The Celtics are on a roll right now. They are coming off a 108-87 win over the Charlotte Hornets last night.
That puts our beloved Celtics at 6-1 on the young season, and at the top of the Eastern Conference standings. They won’t have a lot of time to celebrate their winning streak as they travel to San Antonio for a tilt with the Spurs on Saturday afternoon. With this in mind, let’s look at a few key factors in this particular matchup.
Will Enes Kanter Play?
If we’re going to be completely honest here, I’m starting to get a little bit worried about Enes Kanter. He has now missed six straight games with a left knee contusion. The strange part is that the other day, Kanter had supposedly “felt fine” and was aiming for a return last night. That didn’t happen! So now the question has to be this: is Kanter’s injury more severe than we all previously thought? Personally, I don’t know. It would be nice to have Kanter back to bring scoring and rebounding off of the bench. Daniel Theis and/or Robert Williams can handle the starting center role just fine for now. But in big games where the Celtics will need down low scoring, that’s where Kanter will be vital. We haven’t seen Kanter in much of a regular season light, with the exception of the opening night loss to the 76ers. If Kanter plays, that will help the second unit a ton.
Who Guards DeMar DeRozan?
DeMar DeRozan is an elite talent. We know this because he has been a thorn in the Celtics side when he was with Toronto and now in San Antonio. The matchups with DeRozan are going to be very interesting. My guess is that Marcus Smart will be handling a lot of the responsibility for DeRozan when he is on the floor. With the Celtics starting unit, they might start out with Jaylen Brown or Gordon Hayward on DeRozan. But everyone knows that Marcus Smart is special on the defensive end of the floor. He can guard anyone from a star point guard to a star big man. If the Celtics want to walk out of San Antonio with a win, they need to neutralize DeRozan.
Which Coach Will Shine?
This matchup highlights two of the better coaches in the NBA: Brad Stevens and Gregg Popovich. We know the stories with these two coaches. Stevens is still searching for his first appearance in the NBA Finals. Popovich has five NBA titles and three NBA Coach of the Year awards to his credit. It will be fun to see which coach outcoaches the other in this matchup. The Spurs are a step up from the Cavaliers and Hornets. So, this will be a good game for the Celtics to see if they can keep the winning streak alive and well.
This is sure to be a great game. The Celtics are playing extremely well to start the season. The Spurs are always a solid team under the guidance of Gregg Popovich. Hopefully the Celtics won’t start off slow against a good Spurs team. Otherwise, it can be a long night for the Celtics in San Antonio. We’ll see if seven is truly a lucky number for the Celtics come Saturday night.