After beating the Indiana Pacers through a game winning shot by Klay Thompson, playing the Boston Celtics is almost like being on holiday, only with really bad weather, as Stephen Curry could give himself another break en route to a 108-88 win.
The Celtics are one of the easiest outings in the league, even if Rajon Rondo is trying to give them something of a competitive attitude. That approach didn’t really help him or his teammates in an awful start to the game, scoring only 56 points through the first three quarters. Rondo turned the ball over five times and looked as confused as the rest of his teammates, resulting in 22 turnovers and a lot of easy points for the visitors.
Curry played for only 22 minutes, finishing with 14 points before calling it a night. David Lee had an easy time against the Celtics frontline, continuing its struggles as an undersized, inexperienced and generally bad unit. Lee had an 18 points, 10 rebounds double double in just 25 minutes, as Klay Thompson also finished with 18 despite his awful 1-of-8 from beyond the arc.
Andre Iguodala played only 23 minutes, but it might have been his best game in a while. The Celtics are the perfect opponents to get your shooting groove back on, although Iguodala wasn’t exactly scorching. He finished with 5-of-9 from the field including one 3-pointer. Compared to his recent form, that’s a big improvement to see him so active in the scoring game, finishing with 11 points.
The rest of the numbers were filled by Jordan Crawford, scoring 15 points against his former team. He was one of the players who felt it was necessary to keep shooting 3-pointers instead of constantly pushing the ball inside, where the Celtics are one of the worst teams in the league.
The Warriors scored 58 points in the paint and shot only 17.9% from beyond the arc, jacking the ball up 28 times. Still, after winning by 20 points, it’s really hard to complain about not playing the right way.
And these are the Celtics these days. You don’t need to play the right way or a smart way to easily beat them. Simply make it a bit uncomfortable for Rajon Rondo and the whole house of cards collapses. Rondo might be the team’s best player, but the Celtics played better basketball without him earlier in the season, masking their weaknesses with a bit more intelligence in their game.
The Warriors will get this season as far as their defense takes them. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson will have better shooting nights, but it’s going to be their ability to force turnovers (and avoid them) and close the paint with Bogut and Jermaine O’Neal coming off the bench, because David Lee isn’t going to provide too much defensive toughness.
The interesting thing about the Celtics and their tanking/rebuilding project is that there isn’t too much to work with from this season. Rondo stays for next year, but unlike the Sixers and the Magic who have young prospects they feel very confident about developing, it might take a bit longer in Boston to put the ship back on the right course.