Why Warriors Still Say the Celtics Are Team to Beat in Eastern Conference

Programming note: Watch Warriors Outsiders on Saturday night at 9:00pm, streaming live on the MyTeams app.

Back in October, many Warriors players went on record and said that the Celtics are the biggest threat to Golden State this season.

Even though Boston has underachieved so far, that belief has not changed.

As Anthony Slater of The Athletic writes:

In an informal poll by The Athletic this past week, spread across a large chunk of the Warriors' locker room and coaching staff, about 75 percent of those asked still pick Boston as the team to beat in the East and Boston as their most likely Finals challenger, should they get through the West for a fifth straight time.

The Celtics have won five in a row, but they are 30-18 overall and currently in fifth place in the Eastern Conference.

So why do the Warriors still view them as the biggest obstacle to capturing a third straight title?

"I think they're the most talented team in the East," Draymond Green told The Athletic. "Still trying to figure out rotations and shots and all the things it takes to figure out when you have a great team.

"People think you just put great players together and it works. It don't. They're still figuring it out, but I don't doubt that they will."

For Shaun Livingston, the main reason is due to that Kyrie Irving fellow.

"He really catapults them," the Warriors' backup point guard explained. "You put that experience, the level of talent from a mental standpoint, he's on another level. You categorize the superstar players based on what they do in the playoffs. So that's why he gets so much respect."

In the 2016 Finals, Kyrie averaged 27.1 points and scored 41 in Game 5. In the 2017 Finals, he averaged 29.4 points and shot 42 percent from deep.

Last year at Oracle, the six-time All-Star dropped 37 on the Warriors on just 18 shots. He makes the Celtics scary.

"One of the best scorers in the league (Kyrie) and a bunch of great players around him," Klay Thompson said. "They don't have the record they want, but they're still talented.

"Still got a bunch of guys who have done great things in the playoffs."

In case you didn't know -- over his last four games, Kyrie is averaging 30.8 points and 11.0 assists on 60.3 percent overall and 56 percent from 3-point territory.

The Warriors will have their hands full on Saturday night, and possibly in June...

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

Copyright CSNBY - CSN BAY
Contact Us