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Golden Opportunity

After their big win against the Chicago Bulls on national TV on Wednesday Night, the Boston Celtics have a golden opportunity to let the NBA know that they’re for real on Friday Night.  The Celtics will be facing the 23-0 Golden State Warriors.  The defending NBA champions have not only won every game, but they’re making other teams look like they don’t belong on the same court.  The Warriors have a +14.6 differential in scoring vs. their respective opponents.  Most of their games have been blowouts and they have the best player in the world in Stephen Curry.  Sorry, Lebron.  You’ve been surpassed, big guy.  Your time as the league’s best player is over.  The Celtics, at 13-9, are beginning to gain a lot of respect in the tight Eastern Conference.  They actually hold the top scoring differential in the Eastern Conference at +5.4.  On Friday Night, they have a tremendous opportunity to knock off the Warriors in front of their home crowd at TD Garden.

This is the biggest regular season home game for the Celtics since Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett wore Celtic green.  The Warriors are not only the talk of the NBA, they are becoming the talk of all of sports right now.  They have recently been compared to the 1996 Chicago Bulls and the 1986 Celtics.  Now this is taking it a bit too far.  This is certainly a great team, but they are not at this level.  At least not yet.  If the Warriors get to 72-10 like that Bulls team did and wins a title, we can have that discussion.  And let’s not forgot that the Celtics were 40-1 in the regular season and undefeated in the playoffs at home in the ’86 season.

In addition to Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green are both All-Star players and they have solid role players such as Harrison Barnes, Andre Iguadala, and Andrew Bogut.  Barnes is currently hurt and Thompson may miss the game on Friday with a sprained ankle.  This team is a fun team to watch in what has been an otherwise boring league for the past few years.  The Lebron-style one-on-one play is not ideal for the true basketball fans.  This team, on the other hand, is exciting.  They have great shooters, they run the fast break very well, they play as a team, and the are committed defensively.  They have everything you would want from a great team.  It’s a great team and a likable team.

So, now it’s time for the Celtics to step up.  It’s time to show the rest of the country that they’re for real and that they are in the discussion for a title.  Yes, a championship.  This team could win the East.  They are as deep as any team in the conference and they are just as committed to defense as any team in the conference.  They can contend in the East.  It’s time to make a big statement to the rest of the league.

Danny Ainge has done a tremendous job of rebuilding the Celtics.  When Pierce and Garnett were traded, it was believed it would be five years before the Celtics would be in the mix.  We’re in year three.  Not only are they in the mix, but they have a boatload of assets that could be used or traded to continue to build the team.  This team is on the brink of great things and it may happen sooner rather than later.

Celtics vs. Warriors on Friday Night at TD Garden.  Buckle up!  This could be an NBA Finals Preview.  It’s really not that far fetched.

This may be the game we look back to if the Celtics take the next step.

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