The Boston Celtics (10-8, 10-8 ATS) travel to face the Golden State Warriors (11-9, 10-10 ATS) at 10 EST on TNT in San Francisco to begin a five game road trip and life without Marcus Smart (calf).
James Wiseman (wrist) is out for Golden State for 7-10 days, beginning today after a weekend injury. Eric Paschall (back) and Draymond Green (adductor) are probable, with Klay Thompson (achilles) and Marquisse Chriss (leg) out for the season.
According to the online sports book Betonline.ag, the Celtics are 2.5 point favorites over the shorthanded Dubs.
Payton Pritchard (knee) and Romeo Langford (wrist) remain out for Boston.
- Celtics vs. Warriors spread: Celtics -2.5
- Celtics vs. Warriors over-under: 226 points
- Celtics vs. Warriors money line: Celtics -138, Warriors +118
The Warriors have won three of four games to improve to 9-7 since Draymond Green returned to their lineup. They've raised their defense to a top-10 level, allowing 109.4 points per 100 possessions on 44.2% shooting (2nd). Their offense lags in the bottom 10, unrecognizable from their recent greatness.
Curry, who scores 25% of their points per game (27.7), comes the closest, and when they can integrate Andrew Wiggins. Kelly Oubre is one of the worst volume three-point shooters in the league this year. Wiseman emerged as an early leader among rookie scorers before falling injured to a wrist sprain against Detroit. Bigs Kevon Looney and Green hardly qualify as scoring threats anymore.
They hit hard on the defense at practice on Monday, unsatisfied with their statistical advances due to inconsistency.
"We've had really good moments," Steph Curry said. "We've had certain games where we didn't defend the three-point line and that cost us heavily ... we obviously have things we need to work on in terms of rebounding and fouling."
Despite their shattered personnel, the Warriors continue to run a rapid pace, complicated pick-and-rolls and unload 37.2 three-pointers each night. Curry will get his, while involving others depends on the amount of stops and open threes they can generate.
Where does Boston go for defense on Steph? The struggling guard pair of Kemba Walker and Jeff Teague have their hands full as primary options, but Carsen Edwards and the defensive Tremont Waters could receive opportunities as well.
Brad Stevens shuffled through deep rotations late last week before losing one of his reliable contributors in Smart. Double big combinations, like Robert Williams and Daniel Theis, and doses of Teague, Edwards, Semi Ojeleye and Javonte Green at the wing will likely round out lineups for a rapidly thinning team.
The Warriors will run small for most of the game, allowing Boston to take advantage of its wing scorers and size inside against one of the worst rebounding teams in the league. Wiseman's loss is more damaging to the Warriors than Smart's, and while wings like Oubre and Wiggins can physically stand with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, they'll be hard-pressed to slow them.
Closing will prove to be Boston's biggest challenge, among the worst fourth-quarter teams through the quarter-point of the season. Golden State (+4.5) ranks sixth in fourth-quarter net rating, Boston (-10.7) ranks 28th.
Boston 118, Golden State 114 (9-4, 5-7 ATS)