Boston Celtics at Golden State
When: 10:30 PM ET, Tuesday, March 5, 2019
Where: Oracle Arena, Oakland
Preview for Digital Sports Desk by Gracenote
OAKLAND – At the beginning of the season, a matchup between the Golden State Warriors and the Boston Celtics could have been pegged as an NBA Finals preview. The Warriors, who host the Celtics on Tuesday, still look like a safe bet for a fifth straight trip to the Finals but Boston is slumping its way down the standings.
The Celtics are losers of five of their last six games and sit in fifth place in the Eastern Conference after a 115-104 home loss to Houston on Sunday in which they trailed by 28 points. “Right now, unfortunately, we are going through a really bad stretch,” center Al Horford told reporters. “This is when our group, we need to make sure that we stay together and even closer because I know it’s hard. We’re the first ones that don’t want to lose, but we need to continue to work because we feel like we can be better than this.” The Warriors rested players on their four-game road trip and came out even on the excursion after outlasting the Philadelphia 76ers 120-117 on Saturday. Golden State is trying to balance staying healthy and staying sharp as it comes down the stretch toward the playoffs and will get two days off after facing Boston before taking on the second-place Denver Nuggets on Friday.
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, TNT
ABOUT THE CELTICS (38-26): The general feeling for most of the season has been that Boston’s parts aren’t connecting as a whole, with All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving receiving most of the blame. Irving and his teammates should have plenty of time together to get on the same page on the four-game road trip, which also stops in Sacramento and Los Angeles. “I think that’s one of the benefits of being on a long road trip,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens told reporters. “You get to spend some time together. You get to have some meals together. There’s more time off the court that you can engage with each other, and we can do that.”
ABOUT THE WARRIORS (44-19): Two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry battled foul trouble on Saturday and went 5-of-15 from 3-point range but hit big shots in the fourth quarter and drew strong praise from his teammates. “I still think he doesn’t really get the respect he deserves,” forward Andre Iguodala told reporters of Curry. “Guys think he uses a lot of screens and guys think they can draw mismatches with him defensively, but he’s a real problem. I think I told (forward Kevin Durant), he said he missed me on the shot he took, and I said, ‘Y’all two are like Michael Jordan, there’s no such thing as a bad shot.’ That’s for real, and people don’t understand the presence they bring to the court. Especially on the offensive end.” Curry (28.4 points) and Durant (27.6) are both in the top four in the NBA in scoring average.
1. Celtics C Aron Baynes (foot) returned from an 11-game absence on Sunday and scored four points in 12 minutes.
2. Warriors C DeMarcus Cousins scored a season-high 25 points on 9-of-15 shooting Saturday.
3. Golden State earned a 115-111 win at Boston on Jan. 26.