Warriors vs. Celtics preview: Can Boston cool down Stephen Curry?

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Golden State point guard recently put together one of the greatest two-game scoring performances in the last five years, including a 54-point night against the Knicks. Can Bostons find a way to slow him down?

The Golden State Warriors and the Boston Celtics are heading in different directions at the moment, but they will be in the same place on Friday night.

The Warriors have lost nine of their last 11 games and their defense is ripping apart at the seams thanks to a barrage of corner threes from opponents, but Stephen Curry's star has never shined brighter on the NBA stage. They are highly visible in the public eye, but their game is a bit unsightly right now. Meanwhile, the Celtics have moved out of the limelight after Rajon Rondo's injury, but they are playing a quality brand of basketball that has led to eight wins in their last 12 games. Surprisingly, they are still worth a look out in the Eastern Conference.

The Warriors will need another strong game from Curry if they hope to get a win. He has been amazing recently. In the last two games he has scored 92 combined points, which is the most by an NBA player over a two-game stretch since Kobe Bryant scored 97 in two games during February of 2009. He drilled 11-of-13 three-point attempts against the Knicks in a sparkling 54-point performance on Wednesday night, and now he holds an interesting spot in NBA history and Madison Square Garden lore.

James Herbert of SB Nation sat down with the young star after his huge night at MSG, and here's some of what Curry had to say during the extended interview:

There's zones and there's zones in New York City. I was never in a zone like he was last night. To be in New York, in Madison Square Garden, and put on that type of show -- I've been in zones where obviously you feel like you can't miss, you just want the ball, you're going to shoot it from wherever you're at -- he's in that kind of zone but to do it on that type of stage, national audience, honestly I can't say I've ever felt that way so I don't know what it feels like.

The Celtics have seen their own offensive resurgence since Rajon Rondo left the lineup due to a torn ACL. In the 14 recent games without Rondo, Boston has an 102.6 Offensive Efficiency and a 97.2 Defensive Efficiency, which means they have outscored opponents by 5.4 points per 100 possessions. That mark is equivalent to the fifth-best efficiency differential any team has produced this year -- behind the Thunder, Hear, Spurs and Clippers.

It's a small sample size that likely won't hold up for the remainder of the year, but it's an intriguing trend nonetheless. Boston's offense and defense have both improved without Rondo around. Their turnover rate has gone down, and the assist rate has stayed the same. Weird.

Jason Terry, Avery Bradley and Courtney Lee have carried the load well so far. On Friday they will have to contend with Curry on the defensive end, but it won't be a walk in the park for the Warrior's point guard either.

The Celtics have been active with roster moves recently. They signed Terrence Williams to a 10-day deal earlier in the week, they are preparing to sign D.J. White and on Friday they added Shavlik Randolph on a 10-day contract. In a companion move, the team sent big man Fab Melo down to the NBA D-League to work on his game.

Game Time: 7:30 p.m. ET

TV: CSN-Bay Area; CSN-New England; NBA League Pass

Odds: Boston is a four-point favorite to win, according to Odds Shark. The over/under for the game is 198.5 points.

More in the NBA:

The sad song of Steph Curry regret

How hard were Stephen Curry's shots?

How Bradley Beal broke out

Basketball jerseys with sleeves? Adidas must be stopped

NBA Power Rankings: Can Heat overtake Spurs?

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