3 points and 6.3 boards per game. Al Horford, Marcus Morris and Gordon Hayward also have a central role in the tactics of head coach Brad Stevens.
This game will see the best offense in the NBA (GSW – 118.5 ppg) take on the fifth best defense in the league (Boston – 105.8 ppg). At the same time, the Warriors allow their opponents to score 111.9 points, while the Celtics score 112.1 ppg.
It is certain the hosts will depend on their defensive line to set the tone and make the difference. A number close to the 106 points they concede per game, will give them the upper hand in the game.
On the other hand, the visitors will attempt to impose an up-tempo playing style that will let them score 115+ points and come closer to the win.
No team is dealing with injuries (at the time of writing this article), so they will both be in full force on Saturday night. GSW are on top of the Western Conference with a 32-14 record, while the Celtics are fifth in the East (28-18).
Boston plays very well at home (17-5 this season), whereas the Warriors have lost eight times in 22 games on the road (14-8). With that in mind, the hosts will try to take advantage of their home court and rally past the defending champions.
Although the latest NBA betting odds have not been out yet, a close and tough game is expected on Saturday night. It wouldn’t come as a surprise to me, if the point difference is seven or fewer points.
Overall, it is defense versus offense in this match-up, with the Celtics having a slight advantage over the defending champions, thanks to their home record (17-5).