OAKLAND – The countdowns continue for the Warriors, as they close in on several key markers in the final two weeks of the regular season.
The defending champions will try to push to 55 their ongoing record for consecutive home victories Friday night, when the Boston Celtics invade Oracle Arena. The Warriors (68-7) also are seeking to reduce the magic number to clinch the No. 1 seed in the postseason, to three.
And, of course, there is the pursuit to get to at least 73 wins, thereby surpassing the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls, whose 72-10 record is the best of all time.
The Celtics (43-32) have had a very good season defined by highs and lows, often related to injuries. They’ve had seven win streaks of at least three games, resulting in cause for hope. They’ve also had four losing streaks of at least three games, creating anxiety among their fans.
Both teams rely on small lineups to provide energy, and both prefer to play at a fast tempo. Boston, however, has lost six of its last eight road games and is only 18-20 away from TD Garden.
Warriors by 12.
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Stephen Curry vs. Avery Bradley and Isaiah Thomas: Curry and Thomas are familiar from the days when Thomas was in Sacramento and relished playing against Curry. They’ll see plenty of each other. But Bradley, a shooting guard, as defensive demon and typically spends most of his time checking Curry. Bradley (on defense) and Thomas (on offense) must be superb for Boston to have a chance for the upset.
Warriors: C Festus Ezeli (L knee surgery), F Andre Iguodala (L ankle sprain) and F Kevon Looney (R hip inflammation) are listed as out.
Celtics: F Jae Crowder (rest) is listed as out.
The Warriors won the first meeting, 124-119 in double overtime, on Dec. 11 in Boston and are seeking their third consecutive season sweep of the Celtics. The Warriors had lost four of five prior to their current run.
“Last game was really big for us. I was really happy, actually yelling in the house as they pulled that game out. That was a really big win. People don’t understand how hard it is to go into Utah and win, especially on a back-to-back.” – Iguodala, on the Warriors’ overtime win over the Jazz Wednesday night