NBA Gameday: Steph Curry vs Isaiah Thomas key matchup to watch

NBA Gameday: Steph Curry vs Isaiah Thomas key matchup to watch

As the Warriors were rampaging through the 2015-16 season, winning an NBA-record 73 games, no team played them tougher than the Boston Celtics.

Indeed it was the Celtics who avenged a double-overtime loss last December in Boston by coming back in April to win in Oakland that snapped the Warriors’ home win streak at a league-record 54 games.

Those memories almost certainly will be in the back of the minds of members of both teams when they meet Friday night at TD Garden.

The Warriors (9-2) enter the second game of a four-game road trip seeking their sixth consecutive victory, while the Celtics (6-5), who have encountered injuries to several key players, have yet to win more than two in a row.

The Warriors are coming off a 127-121 win at Toronto, while Boston’s last game was a 90-83 victory over Dallas.


Warriors by 7


Stephen Curry vs. Isaiah Thomas: Even when he was in Sacramento, Thomas always was pumped to face Curry. That won’t change now that their annual battles have been reduced from four to two. If anything, All-Star status may have given Thomas additional incentive to come at the MVP. The winner likely dictates the outcome of the game.


Warriors: C Damian Jones (R pectoral surgery recovery) is listed as out.

Celtics: C Al Horford (concussion protocol) and F Jae Crowder (L ankle sprain) are listed as out.


The teams split two games last season. The Warriors have won six of the last eight overall, dating back to the 2012-13 season.


1) The backcourts. Though Curry and Thomas will duel at the point, the Celtics are sure to give defensive ace Avery Bradley and maybe even Marcus Smart significant time against Curry. Klay Thompson has a height advantage over Boston’s top three guards. Will he be able to find soft spots in the Boston D?

2) The rookies. The Celtics stunned fans by using the third pick of the 2016 draft to take Cal product Jaylen Brown. The Warriors bought the 38th pick in the draft and with it acquired Pat McCaw. Both wings have gotten significant playing time, though, and could match up on occasion.

3) The bigs. With Horford out, Boston last week went with 7-foot Kelly Olynyk at center. He, too, is a legitimate stretch-5, making as many as five triples in a game. That could limit the floor time of Warriors big man Zaza Pachulia. It also would allow the Warriors to be even more willing to “go small.”

What if they don't win the title? Joe Lacob says Warriors 'looking at different options'


What if they don't win the title? Joe Lacob says Warriors 'looking at different options'

The Warriors were the No. 1 overall seed in the playoffs in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

That is probably going to change this season, as they trail the Rockets by three games (although it's really four because Houston has the tiebreaker) with 12 games to play (and only lead the Raptors by one game).

What does owner Joe Lacob think about his team right now?

“We’ve had our best team we’ve ever had this year,” Lacob recently told Mark Medina of the Bay Area News Group (read the full story here). “We have to go prove it on the court, but we have enough to win it.

"It doesn’t mean we will, but we are certainly set up to have the opportunity potentially to do that. That’s about all you can ask.”

Things can change in an instant and Lacob understands that.

That's why he's constantly discussing scenarios with Warriors GM Bob Myers and the rest of Golden State's decision-makers.

“We’ll build around that core until we decide maybe we shouldn’t," Lacob told BANG. "But right now it feels pretty good. These guys are all performing at a great level. We love them as part of our organization.

"I don’t really see doing anything major. But you never really know. We have to evaluate when the season is over. It’s very hard when you’re in the middle of it all to see it objectively.”

What happens if the Warriors don't win the championship this year?

We will leave you with this quote Lacob gave BANG.

“Maybe we will emphasize continuity. Or maybe we will make a big move. We’re looking at different options, given different things playing out in different ways.

"I think you should always be doing that.”

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

Pat McCaw will return vs Spurs; Draymond Green vs LaMarcus Aldridge


Pat McCaw will return vs Spurs; Draymond Green vs LaMarcus Aldridge

In 43 seasons battling the Spurs, only once have the Warriors swept a season series, a feat they will accomplish again with a victory Monday night in San Antonio.

Winning at AT&T Center will be a tough task for the depleted Warriors (53-17), who for the third consecutive game will take the floor with three of their four All-Stars -- Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson -- unavailable. Guard Pat McCaw, however, will be available for the first time in five weeks.

After the Spurs (40-30) lost nine of 11 games over a 30-day span and seemed to be fading from the playoff race, they’ve posted three straight wins and are very much in the race, despite the continued absence of star forward Kawhi Leonard.


Spurs by 7


Draymond Green & Co. vs. LaMarcus Aldridge: Aldridge is a load for any defender and has carried the Spurs this season. Expect the Warriors to stick to their routine when facing a single pivotal player and send a variety of defenders. Green is sure to be one of them. Others likely to take turns include Zaza Pachulia, JaVale McGee, David West and maybe even Kevon Looney. The Warriors will consider it success if they can keep Aldridge under 30 points.


Warriors: F Omri Casspi (R ankle tweak), G Stephen Curry (R ankle tweak), F Kevin Durant (R rib fracture) and G Klay Thompson (R thumb fracture) and listed as out.

Spurs: F Kawhi Leonard (return from injury management) is listed as out.


Warriors: 7-3. Spurs: 5-5.


James Capers (crew chief), Bennie Adams, Karl Lane


The Warriors won the first three of four meetings this season: 112-92 on Nov. 2 in San Antonio, 122-105 on Feb. 10 in Oakland and 110-107 on March 8 at Oakland. They were 1-2 against San Antonio last season and are 9-7 against the Spurs in the Steve Kerr era.


COOK’S ROLL: Two-way PG Quinn Cook was terrific in the last two games, scoring a combined 53 points on 21-of-30 shooting. That was against lottery teams. The Spurs traditionally make life tough for guards and will pose a much bigger challenge. If Cook stays hot under this pressure, the Warriors will be beyond ecstatic.

MCCAW RETURNS: The return of McCaw, out since Feb. 12 with a L wrist fracture, gives the Warriors a fourth guard and some welcome flexibility. Cook played 80 minutes in the recent back-to-back set, and Nick Young played 78. McCaw will be on a minutes restriction (less than 20) but can perform on or off the ball.

THE BENCH GAME: Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has virtually trademarked liberal usage of reserves; only San Antonio has had eight players score in double figures in three different games this season, and 13 different Spurs average at least 10 ppg. Their depth will be a problem for these very thin Warriors.