The Warriors are +5.5 home dogs to the Celtics tonight, in the return of Andris Biedrins to the Warriors lineup (it’s really happening, right?). This line seems curious to me. The Celtics are one of the best road teams in the NBA, it is true. They had won 9 road games in a row, and 13 of 14, until they lost last night to the Clippers (on a BDiddy last-second dagger. Oh, the memories…!). On the other hand, consider this: The Celtics are without Paul Pierce. They are an old team, and they are playing a back-to-back on the road. It is the third game of their road trip. Their starters played heavy minutes last night in a close game.
And, believe it or not, the Warriors have won 2 straight against the Celtics at home. Outright. I think I kinda gotta like the Warriors against this spread.
We got some serious matchup madness in the Phoenix game. Morrow on Frye? Sweet! But in this game, I forsee the matchups going much more conventionally. (Did I really write that? Nellie will probably make me eat those words on the opening tip.)
The Warriors are getting Andris Biedrins back just in time for the Celtics 280 lb. behemoth in the middle, Kendrick Perkins. The only question here is whether Nellie will use Beans off the bench and start Turiaf. Turiaf is heavier and stronger, and fares better against the heavy centers defensively. But Beans is the far better rebounder and runner.
The real intrigue in this game comes from whether Nellie will give Randolph the start at power forward against Garnett. I think he should, and I think he will. Now is the time. C’mon Nellie, DO IT! This is the moment Warriors fans everywhere, and Randolph’s agent, have been waiting for. DO IT!
Whichever way it goes, Randolph should spend plenty of time going against Garnett. And also Rasheed Wallace, the Celtics’ backup center who loves to spread the floor. Garnett, Sheed and Mr. Anthony Randolph all on the floor at the same time? Why do I expect fireworks? Someone is going to get their brain melted. Randolph leads the league in Melted Brains, with three. Tonight I predict he will get his fourth. But on who? Will it be on Garnett, Sheed, or, as happened in the Lakers game, on himself?
Much has been made in the press of the point guard matchup between Curry and Rondo. I don’t think it will be that big of a factor. Curry, who is very adept at keeping opposing point guards out of the paint, did a great job against Rondo in their last meeting. (Rondo got most of his points going against Morrow). Rondo simply doesn’t have the outside shot to punish Curry for sagging off him the way Nash did.
On the other end, I think the Celtics will be making a big mistake if they don’t use Rondo to guard Monta Ellis. Rondo is a fantastic defender with long arms, and that’s the kind of player who has given Monta fits this season. So the Curry-Rondo matchup may not even materialize on that end. The Celtics could conceivably try Tony Allen on Monta. But Ray Allen would get destroyed.
Will this be Corey Maggette’s time to get the start at small forward? Or will he go back to his sixth man role off the bench? Maggette has been playing terrific ball as a starter lately, and I’d like to see it continue. If he does get the start, look for Nellie to post him up in the paint repeatedly against the Celtics much smaller wings.
The Warriors will need to get out and run, run, run against this Celtics team. With Beans and Turiaf back, and Randolph hopefully starting at the four, the Warriors finally have the ability to defend the middle, grab the defensive rebound and start the fast break. This game will be a fascinating study in competing agendas. Whose style will prevail?