NBA Preview – Celtics Vs Golden State Warriors

Dean Riley - 16 Dec 2021

Head-to-head during the NBA regular season, the Boston Celtics and the Golden State Warriors have played against each other 344 times. Of those, the Celtics have won 207 games, and the Warriors a decidedly lower 137.

They’ve played twice in 2021, with the Celtics winning both times. This means their Dec. 17 mash-up will be the third this year, with Boston certainly looking as if they might be the team to bank on.

Still, the Celtics have faced their own variety of struggles of late, and some of these might come into play as they take on one of their all-time rivals on the weekend.

The Celtics Have Coaching Issues

While it would be unfair to blame Celtics head coach Ime Udoka for all of Boston’s recent ailments, many believe he’s been pushing a struggling and tired system to the point of the wheels falling off.

From that first moment Udoka took over the reins, fans had been promised much more ball movement and an improved offence. But now, a little over quarter-way through the 2021-22 NBA season, the Celtics are sitting not-so-pretty at 22nd in the league for assists.

Ironically, the Celtics finished last season ranked 25th with a per-game average of 23.5. But this year, despite their higher ranking, they’ve been scoring fewer assists with an average of only 22.6.

Even so, in all fairness, the issues within Boston’s roster have mostly been coming for a very long time, i.e., they’re older than Udoka. But then again, he was brought in precisely to make a team regarded as increasingly un-coachable more, well, coachable.

That Fateful Tell-Tale Game

But it would be unfair to dismiss a Celtics team because of typical struggles faced by many others in the NBA also. And for the Golden State Warriors, those woes shone through on more than one occasion during their late-October loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.

After their strong start to the season, the Warriors got showered with heaps of (mostly deserved) praise. That they’re a good team cannot be denied – in fact, they’re one of the best in the Western Conference. But then came that awful reminder that they might not be the title-gunning team we all thought them to be when they lost that fateful and heated late-October contest against the Grizzlies.

It had been a game that saw their offense melt away as if it were wax to the sun.

The loss to Memphis also emphasised their need for a secondary isolation scorer. And it’s precisely this gap the Celtics might look to take advantage of if the Warriors aren’t meaning to be on their best behaviour when they take to the floor.

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