BOSTON, Sporting Alert – The NBA schedule continues on Thursday night with two nationally broadcast games on TNT and TNT Overtime.
Boston Celtics, the league’s hottest team at the moment, will entertain defending champions Golden State Warriors at TD Garden at 8:00 pm ET.
The game will see Golden State with the league’s No. 1 offense going up against Boston and it’s top-ranked defense.
This clash also will pit the Eastern Conference early leaders against the early Western Conference frontrunners, and while the season is still very young, many are viewing the matchup as perhaps a preview of the NBA Finals.
In the night’s other clash, Houston Rockets and the Phoenix Suns will take the Talking Stick Resort Arena at 10:30 pm.
While the Rockets (11-4) are sitting second behind the Warriors in the Western Conference standings, and won six of the last seven games, Phoenix (5-10) is third from the bottom and dropped six of the last seven.
Without a doubt, though, the focus of attention will be in the early game.
Since losing their opening two games of the campaign, Boston (13-2) has won 13 straight to distinguish itself as clearly one of the favored teams for the conference title this season.
However, Kyrie Irving and Co. will face their stiffest test of the season against the Warriors (11-3), who have won seven games in a row and 10 in the last 11 overall.
According to ESPN’s Basketball Power Index, Golden State has a 58.6 percent chance of winning the game, despite the uncertainty about Stephen Curry.
Curry (right thigh contusion) is still listed as probable for the game, but the star guard says he’s hopeful he’ll be able to play.
Another star point guard hoping to feature on Thursday is Houston’s ball handler Chris Paul.
Paul has been out of action since his team’s opener on Oct. 17 with a bruised left knee, but he’s expected to return to the Rockets lineup against the Suns.
“There’s nothing like playing a game,” he told reporters, “so I’m excited about the process of it.”
Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni told reporters before practice in Houston on Wednesday: “He’s ready to go. I think he’s playing tomorrow, so we’ll see.”