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How the Warriors Clarify Status and Identity in a Big Game vs. the Celtics

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Three games into the middle of the season, the Warriors still don’t know what they’re in for. Competitor or protester? So edgy band Raging Celtics hits in December? Or the apathetic crew that got slapped nine days ago by a bunch of Phoenix backups?

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Well, the serious hunt for the truth begins Thursday against the Celtics in Boston, Where grudges live forever.

it’s a Rematch of the 2022 NBA Finals, marquee game night, on national television. The sellout crowd at TD Garden will be as menacing as the law allows, with few greasy enough to ignore local penal laws.

“We know it’s going to be electric out there,” Jordan Paul told reporters after practice Wednesday in Washington, D.C., ahead of the trip to Boston.

The Warriors are smart enough to realize that despite the hype, this shouldn’t be seen at the moment as a preview of the 2023 NBA Finals.

“What we’re in is 22 and 22,” said head coach Steve Kerr, referring to Golden State’s record. “We’re .500. We’re not good enough right now to look at this as a potential meeting in the future. That would be great, we’d love to.”

“But we have to get better before we start thinking that way.”

Where are the warriors? Living in the shadow of a pile of inconvenient truths designed to humble you. They went on a five-game winning streak and a five-game winning streak. They were swept (0-2) by the Orlando Magic for the first time since 2013 and swept (0-2) by the Pistons for the first time since 2009. They’re 0-3 against the Suns – with each loss in double digits.

Kevon Looney hopes his teammates can take inspiration from last season’s Celtics. They were 22-22 over their first 44 games before rolling their way to a 29-9 record over their last 38 games.

“When you think about it, with what they’ve had to do in the past year to find their identity, run and finish second in the East, we have the same goal,” he said Wednesday. “There we are, several games away from getting a high seed, and a few games out of the mix.

“So, it’s our time this year. We’ve been talking about getting toys together all year, but now is the time to do it.”

If there’s a team that has the ingredients to impress all of Golden State’s spirit and venom, it’s the Celtics, whose 33-12 record is the best record in the NBA. They have a seven-game winning streak, MVP candidate in Jason Tatum and Coach of the Year nominee in Joe Mazzola.

Moreover, the Celtics have bitter memories of last June when they led 2-1 in the Finals but lost Game 4 to Stephen Curry by 43 points and never won again. In six days, they went from smelling 3-1 to making vacation plans.

On top of that, Boston has the extra chip on its shoulder that came with a 16-point loss last December 10 at the Chase Center.

While the motivational background is with the Celtics, the Warriors are striving to fix all of the things that have kept them at or around . 500 all season. slow beginnings. Live ball turnovers. defensive malfunctions. mental lapses Failing to maintain game plan discipline.

Propensity to foul.

Related: Kerr declares that Steph was ‘made to be the face’ of the Dubs franchise

It’s a lot, and it explains a lot.

“We have to improve in many areas,” Kerr admitted. “I have no doubt we can do it. (Thursday) with Boston and the next night against Cleveland, those are two big challenges for our team to try to make some strides and get ourselves back to that position where we’re one of the elite teams in the league again.

“We are not there now.”

When the Warriors step on the ground in the TD Garden, they will be designated underdogs. Win or lose, they’ll be one step closer to making their case clear when they get off the ground.

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