Celtics

Dubs seeing green: Warriors say Celtics pose biggest threat

Dubs seeing green: Warriors say Celtics pose biggest threat

The Golden State Warriors are the best basketball team on the planet. They are possibly the best basketball team of all-time. Two MVPs. Five All-Stars. The best shooter of all-time. One of the best pure scorers of all-time. The record holder for the most three-pointers made in a game, who broke the record previously set by the aforementioned greatest shooter of all-time. The list of accolades goes on and on for the two-time defending champions. 

So who do these Warriors "fear"? No one. 

Who's the biggest threat? That would be the Boston Celtics. At least that's what the Warriors think.

In a series of interviews with The Athletic's Sam Amick, Warriors players repeatedly mentioned the Celtics as their biggest threat to a three-peat.

Draymond Green, the Warriors' All-Star swiss army knife/emotional leader, immediately picked out the Celtics. "I just think with the tools that they have, and the way the game is set up today, with small-ball and all that stuff, Al Horford can switch onto guards. That would be their five in that lineup. And then obviously, you’ve got Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward, Kyrie (Irving), Terry Rozier, Marcus Smart, Marcus Morris."

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Green went on to praise Kyrie Irving, who knocked down the dagger in the 2016 Finals, and is a big reason why the Dubs don't have four consecutive championships. "Kyrie has been [to the Finals] and done that, and he’s going to embody that [spirit]. Kyrie is going to love that moment, to love being that guy that has been there and showing everyone else the way. And I think that’s what makes them a threat is that [reality that], yeah they have all the pieces, but Kyrie has the experience and I think that’s what makes them great."

Shaun Livingston, a 13-year vet and key bench piece, echoed Green's praise of Boston's depth. "With their young guys, they’ve got some forces, you know what I’m saying? They go one through 10. I mean Houston still is a threat, but you’ve got to throw that [Celtics] team in there. It’s the star power, and it’s the young depth. Cleveland had more older vets [when they beat the Warriors in the 2016 Finals], but they didn’t really have two-way guys [like Boston]. They’re the younger version of us... They pose a threat. Yeah, they pose a threat."

Kevin Durant, whose efficiency and scoring has actually gone up this season, listed the Celtics with the Rockets, Lakers, Thunder, 76ers, and Bucks as potential threats. If he had to pick one? It'd be Boston.

"They’ve got a deep team. They’ve got a collection of talented scorers where it’s going to be hard to switch guys on. They’ve got a big man (in Horford) who can facilitate like Draymond. They’ve got a great coach (in Brad Stevens), a great atmosphere, a great home court advantage, and they’ve got a lot of length. Those are usually [one of] the teams that give us trouble."

He went on to praise the importance of Kyrie Irving's experience and elaborate on the challenges of facing Boston.

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"Yeah, I mean [Kyrie's] the only veteran guy who has been through the grind of winning and losing the last game of your season in the playoffs. He’s the only one who has been through that. And those guys have been in Game 7s before, so I think that experience is going to help, along with Kyrie’s knowledge of playoff basketball. But I think they’re just young and spry and hungry. I feel like we’re the same way, but we’re just on a different – we’ve got all different experiences. We’ve experienced a little bit more than them, and I think that’s the only difference."

Durant continued, "You’ve got to play both ends of the floor at every possession (against Boston). Even when the scheme is to switch pick and roll, switch everything, you’ve still got to be ready for a scorer once you switch onto him. You’ve got to be ready for different actions. There’s a lot you’ve got to worry about out there. I think when you’re playing against a team that you know you can beat, you’re playing more so off of straight instincts, athleticism and talent, and a little bit of smarts. I think you have to use your smarts against Boston."

Steph Curry, whose numbers are blowing away what he posted in both his MVP seasons, mostly tip-toed around questions of "threats," but he spoke briefly on the Celtics after his dazzling 51-point performance last week. 

"[Houston is] not shy about saying that they’re trying to be built to beat us, and this and that, from their GM [Daryl Morey] on down, [and] we won’t see a Boston until we get to the Finals. I would assume that Boston would be a team that’s in there, because they do have depth, they have a nice kind of spread of versatile players that can kind of spread the floor and play-make and things like that."

The Celtics have played the Warriors nearly even in the last few years. Over the last three seasons, Boston is 3-3 against Golden State. Four years ago, the Warriors won both matchups, but by a combined eight points. 

The Warriors currently sit at 7-1, second in the West, and have the NBA's best offense. Boston is 5-2, good for third in the East, and own the league's best defense.

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Why Grant Williams gave out candles to Celtics staff and teammates

Why Grant Williams gave out candles to Celtics staff and teammates

Last month, Grant Williams' generosity was on display when he provided the Boston Celtics staff with a special gift.

The C's rookie gave out candles to media members, teammates, and employees throughout the organization to show his appreciation for their work. He also took to Twitter to express his gratitude.

Williams talked to NBC Sports Boston's Kyle Draper on Celtics Post Up about why he chose candles as the gift for his kind gesture.

"Candles, for me, they always put me in a great mood," Williams said. "They're relaxing. They can change your emotion after a long day. I think it's a small token of just showing appreciation and allows especially during the holidays to be able to go home and just have something where you say 'I feel appreciated.'"

A simple yet thoughtful explanation from the 21-year-old.

Williams has been impressive on the court as well as off of it this season. Of course, his 3-point shooting remains an area he'd like to improve. Especially if it means changing some of the nicknames he's been given by his Celtics teammates.

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Celtics Talk Podcast: Jaylen Brown proving the haters wrong

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Celtics Talk Podcast: Jaylen Brown proving the haters wrong

When Jaylen Brown first signed a four-year, $115 million contract extension with the Celtics this offseason, there were questions raised about the deal.

Is this too much for Brown? Would he be able to live up to the deal?

Did the Celtics make the right move extending him?

So far, the answer to the lattermost question has been a resounding yes.

Brown has been proving his haters wrong so far this season to the tune of 19.9 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 1.2 steals per game for the Celtics. And on the latest episode of NBC Sports Boston's Celtics Talk Podcast, A. Sherrod Blakely, Kyle Draper, and Chris Forsberg discussed Brown's performance and Forsberg noted what has led Brown to such a torrid start.

What's remarkable to me is that [Brown's improvement is] across the board. It's not like one thing that Jaylen did this offseason. It feels like he improved his ball-handling, he improved his vision. Like I thought he would come into the season and make a noticeable leap. But to not only be up at 20 points per game now, even more in this stretch without Gordon Hayward, but to be able to take Jimmy Butler off the dribble, hit him with two crossovers and then hit a 22-foot stepback, Jaylen Brown wasn't doing that a year ago.

I look at his stat line now, and I know I've joked about it in the past, but it's pretty close to Jimmy Butler. It's getting closer to Kawhi Leonard.

Forsberg would clarify that Brown isn't on that level yet, but he certainly is getting better.

In addition to the discussion about Brown, the podcast crew also talked to Grant Williams, who discussed the start of his rookie season as well as some entertaining stories about some of his new nicknames that stem from his 3-point shooting.

Hear more from Blakley, Draper, and Forsberg on the latest episode of "The Celtics Talk Podcast," which drops every Thursday on YouTube and the NBC Sports Boston podcast network.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Nuggets, which tips off Friday at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike & Tommy have the call at 8 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.