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Taking on the two-time defending champions on their home floor is not exactly a tonic for what ails an NBA team.
However, Kevin Durant of the Golden State Warriors, who host the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night, believes the struggling guys from Beantown will be just fine.
Boston has dropped five of its last six games headed into the matchup with Golden State (44-19).
“They’re right up there at the top,” Durant told reporters when asked about the Celtics. “They’ve been losing a couple games, but they’ve got the top talent, some of the top talent on that team, so they’ll be fine once the playoffs start.”
Though the game against the Warriors will be the 65th of the season for the Celtics, Durant says Boston needs time to find its rhythm. Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward both sat out the Eastern Conference Finals lost to Cleveland last spring because of injuries.
“Everybody else probably thought they were supposed to be clicking and winning 65 games,” Durant said. “Because they had the talent and they went to the Eastern Conference Finals last year, Game 7, but it’s a new season. There’s a lot of teams that changed their rosters to play, to stack up in the East, so it’s a different team.
“So they’re still getting used to each other, getting Gordon Hayward back and Kyrie back, and another year of experience for the guys that went through the playoffs, so it’s going to be throughout the season.”
Boston enters the game standing fifth in the Eastern Conference standings with a 38-26 record.
“It’s just the nature of the game,” Durant said. “They’ve got a bunch of young players, they’ve got a couple veterans that have been through the struggle, so they’re still trying to figure each other out. It takes more than just a half a year or a whole year to figure it out. They’re just going to keep growing, so what you see right now is probably not the finished product.”
Though only 18 games remain in the Celtics’ regular season, Durant stressed patience in needed.
“You can’t accelerate [the process],” Durant said. “I like to compare a lot of people to relationships — would you like to accelerate a relationship that goes straight from dating to marriage in a month? [Building teams is] just the same thing.
“Over time you got to learn patterns of behavior, how guys like their routines, where they like the ball, all that type of stuff. It’s just from building every day on the basketball court, so it’s going to take some time.”