BOSTON: You go to the great game, you want to see the program. You want to see Steph Curry go around the screens and shoot three seconds while Kyrie Irving danced with his waterboy through waves of defenders. You want to see that Kevin Durant attacks the basket relentlessly and Al Horford plays cat and mouse with DeMarcus Cousins on the perimeter.
More than anything, you wanted to see a great game.
There's no problem. The Warriors and the Celtics (almost) always play great matches. There was an extraordinary two-hour classic in 2015 that served as the final victory in the 24-year Golden State winning streak to open its 73-victory season. The revenge in Oakland several months later was just as good, with C steals a 4-point win at Oracle that broke the Warriors brand in the 54-game win.
Only last season, the Celtics stretched their winning streak to 14 games with a runaway four point victory that confirmed their success in the first season. "I've heard that the weather is great here in June," said Curry after that. I was joking, especially. Two months later in Oakland, Curry slipped into 49 points, including 13 in the last 102 seconds of the game, to overcome the 37-point night of Irving.
What we saw on Saturday night at the Garden was another regular time to add to the litany. Of course, it did not finish in the most elegant way. After 47 minutes of back-to-back orchestrated basketball, the last minute was a cacophony of losses and opportunities.
In the last seconds, Draymond Green lost two free throws with the opportunity to take the game to the free throw line. Being Draymond, he took his own bounce and quickly threw the ball towards Curry that he was not going to lose two free throws with the game in the line.
In the rebound that won for the Warriors: good work of KD to lead two guys deeply to painting, badly overcome by Smart, a good conscience of Draymond pic.twitter.com/DnIs9Ij7JY
– Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) January 27, 2019
It was an unsatisfactory conclusion of a game that demanded some kind of disappearance. But after 21 leadership changes and 14 draws, the Warriors 115-111 win gave us an idea of what could be expected in June.
Maybe, then, it was a Preview of Finals?
"I'm not a fortune teller," said Klay Thompson.
Almost like a playoff atmosphere?
"No," Irving said. "It was a regular season game".
It was a good game, but, right? Give this up, guys.
"We work best," Curry said.
This will have to be done for now.
At least, the C have undoubtedly the attention of the Warriors. Help this with Irving, they have one of the few players in the league who has ever taken the Golden State measurement and come out on the top. This only engenders respect among the warrior players.
It also helps them have the type of equipment that can match the Warriors, with long and changing wings that can cover and react. Add to a great Horford man who can stretch the floor and play the type of help and recover the defense that it is a must against Golden State, and trainers have noted.
"They are great defensive and have dynamic offensive players, they are one of the best," said Steve Kerr, coach of Golden State. "It will be interesting to see this year with LeBron (James) from East that comes out of the East and we have many things to do to get out of the West; many great teams this year. I think the League is better this year than it has been in for a long time. Many great teams, but Boston is clearly a great team of dual meaning and that is what is needed in the playoffs. "
Of course, Celtics should come first. They are currently ranked fifth in the Eastern Conference, which is not a privileged position to make the postseason match unpolluted. The Raptors are a tough combination for them and on paper the Bucks are better than anyone else. The C have supported uncomfortable sections where nobody seems to be on the same page and have had more than their proportion of unfathomable losses.
And even so, there has been a feeling throughout the League that eventually the Celtics will become a whole greater than the sum of their considerable parts. Nobody seems to trust Toronto or Milwaukee or Philly.
Although the Celtics have not yet achieved this level of confidence, when they finally take place, they will end up playing a consistent basketball that separates them from the package. That is the theory, anyway.
We saw him spurts on Saturday. Kyrie was dazzling, as always. Horford became a record of Playoff Horford sales with 22 points and 13 rebounds. Jayson Tatum had a stretch where he took care of everything. But his bank did not provide much support and Gordon Hayward took a 0 for 5 in 22 minutes less.
The problem with playing Golden State is that, even when the stars arrive, you should be almost perfect in all other facets of the game. You must be able to match the moments when Steph or Klay starts cooking, or when Shaun Livingston repeats himself at the right time. Most of all he must be able to resist Durant, who is the last manufacturer of differences, even in this team with stars.
And you absolutely have to recover the softball rebound.
"There we left the guard even for a second part and they made us pay for the whole night when we did that," said Brad Stevens, coach of the Celtics. "When we made mistakes for crime, they made us pay, when we made mistakes of defense they made us pay. So yes, I thought our boys played very well. You must block all the controllables to win this team ".
The Celtics almost did it and maybe they will do it again when they travel to Oakland in March. The potential is clearly there. The difference is that while Boston tries to build itself up to this point, the Warriors are already there. If Cs are still looking for confirmation, the Warriors only seek to find someone to give them a contest.
"Well, we needed this game," said Kerr. "We have played three direct opponents all decimated by injuries and we have to be challenged and we were challenged for a long time and could have gone in any way."
Could have it, that turned it into a great regular season game. That's all we have from the Celtics and the Warriors to this point. We have given enough regular seasonal moments that give rise to distant reflections of the bileastic Ends that have the potential to keep up to date.
Everything you can expect a little more. At least for one night we achieved the show and it was as good as you can get in this league in January.