Why Warriors vs. Celtics NBA Finals matchup feels like a long shot

Why Warriors vs. Celtics NBA Finals matchup feels like a long shot

Programming note: Watch the pregame edition of Warriors Outsiders tonight at 6 p.m. PT, streaming live on the MyTeams app.

Before the season started, I picked the Celtics to advance to the NBA Finals. It was the trendy pick.

Out of a panel of 22 ESPN "experts," 15 of them picked Boston.

Even a lot of Warriors players went on the record and said the Celtics are the biggest threat to Golden State.

"I like the team out East in Boston," Klay Thompson said at Media Day.

But something just isn't right with the Celtics. On Thursday, they led the Lakers by 18 points late in the second quarter but lost on a Rajon Rondo buzzer-beater.

On Saturday, they blew a 28-point lead to the Clippers and ultimately lost by 11. To add injury to insult, Kyrie Irving strained his right knee and will not play on Tuesday night at Philly.

Speaking of Kyrie -- before the season started, he announced that his plan was to re-sign with Boston this summer. But he made headlines 11 days ago when he basically backed off that commitment and said, "I don't owe anybody s**t." 

That comment came the day after the Knicks traded Kristaps Porzingis, and the rumors were that New York's grand plan was to sign Kevin Durant and Kyrie in July

Earlier that week, reports surfaced that Anthony Davis wasn't targeting the Celtics in a trade because of growing uncertainty about Kyrie's future with the Celtics.

And who could forget Kyrie revealing to the media in mid-January that he called LeBron James to apologize "for being that young player that wanted everything at his fingertips" when they were teammates in Cleveland.

But back to that horrible loss to the Clippers three days ago -- Marcus Morris didn't hold back in comments after the game.

“I watch all these other teams in the league, they’re jumping on the court, all the stuff that looks like they’re enjoying their teammates’ success,” the forward told reporters. “And they’re playing together, and they're playing to win. When I look at us I see a bunch of individuals.”

That's definitely not good.

On Monday, Morris expanded on his damning comments to Jay King of The Athletic.

Media caught me at a great time. I was hot, I was hot as hell, and I spoke my mind as real as I could. I never pointed any fingers, I kept everybody accountable. So I just felt like it was the right thing to be said at the time. And things like that can help change the season. So hopefully we’re moving in the right direction after that.”

It certainly isn't too late, but things just might not come together in time. It doesn't help matters that the Celtics are gearing up to make a huge offer for Pelicans superstar Anthony Davis.

It's safe to assume that practically every player in that locker room is thinking about being shipped to New Orleans in July. That uncertainty can have a major impact on the locker room and chemistry.

Boston is currently in fifth place in the Eastern Conference and didn't make any moves at the deadline. The Celtics' top competition, meanwhile, improved their rosters last week.

The Raptors acquired Marc Gasol, the Bucks traded for Nikola Mirotic and the 76ers added Tobias Harris.

[RELATED: Which East power could potentially dethrone the Dubs?]

As LeBron James told Joe Vardon of The Athletic: “Those top teams in the East, yeah, they’re going for it ... they know they ain’t gotta go through Cleveland anymore. Everybody in the East thinks they can get to the Finals because they ain’t gotta go through me.”

To get there, LeBron has to go through the Warriors -- who are the clear frontrunners in the West. The Celtics were once the favorites in the East, but a lot has changed in the past four months.

Now, Boston has to change its direction in order to be playing basketball in June.

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

Klay Thompson shares moving Kobe Bryant tribute after memorial service

Klay Thompson shares moving Kobe Bryant tribute after memorial service

Staples Center held a beautiful tribute ceremony for Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna in Los Angeles on Monday, bringing luminaries from around the basketball world to pay tribute to one of the sport’s most iconic stars.

Among the current NBA players in attendance was Warriors star Klay Thompson, a Southern California native who grew up idolizing the Lakers and Kobe.

Klay paid homage to Bryant on Tuesday through social media, sharing several of his favorite photos with the five-time NBA champion.

[RELATED: How fatherhood, not career, made Kobe a man of all people]

Walnut Creek native Sabrina Ionescu gave a moving speech at the memorial Monday morning, then flew back to Palo Alto and helped her Oregon Ducks defeat the Stanford Cardinal, making some fitting history along the way.

Warriors vs. Kings live stream: How to watch NBA game online, on TV

Warriors vs. Kings live stream: How to watch NBA game online, on TV

As Warriors fans prepare for the reintroduction of Steph Curry, Steve Kerr's group is preparing to face the red-hot Kings. 

The Kings exited the All-Star break needing to rack up the Ws to get back in the playoff picture. After wins over the Memphis Grizzlies and Los Angeles Clippers, the Kings are starting to believe they can make a run at the eighth and final spot in the Western Conference. 

The Warriors will look to blunt their momentum Tuesday night at Chase Center. With Curry reportedly set to return Sunday, the Dubs would love to start getting on a bit of a roll before Curry laces them back up. 

[RELATED: Steph reportedly will return this Sunday vs. Wizards]

Here’s how you can watch Warriors-Kings on NBC Sports Bay Area:

When: Tuesday, Feb. 25 at 7:30 p.m. PT, pregame begins at 6:30 p.m.
TV channel: NBC Sports Bay Area
Live stream: MyTeams App