Boston at Golden St.
Time: 9:30 PM CT (TNT)
Spread: GSW -7
Odds c/o 5dimes
The Golden State Warriors have lost four of its last 10, but it still sits atop the Western Conference standings and is the prohibitive favorite in the West with the return of DeMarcus Cousins to round out its starting lineup with five All-Stars. Golden State leads No. 2 Denver by two games in the standings.
Cousins returned Jan 18 against the L.A. Clippers and scored 14 points in his debut on 5 of 11 shooting. He is still facing minutes restrictions, but that is expected after tearing an ACL and rehabbing for the better part of 12 months. Cousins eventually should give the Warriors a needed interior presence on both ends of the court. While he has been maligned over his career for his attitude and behavior, perhaps being on a true winning team will bring some sort of Renaissance for the center. Cousins has averaged 21.5 points and 11 rebounds over his 10-year NBA career and is widely regarded as one of the most skilled and best stretch-5s in the business. Adding a weapon like that to Golden State should only transform the Warriors into a more unbeatable team as he rounds into shape.
It certainly should strike a little fear into teams to imagine what this team can do with a healthy roster. Stephen Curry is turning in an MVP caliber season with his 29.3 points, 5.2 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game, and Kevin Durant is still the most efficient scorer in the league. Thompson can get as hot as anyone in the Association, and Draymond Green’s versatility—hopefully— will tie it all together, as he is one of the best high post passers in the league.
The Boston Celtics have lost seven of its last 10 games to fall to 38-26 on the season, and it is seeded No. 5 in the East— if the playoffs began today, Boston would not have home-court advantage in the first round against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Boston still sports as deep and quality a rotation as any team in the East. Jayson Tatum has quietly improved his efficiency in his sophomore season and is averaging 16.3 points per game on 45.1 percent field goals and 37.2 percent three-pointers. The Celtics have seven players averaging eight points per game or better, and it has a solid 10-man rotation that will serve it well in the postseason, even if Brad Stevens tightens up the rotation to 8 or 9 players, as most coaches do.
Franchise player Kyrie Irving still lingers as a potential loss in free agency, as he will have to be re-signed, but he is having an outstanding season.
Irving is averaging 23.8 points, five rebounds, and seven assists per game while posting a team-best PER of 25.46. Tatum, Marcus Morris, Jaylen Brown, Al Horford, and Gordon Hayward all average double-figures, and the C’s still are not really getting from Hayward what it thought it might when it signed him as a free agent. Hayward was a borderline superstar with the Utah Jazz, but he still is trying to regain that form following his broken ankle he suffered in the opener last season.