Programming note: Celtics-Warriors coverage starts today at 4:30 p.m. with Warriors Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area (territory restrictions apply) and streaming live on Live Extra
OAKLAND – It has been two and a half months since the Warriors lost a home game, so the Celtics are challenging a stacked deck when they visit Oracle Arena on Sunday.
The Warriors (35-6) are coming off a win over the Kings that was highlighted by a spellbinding performance by Klay Thompson, who set an NBA record by scoring 37 points in the breakaway third quarter.
The Celtics (15-26) have struggled this season and had lost 24 consecutive road games against Western Conference teams before posting back-to-back wins this week at Portland and at Denver.
The Warriors will try to extend their franchise-record home winning streak to 19. They are 13-0 against Eastern Conference foes this season, becoming the first Western Conference team to hit that mark since the 1971-72 Lakers opened with a 19-0 record against the East.
Warriors by 15.5.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH:
Andrew Bogut vs. Jared Sullinger: Sullinger is listed as a forward but his size (6-foot-9, 280 pounds) and paint presence will force the Warriors to defend him with Bogut. Sullinger has been inconsistent but is capable of putting up points. He leads Boston with 11 double doubles.
Klay Thompson vs. Evan Turner: Another case of cross-matching that likely will go both ways. Both are 6-7, but Turner has point-guard responsibilities. Thompson will harass him on defense and force Turner to spent considerable energy on defense.
KEYS TO VICTORY:
1) Stay focused: The Warriors have gotten accustomed to blowing out opponents at Oracle. Staying on task, start to finish, should allow them to crush the Celtics.
2) Splash party: Only four teams defend the 3-pointer worse than Boston, and the Warriors have plenty of shooters to exploit the weakness beyond the arc.
3) Cut off the lanes: Celtics coach Brad Stevens urges ball movement and his team is surprisingly good at it. The Warriors can utilize passing-lane thievery to trigger their fast break.
Warriors 9-1. Celtics 4-6.
Celtics: C Kelly Olynyk (sprained right ankle) and G Marcus Smart (personal reasons) are listed as out.
Warriors: C Festus Ezeli (sprained left ankle) is listed as out.
The Warriors last season swept the season series (2-0) for the first time since 2006-07 and have won 14 of the last 18 meetings at Oracle Arena.