Warriors view Celtics as both similar and a Title-threat
The Celtics may have started the season with some cobwebs attached, but they are now finding their way and possess a 5-2 record. The Warriors are two-time Champions and stand ready to strongly compete for another Title. But they do see similarities between the two rosters and have a healthy respect for Boston as legitimate challengers to a three-peat.
If you're looking for similarities between the two teams, don't look at advanced stats. Golden State is tops in Offensive Rating and Boston is close to the bottom. But the Celtics are at the top in Defensive Rating, while the Warriors are in the middle of the pack. And the two teams compete adjacent to different oceans. Here is what Draymond Green had to say about his team's Boston rival. All block quotes are via NBC Sports Boston Staff:
"I just think with the tools that they have, and the way the game is set up today, with small-ball and all that stuff, Al Horford can switch onto guards. That would be their five in that lineup. And then obviously, you’ve got Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward, Kyrie (Irving), Terry Rozier, Marcus Smart, Marcus Morris. ...but Kyrie has the experience and I think that’s what makes them great."
The Warriors remember all too well what Kyrie can do against them - such as his clutch three-pointer in Game Seven of the 2016 Finals. His shot broke the tie - put the Cavaliers in the lead - and kept them there. This is how Shaun Livingston sees it:
"It’s the star power (of Boston), and it’s the young depth. Cleveland had more older vets [when they beat the Warriors in the 2016 Finals], but they didn’t really have two-way guys [like Boston]. They’re the younger version of us... They pose a threat. Yeah, they pose a threat."
Kevin Durant had his own thoughts on the match-up:
"They’ve got a deep team. They’ve got a collection of talented scorers where it’s going to be hard to switch guys on. They’ve got a big man (in Horford) who can facilitate like Draymond. They’ve got a great coach (in Brad Stevens), a great atmosphere, a great home court advantage, and they’ve got a lot of length. Those are usually [one of] the teams that give us trouble."
The Warriors go 12-deep (double-digit minutes), while Boston goes with 10-deep. Both teams start a 6'3"/6'7" back-court. The Celtics have a bit more length in the front-court until 6'11" DeMarcus Cousins returns, something which is not imminent but seems likely in several months.