In what could be a preview of this year’s NBA Finals, the Boston Celtics fall to the Golden State Warriors, 109-105, at Oracle Arena Saturday night.
Al Horford returned to the lineup (concussion) after missing Wednesday night’s matchup against the LA Clippers. But the C’s were without Marcus Smart after suffering lacerations on his hand at the team hotel earlier in the week.
The Warriors’ Kevin Durant came into tonight’s game having back-to-back double-doubles.
The Celtics came out of the gate hot and went on an 8-0 run to take an 18-10 lead three minutes into the first quarter.
Through the first 10 minutes, Kyrie Irving had 14 points, shooting 5-for-5 from the field and 2-for-2 from three. And Jaylen Brown was shooting the lights out as well with 14 points of his own on 4-for-4 from the field, 2-for-2 from three, and he hit all four of his free throws.
All-Star VS All-Star:
At the end of the first, the Celtics led the Warriors 37-27, after shooting 62 percent from the field and 63 percent from three.
The Celtics didn’t start the second with the same fire and intensity as they did in the first. But that didn’t stop them from regaining the lead after the Warriors started the second quarter with a 10-0 run, tying things up at 37-37.
At the end of the first half, the Celtics led the Warriors 54-50, with the C’s out-rebounding the Warriors 26-19.
Irving from DEEEEEEEEEP!
The C’s got 13 points from the bench over 46 combined minutes in the first half, with Marcus Morris leading the way with 10 points.
Entering halftime, Irving led all scorers with 19 points and the sharp-shooting Steph Curry wasn’t far behind with 16 of his own.
Golden State started the third quarter the same way as the second with a 9-3 run to take their first lead at 59-57. And the run eventually reached 17-7, as the Warriors brought their lead to five points (67-62).
With less than three minutes to play in the third, Curry was out-scoring the Celtics 18-14, with the Warriors leading 78-68. He ended up finishing the quarter with 18 points.
Both teams struggled to score throughout the third, after combining for more than four minutes of scoreless basketball.
Heading into the fourth, the C’s trailed the Warriors 80-73. But with 4:44 to play, the Celtics brought it within one point. From this point on, each team traded baskets, with the Warriors eventually pulling away after the C’s missed five straight shots and Curry knocking down back-to-back baskets, including one from long range.
Al Horford finally broke the C’s miss-streak with a tight jump-hook, bringing the Celtics within three, with a little more than a minute to play.
Terry Rozier III gave the Celtics hope, after receiving an inbound pass from Morris and nailing a three on a tremendous catch-and-shoot move, bringing the C’s within back within one with 7.7 seconds to play.
Watch Rozier’s Quick Release:
After a series of free throws for both teams down the closing stretch, the Celtics eventually fell to the Warriors 109-105.
The Celtics gave up too many open shots, didn’t play enough help defense, and couldn’t string together enough consistency to pull off the win. But this game turned into a “must watch” duel between Irving and Curry.
Curry led all scorers with 49 points (16-24 FG/8-13 3PT) and five assists. Draymond Green had a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds. And Durant’s double-double streak came to an end with 20 points and nine rebounds.
Irving shot 72 percent from the field, finishing with 37 points (13-18 FG/5-6 3PT) for the Celtics. Jaylen Brown chipped in with 20 points on 6-of-9 from the field and Morris had 12 points off the bench. The team as a whole, shot 50 percent from three (14-of-28) and out-rebounded the Warriors by two.
Horford filled the stat sheet with 15 points, 13 rebounds, three assists, two blocks and a steal, leading to a double-double for the C’s big.
Rookie Jayson Tatum struggled throughout the game, finishing with only four points (2-9 FG/0-3 3PT) and five rebounds.
The Celtics will look to bounce back after losing five of their last six games Monday night against the Denver Nuggets.
UP NEXT: The Celtics (35-15) finish off their West coast trip Monday night against the Denver Nuggets (25-23). Catch the call of the game with Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell live on 98.5 The Sports Hub. Pre-game coverage begins at 8:30 p.m., with tip-off set for 9:00 p.m.
— By John ‘The Dude’ Hardiman, 985TheSportsHub.com