OAKLAND, Calif. — Sorry, LeBron James, but the NBA won’t have to wait until Christmas Day this year to see the first big East-West clash of conference titans. The big gift is coming early.

While the Golden State Warriors do play the Cleveland Cavaliers, their NBA finals opponent the past three seasons, on Christmas again this year, there is much more anticipation at the moment for Golden State’s Thursday night meeting with the Boston Celtics.

While the Cavaliers are scuffling along at 7-7, the Celtics are the runaway leaders of the Eastern Conference, having won 13 straight games. The Warriors, meanwhile, will enter TD Garden at 11-3 on a seven-game roll.

Warriors Coach Steve Kerr actually seemed to be a bit exhilarated to be cranking up the hype machine for a stout opponent other than the Cavs. He gushed that this should be a thrilling junket for his club with subsequent stops in Philadelphia, Brooklyn and Oklahoma City to follow up the Boston showdown.

“I’m really excited for this trip,” Kerr said Tuesday following the team’s final home practice. “Boston will be electric the way they’re playing, with that crowd. Obviously Oklahoma City will be emotional still, and it’s always fun to play in Philadelphia and New York. Basketball hotbeds, great crowds … it’s going to be a really fun trip.”

The Warriors might as well start the cross-country odyssey off with a bang, and this early-season meeting with Boston definitely fills that bill. Despite losing star free agent acquisition Gordon Hayward just minutes into his debut and dropping their first two games, the Celtics have been scintillating ever since. They lead the league in team defense, allowing just 94 points per game, and have also limited opponents to the lowest shooting percentage (42.8) and fourth lowest 3-point percentage (32.1).

That makes for an intriguing test against a Warriors team that leads the NBA in offense and averages 119.6 points per game, shooting a gaudy league-best 52.0 percent overall and 41.3 from 3-point range.

Kerr doesn’t think Boston’s astounding defensive numbers are a fluke, and the Warriors will get a stern test from a deep, versatile roster much like his own under highly regarded young coach Brad Stevens.

He also believes this could be the beginning of a long series of showdowns between the Warriors and Celtics.

“It sure looks Boston is the team of the future in the East,” Kerr said. “Their assets, their young talent, their coaching, and Kyrie (Irving) is amazing. That looks like a team that’s going to be at the top of the East for a long time to come. Whether their time is now or the future is to be determined, but they sure look like they want it to be right now.”

To be sure, Irving, the former Cavaliers star who is leading the team in scoring, is just leading, period. Many feel his all-around game has never been better.

“I just think it’s his team,” Kerr said. “In Cleveland he was such a dominant force but it was always going to be LeBron’s team. It just looks like Kyrie knows it’s his group and he’s thriving with that group of players around him.

“It just seems like the next stage in his development. He knew what he was doing when he decided to leave. I admire Kyrie. Obviously he’s been a thorn in our side for years and now he just happens to wear green.”