Celtics aim for rare sweep of Warriors
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OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Boston Celtics get an opportunity to accomplish something no other team has done in the Steve Kerr coaching era Saturday night when they go for a season-series sweep of the Golden State Warriors in a nationally televised game.
The Celtics scratched out a 92-88 home win over the Warriors in November, putting them in position to sweep the two-game season series on Saturday.
The Warriors haven't lost twice to an Eastern Conference team in the same season in Kerr's 295 games as Warriors coach, dating back to the start of the 2014-15 campaign.
In fact, only two teams -- Western Conference rivals Memphis and San Antonio -- have recorded consecutive wins over Kerr's Warriors in the same season, that coming last year.
But in both of those cases, the Warriors won a subsequent matchup to avoid a season-series sweep.
The Celtics (35-14) remain the top team in the East, but they're in far from their top form as they continue a four-game Western swing.
They are coming off a 113-102 road win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night. But that came on the heels of a loss the night before at the same site against the Los Angeles Lakers that was Boston's fourth in a row.
To add injury to insult, the Celtics lost key reserve Marcus Smart for at least two weeks after he cut his right hand taking a swipe at a picture frame in his hotel room following the loss to the Lakers.
Smart addressed Celtics fans via Twitter after returning to Boston on Friday.
"I want to take this time to express my sincerest apologies to my teammates, coaches, and most of all the amazing Boston Celtics fans," he wrote. "I'm embarrassed and disappointed in my actions. I feel like I let all y'all down.
"I promise I will learn from this situation and come back better than ever."
Smart, one of the Celtics' best defenders, played a key role in the earlier win over the Warriors. Boston's guards limited Golden State's dynamic backcourt duo of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson to a total of 22 points on 8-for-32 shooting in that game.
Curry and Thompson were on their game when they shot 18-for-27, including 12-for-18 on 3-pointers, in Thursday's 126-113 home win over Minnesota.
With Kevin Durant adding 28 points, the Warriors improved to 11-1 this season when Curry, Thompson and Durant have all topped 20 points in the same game.
Kerr warned afterward that the Warriors hadn't played their best game despite the offensive fireworks.
"Our whole focus this week was to win the possession battle and we gave up 12 more field-goal attempts than we got," he noted. "We lost that mind-set tonight, but our guys are so talented that they lit up the scoreboard with 21 (3-pointers). They can win games; they can win a lot of games without being totally dialed in and defending at a high level. That's what happened tonight."
The Warriors and Celtics have split the last two season series.
Updated January 27, 2018