Boston Celtics vs. Golden State Warriors Preview (12/10/22): Prediction, Starting Lineups, Odds

The near-invincible Boston Celtics (21-5) travel to face the Golden State Warriors (13-13) in an NBA Finals rematch. Both teams are missing crucial two-way players, as Al Horford and Andrew Wiggins remain out. Robert Williams is almost ready to make his season debut, but the Celtics big man won’t play tonight.

Can the Celtics avenge their Finals loss? Odds, predictions, starting lineups, and key matchups are below.

Boston Celtics vs. Golden State Warriors Betting Odds

Despite Boston leaving a trail of slaughtered opponents, they are only slightly favored here. The spread is -2.5 Celtics with their moneyline at a decent -134. Golden State, meanwhile, owns a moneyline of +120, which means they must win 46% of the time to be profitable long-term. The over under is a massive 237 points – the largest total of the day.

Boston Celtics vs. Golden State Warriors Prediction

I’m gladly taking the Celtics at -2.5 here.

Boston is scorching hot from deep right now. They produce 1.21 points per possession on spot up opportunities and own a 41.6 catch and shoot 3PT% – both marks rank 1st in the NBA. Because defenders must swiftly close out or suffer a made three-pointer, the Celtics are exploiting their aggression by either cutting to the basket or driving to the rim with ease. As a result, the Celtics rank 4th in rim points per possession. Overall, Boston is 1st in half-court offense and Offensive Rating.

Meanwhile, the Warriors are 20th in half-court defense and 20th in Defensive Rating. When adjusted for pace, they allow the 8th most open+wide open 3PA – a startling revelation considering Boston’s shot creation and efficiency. To make matters worse, their best defender Andrew Wiggins is out. He’s a suffocating wing defender who would have been a game changer against Tatum and Brown. It’s now unclear who can guard Brown or Tatum – both have evolved to the point where I don’t believe Draymond has the capability anymore. In addition, Wiggins’ off the dribble scoring and catch and shoot proficiency will be missed for an offense that surprisingly struggles to consistently score.

The Warriors were exploiting the Celtics in transition during the Finals, but Boston owns the 3rd transition defense this season. Boston also has four elite defenders – Smart, Brown, Tatum, Grant Williams – to throw at Golden State, and they can switch everything, which somewhat counters Golden State’s motion offense.

The weak link for Boston is assuredly Blake Griffin, who gets the start with Horford out. His rim protection is poor, and he will struggle when Golden State lures him out into the high pick and roll. However, his offense isn’t completely diminished; he owns a 55/46/72 shooting split on 3.6 FGA per game. Don’t be surprised if the Celtics trot out a small-ball lineup of Smart, White, Brown, Tatum, Grant Williams.

Finally, the biggest advantage is Boston’s superb bench versus Golden State’s trainwreck of a bench. Brogdon, White, Pritchard, Hauser, and Kornet form a deadly offensive second unit that can easily overwhelm opponents through a barrage of three-pointers and crafty playmaking. On the other hand, the Warriors bench routinely blows leads, especially with Poole elevated to the starting lineup with Wiggins out.

Overall, Boston and Golden State own similar offensive ceilings. However, Boston’s defense and bench are vastly superior and grant them a sizable advantage. In addition, they will be extremely motivated to absolutely pummel the Warriors after the devastating Finals loss where the Warriors essentially snatched their soul. Grab the Celtics -2.5, and I would go up to -6.5 Celtics at +165 (DK) for an alternate spread.

Betting Trends

  • Celtics are 13-3 ATS in their last 16 games overall
  • Warriors are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games overall
  • Celtics are 1-4 ATS in the last 5 meetings
  • Celtics are 9-3 ATS in the last 12 meetings in Golden State

Key Matchups

Which team will win the positional matchups? Check out below for these vital battles.

Blake Griffin & Luke Kornet

The biggest question for Boston: Will Griffin and Kornet protect the rim at an average rate? That’s all the Celtics need, as their perimeter defense is stifling. Fortunately for them, Golden State ranks 24th in rim FGA frequency because they mostly rely on outside shooting. Also, it’s paramount that Griffin and Kornet hold their own on the glass and deny the Warriors second chance points; they are elite at converting offensive rebounds into open catch and shoot three-pointers. If Boston survives in this department, then it may not be close.

Jordan Poole & Klay Thompson

Poole provides tremendous value as a combo guard who can score in a multitude of ways, and Klay is comparable to a volcanic eruption when he’s hot from three. However, Klay frequently struggles with consistency now, and Poole is prone to careless turnovers. They must be in peak form because they are net negative players otherwise due to their porous perimeter defense. There is no doubt that Brown and Tatum will mercilessly hunt and shred these two, but they have the capability to throw brutal counterpunches if they are clicking offensively. If Poole and Klay wilt on offense, then the Celtics will demolish the Warriors.

Boston Celtics Starting Lineup

PG: Marcus Smart
SG: Jaylen Brown
SF: Jayson Tatum
PF: Grant Williams
C: Blake Griffin

Golden State Warriors Starting Lineups

PG: Stephen Curry
SG: Jordan Poole
SF: Klay Thompson
PF: Draymond Green
C: Kevon Looney

Key Injuries

Boston Celtics Injuries: Al Horford (O), Robert Williams (O), Danilo Gallinari (O)

Golden State Warriors Injuries: Andrew Wiggins (O), Andre Iguodala (O)

Braxton has been covering the NBA for Lineups since the 2022 season. He's worked with multiple collegiate coaching staffs regarding analytics and scouting, which has allowed him to understand the game on a deeper level. Braxton is also a contributor at Thunderous Intentions.

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