NBA Gameday: Curry vs Thomas a reunion of two longtime rivals

NBA Gameday: Curry vs Thomas a reunion of two longtime rivals

Programming note: Warriors-Celtics coverage starts tonight at 6:30pm with Warriors Pregame Live on CSN Bay Area, and streaming live right here.

OAKLAND -- After five road games, the Warriors on Wednesday return to Oracle Arena for a home game that will feel much like the continuation of the road trip.

They are in Oakland for all of one day, long enough to face the Boston Celtics, before leaving Thursday morning for two more road games.

The Warriors (52-11) will be seeking their third straight win, having responded this week to their first two-game skid with victories in New York and Atlanta.

The Celtics (40-24) won 13 of their first 25 games, but have since put together an extended stretch of success (27-12). Boston shown some vulnerability lately, though, going 3-4 since the All-Star break.


Warriors by 8.5


Stephen Curry vs. Isaiah Thomas: It’s a reunion of two longtime rivals, dating back to Thomas’ days in Sacramento. Curry will spend significant time defending Thomas, but the Celtics will rely mostly on defensive ace Avery Bradley to guard Curry. It’s Curry and Thomas -- each the best player on his team -- who will set the tone and are mostly likely to dictate the direction. The winner here gives his team a decided advantage. If they offset each other, the edge goes to the Warriors.


Warriors: F Kevin Durant (L knee sprain, bone bruise) is listed as out. C Damian Jones is on assignment with Santa Cruz of the NBA Development League.

Celtics: C/F Al Horford (Right elbow sprain) and F/C Jonas Jerebko (Upper respiratory infection) are listed as questionable. Horford said Wednesday morning that he expects to play.


Warriors: 7-3. Celtics: 5-5.


The Warriors have won six of the last seven, including the first meeting this season, 104-88 on Nov. 18 in Boston. They have won 15 of the last 20 at home.


THE FOURTH QUARTER: Boston leads the league in clutch wins with 28. That’s partly because they execute, partly because they defend but largely because Thomas has been the league’s most prolific scorer in the fourth quarter. Given that the Warriors are prone to late-game struggles, they don’t want this to be close.

WHO STARTS AT WING: Warriors coach Steve Kerr has indicated he alternate starters depending on matchups, with veteran Matt Barnes splitting the role with rookie Pat McCaw. Barnes likely starts if Boston opens big, with McCaw starting if the Celtics open small. Boston’s smallish backcourt may allow Klay Thompson to defend its wing, which could lead to McCaw starting.

GLASS WARS: Boston’s most glaring weakness is its rebounding, which ranks 27th.. The Warriors, by contrast, rank seventh in the league. This is a takeover opportunity for the Warriors, who are 29-0 when they outrebound their opponent.

Casspi defends his spot on Warriors, explains why he's not worried about being cut


Casspi defends his spot on Warriors, explains why he's not worried about being cut

OAKLAND -- Like much of the NBA and everyone with an interest in the Warriors, Omri Casspi has watched the emergence of Quinn Cook, who came out of the G-League and is making a strong bid to make the postseason roster.

Casspi, out since spraining his right ankle last Friday against Sacramento, happens to be at or near the top of the list of the tiny group of players that might be dropped should the Warriors decide to add Cook.

The 6-foot-9 veteran forward has heard the chatter.

“First of all, it’s you guys talking,” Casspi said, referring to media. “I don’t really feel it from the organization. At the end of the day, I’m focused on getting healthy and playing. That’s all I can control.

“I feel like the team needs me and know what I can do for the team. My focus is on getting healthy and playing.”

The Warriors have until April 11 to submit their playoff roster.

Casspi’s roster spot is in danger for three reasons.

One, he has lost confidence in his long-distance shooting, which was influential in the team’s decision to sign him to a one-year minimum contract last July.

Two, his defense has been a glaring weakness, with teams attacking him at every opportunity.

Three, he had fallen out of the rotation when the team was fully healthy and didn’t return until after succession of injuries. Casspi exceeded 10 minutes of playing time in only one of the 12 games before injuries to several teammates became a factor.

Stephen Curry’s ankle woes this season, along with Cook’s impressive play, are making a persuasive argument for adding the third-year point guard.

For now, Casspi is determined to get back on court after missing the last two games.

“With my role on this team, when I’m healthy I want to go out there and play, maybe not 100 percent healthy, but close to it,” he said. “That’s what I’m focused on, on feeling good and running up and down and being able to cut and move and be out there again with the guys.”

As Warriors inch closer to full health, Kerr provides update on Durant, Klay


As Warriors inch closer to full health, Kerr provides update on Durant, Klay

OAKLAND -- Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson all worked up sweat Wednesday, putting the Warriors ever closer to being whole again.

Only Draymond Green did not full participate in the non-contact practice session, but he’s expected back in a matter of days.

So while the Warriors are a little more than a week away from possibly having the full squad available, they’re starting to feel a little less vulnerable.

“They’re all kind of day-to-day,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “Steph is closer to playing than KD and Klay.”

Curry has not played since March 8, when he tweaked his surgically repaired right ankle. He missed the last six games. Durant (rib cartilage injury) and Thompson (right thumb sprain) sustained their injuries on March 11 at Minnesota, though Durant played one more game, March 14, before receiving a diagnosis. Durant missed the last three games, Thompson the last four.

Green sustained a pelvic contusion Monday night at San Antonio, but believes he will be available this weekend, either Friday against Atlanta or Sunday against Utah.

Curry, though, is fully cleared for all activities.

“Steph looks great,” Kerr said. “He’s chomping at the bit. But we’ll see how he responds in the next couple days before we decide whether he plays or not.”

Durant loathes acknowledging pain or injuries, and his return will be dictated by his ability with withstanding the contact inevitable in the course of a game.

“I don’t expect KD to play this week,” Kerr said. “It’s not like a timetable . . . just sort of a feel thing. It’s symptomatic with him.”

Thompson seems, at this point, the furthest away from full activity.

“Klay did some stuff," Kerr said, “but not full participation.”