Five takeaways: At their best, C's can beat the best
Five takeaways: At their best, Celtics can beat the best
OAKLAND, Calif. – Life was good for the Celtics following Wednesday’s 99-86 win at Golden State, the kind of victory that validates the confidence that these players have in one another.
But it also showcased the diversity of skills that the Celtics bring to the game and how collectively those talents can beat anyone – even Golden State.
While players agreed that the victory was a nice confidence-booster going forward, they know all too well that it won’t have nearly as much significance if they don’t go out and take care of business against lesser teams going forward.
Here are five other takeaways from Boston’s win over Golden State on Wednesday night:
CELTICS CAN REBOUND...REALLY
While Golden State still managed to out-rebound Boston, 46-45. Still, to be that close against the Warriors – or any team for that matter – is a victory in itself. But to go toe-to-toe with a Warriors team that ranks 11th in the NBA in rebounding percentage (.505) was huge for the Celtics, whose rebounding percentage (.481) ranks 27th in the league.
BEATING THE BEST WHEN THEY’RE BEATABLE
The Celtics have played plenty of games this year when they weren’t at full strength, with a decent amount of their losses coming about because of this. To their credit, this month they knocked off a Cleveland team playing without Kevin Love (knee) and J.R. Smith (thumb) and on Wednesday, they defeated the Warriors who were without Kevin Durant (knee). Boston took advantage of the path to victory being a little easier to go by with those guys out which is another sign of their growth and understanding of how to get the most from every chance they have at victory.
‘CONTRACT’ KELLY WAS BALLIN’
Kelly Olynyk, the soon-to-be restricted free agent, reminded us as to why the Brinks truck will be backing up into the Canadian big man’s backyard this summer. The 7-footer was as efficient and effective as we have seen him all season, delivering an impressive 17 points on 7-for-9 shooting, along with dishing out five assists and grabbing five rebounds, and basically helping Boston push its lead up damn near every second he was on the floor (his plus/minus was +29).
PLAYING THROUGH THE BIGS
The Celtics are a guard-driven team, but they run a lot of action playing through their big men. That was a huge factor in Wednesday’s victory over the Warriors. Boston’s primary bigs against Golden State (Al Horford, Amir Johnson, Jae Crowder Kelly Olynyk and Jonas Jerebko) combined for 16 of Boston’s 28 assists. And in terms of touches, three of the team’s top four against Golden State (Horford, Crowder and Olynyk) were bigs which as the Warriors saw firsthand, can cause big problems for a team defensively.
‘M-V-P’ CHANTS FOR THOMAS...IN ORACLE ARENA?
It’s not all that unusual this season to see Isaiah Thomas go to the free throw line and soon be serenaded with "M-V-P, M-V-P" chants. But in the home of two-time league MVP Stephen Curry and recent addition Kevin Durant, who is also a former league MVP? That might have been the most surreal moment of all that went down Wednesday night.