San Francisco – The Boston Celtics continue to be a thorn in the Warriors side, especially when they play in the Bay Area. The Celtics 110-88 win over the Warriors was payback from their last meeting back in December. The last time Golden State beat Boston at home was January 2018.
The Celtics are inching back up in the Eastern Conference, they now hold the fourth spot. Boston has gone 7-2 since the All-Star Break, they’ve catapulted to the top with their top defense. Tonight that translated to suffocating the Warriors into shooting 37-percent from the field and 23-percent from behind the arc.
“There is a reason they’re number one in the league in defensive efficiency,” Coach Steve Kerr acknowledged. “They’re athletic, physical; they did a good job.”
Robert Williams III was the Celtics anchor on defense, he blocked shots and cleaned the glass with 9 rebounds. Boson’s physical play made it uncomfortable for Golden State, they pounded them on the boards 53-38.
Unfortunately this led to Stephen Curry’s foot injury in the second quarter which completely shifted momentum. Curry got tangled up with Marcus Smart with 4:09 remaining in the half, limped off the court and di not return. Smart ran over Curry on a loose ball and committed a flagrant foul. He finished with 3 points, 2 assists and 4 turnovers in 13:40 minutes of play.
Draymond Green explained the collision with Smart and Curry, “The most I can call it is ‘unnecessary’. At every level of basketball we are taught to dive on the floor and go after the ball, and that’s what Marcus did. I can’t call it a dirty play.”
Jordon Poole once again put the team on his back. He scored 19 points in the third quarter and had a game-high of 29 point. Poole was in a zone hitting 6-of-13 from arc and 10-of-20 from the field. With Curry out he didn’t have much help.
Klay Thompson was the only other player in double digits. He had 18 points on 24 shots which included missing 10-of-11 triples.
“We were able to get on a really good run closing out that third quarter”, Poole stated. “Draymond and Loon (kevon Looney) just told me to be aggressive and that’s all I really could do with Steph being out.”
Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown led the Celtics with 26 points each. Smart contributed 20 points and 8 assists. Payton Prichard added 10 points including some timely 3s that quelled the thoughts of a Warriors comeback. They nailed 47-percent of their shots, including over 37-percent from 3-point line.
Golden State seemed to be retooling with Green back on the court. James Wiseman will go back down to the G-League in a few days but will be available soon. Now the setback of Curry’s foot may thwart the Warriors hopes for an extended playoff run.
“It sucks, sometimes that is just how the cookie crumbles,” Green acknowledges. “It sucks for sure.”
Golden State was starting to gain momentum after a four-game winning streak and moving closer to a full roster. Now they have three days off to rest, regroup and bounce back before hosting the San Antonio Spurs this upcoming Sunday.
Photo by Brenden Anderson and Warriors/Twitter