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Warriors vs Celtics: Will the Dubs shake their slow starts tonight?

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The Warriors will look to complete the season sweep against the Celtics tonight.

NBA: Golden State Warriors at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Before Saturday’s primetime matchup with the Philadelphia 76ers, Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr wondered if his team would get excited for anybody.

Judging from the effort and energy from previous games, the answer was a resounding NO! Even against Philly, it took the Warriors a torrid third quarter to overcome a 14-point lead plus Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant coming through in the clutch for the win.

Tonight, the Dubs are back at Oracle for another primetime battle against a formidable and dangerous Boston Celtics team in a potential Finals preview.

If there is any team that the Dubs respect, it has to be the Celtics, hands down. Given their history with Kyrie Irving plus the fact that the Celtics have played the Warriors tough, it’s pretty certain that there will not be a slow start at Oracle, and the team must not read into Boston’s recent struggles.

“There’s going to be some ups and downs throughout the season. That’s the nature of the game.” Kevin Durant told reporters at shoot around. “ You have a bunch of young players who have been through the struggles. They’re still trying to figure each other out . It takes more than half a year or a whole year to figure it out. They keep growing. What you see right now is not the finished product.”

While the desire to get off to a fast and solid start is there for Golden State, it is also a necessity. The Celtics are coming off of an embarrassing performance against the Rockets Sunday where they trailed by as many as 24 points before losing by 11, and they are looking to stun the Warriors at home.

It starts with defense

Going into tonight’s game, the Warriors are currently ranked 16th in the league in defense with a rating of 109.3. Non playoff teams like the Detroit Pistons, Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers have better ratings than the Warriors right now. Tonight, its up to Golden State to set the tone defensively. The biggest area that they must address is how to neutralize the Celtics’ pick and roll. Irving will definitely get DeMarcus Cousins in plenty of pick and roll sets, and it’s up to Draymond Green, et al to help defend.

Recently, Cousins expressed a desire to switch during games, but Cousin’s isn’t nimble or quick enough to execute it. On the other hand, Cousins also struggles in show and recover coverage. The best bet against Boston and beyond is help defense whenever an opponent tries a pick and roll.

Another Game, another opportunity for Bell

Yesterday, the Warriors listed Kevon Looney as out for the Celtics game, and he is listed as day to day with pelvic inflammation. So that means there’s another chance for Jordan Bell to establish himself as a regular in the lineup. In recent games, Bell has come up huge in different ways. Sometimes its defense and rebounding. Sometimes, it’s timely scoring and getting to the line. Regardless of the capacity, Bell is playing great for the second unit. Even if Looney was healthy, you could argue for Bell getting minutes over Looney because the Celtics are a matchup that caters to Bell’s strengths. His athleticism makes for a better matchup against Jaylen Brown and Jason Tatum than Looney. If he continues to play disciplined basketball, stops biting on pump fakes and being so block happy and switches better on defense, there would be no logical reason to keep Bell out of the rotation.