Lengthy winning streaks collide Saturday night when the Golden State Warriors visit the Boston Celtics in a nationally televised game.
Golden State has won four in a row, including two straight to open a five-game trip. Boston, meanwhile, is coming off a 3-0 Western Conference road swing that ran their winning streak to five.
The game is a rematch of a 111-107 Celtics win in San Francisco on Feb. 2. Stephen Curry had 38 points in the loss, but he missed his last two shots — a 3- and a 2-pointer — in the final 45 seconds to stall a Warriors comeback.
Curry has scored 32 or more points in each of his last nine games. He has averaged 41.5 points during Golden State’s current winning streak.
The two-time NBA Most Valuable Player got help from a couple of unusual sources in Thursday’s 119-101 win at Cleveland.
Two-way player Juan Toscano-Anderson hit 8 of 9 shots en route to a career-best 20 points, while Kevon Looney, starting his third straight game in place of injured James Wiseman, helped Golden State win the battle of the boards over the Cavaliers, matching Draymond Green’s team-high 10 rebounds.
Toscano-Anderson, who grew up in Oakland before starring at nearby Castro Valley High, has brought a youthful enthusiasm to the Warriors as his playing time has increased due to recent injuries suffered by Wiseman, Kelly Oubre Jr. and Eric Paschall.
“Every night is fun,” he gushed in the wake of Thursday’s win. “In the locker room, I ask Steph, ‘What are you gonna do tonight? You gonna put on a show tonight?’ I say those things because I truly am enjoying what I have going for myself right now.
“I’ll be able to tell my kids and grandkids stuff like that. So I just try to enjoy the moment.”
The former Mexican national-team player surely won’t catch the Celtics by surprise. He had 16 points off the bench in the earlier meeting, one in which the Golden State reserves outscored their Boston counterparts 36-26.
The difference in the game came from the starting units, with Jayson Tatum (27 points, nine rebounds), Kemba Walker (19 points, five assists) and Jaylen Brown (18 points, 10 rebounds) all having difference-making games.
All also came up big on the Celtics’ impressive march through Denver, Portland and Los Angeles (Lakers) to knock off three of the Western Conference’s top teams in succession.
Tatum led an improbable comeback against the Nuggets with 28 points and 10 rebounds, Walker complemented 21 points with seven assists in his head-to-head with Damian Lillard in the win over the Trail Blazers, and Brown did something Larry Bird never did against the Lakers — burn them for 40 points in Thursday’s 121-113 victory.
Brown, who was a standout at California in his one-year college career, was well aware of the Celtics-Lakers rivalry.
“The Celtics-Lakers matchup is a matchup that kids dream about,” he boasted. “So regardless of who’s on the floor, I’m excited to play. Having that energy with those Lakers fans back in the arena, we just wanted to come out and get a win.”
The Celtics have won four in a row against the Warriors, but only one of those wins came on their home floor.
–Field Level Media