Celtics Drop the Warriors Despite Continued Offensive Struggles
The Celtics continued their winning streak in dramatic fashion Thursday night, holding the defending champion Golden State Warriors to 88 points in a 92-88 statement win. Jaylen Brown led the team in scoring, tallying 22 points to go along with 7 Rebounds, 2 Steals, and 2 Blocked Shots. This game meant more for Jaylen though, as his best friend Trevin Steede passed the night before the game. The Georgia native was not even going to play, but a call from Steede’s mother convinced him to do otherwise. And as it turns out, that was the right decision. Not only did Jaylen play his heart out to honor his late friend, but he was key in securing this win for the Celtics. In his second season, the former California Golden Bear has done nothing but impress me.
Back to the game, the Warriors came in as seven point favorites, according to OddsShark. The Celtics have heard this before though, and they ended up pulling off the upset.
One word I would use to describe this game would be “sloppy.” Both teams shot a combined 36.5% from the field and a combined 75% from the charity stripe. Not great numbers by any stretch of the imagination, and that’s the main reason neither team managed to score more than 100 points.
Another thing that I think was off the other night was the flow of the game. I obviously watch a lot of Celtics and Warriors basketball, and it felt like neither team could get into a consistent rhythm. The Warriors had their moments, going up by more than 10 points on multiple occasions, but they failed to put the Celtics away, which is something they can pull off against any other team. They built up a ten point lead through the first twelve minutes, but the Celtics managed to cut that deficit in half going into the break.
The player I had high expectations for going into this one was Kyrie Irving, and he was not at his best. The mask must have gotten to him too, because he ditched it sometime in the second quarter. Maybe he is still adjusting but Kyrie has been struggling with his shot so far, shooting a subpar 32.8% from the field over his last five games, including 4/16 from the field last night. He did make some clutch free throws though, and we’ll get to that later.
Fast forward to 4:59 left in the third quarter, the Warriors have just gone on a 19-7 run to open up a 17 point lead. Let’s take a look and see how the Celtics responded:
It’s just unreal. This team is never out of a game, within striking distance at any moment. They responded to Golden State’s run with a 19-2 run of their own, setting up for an exciting fourth quarter.
In the fourth quarter alone, the Celtics outscored the Warriors by four, and that was the difference in the game. A Klay Thompson three put the Warriors up by two with only 1:22 left. Five seconds later, Kyrie Irving tied the game again with a pair of free throws. More than a minute later, another pair of Kyrie free throws put the Celts up by two, and Jayson Tatum ensured the W with another pair of free throws eight seconds later. It was far from perfect, but 14 straight wins is 14 straight wins, this time over the best team in the Western Conference.
A few takeaways from this game include how bad Marcus Smart was on offense last night (0/7 from the field). Surprisingly, Smart was second on the team in +/- (15), trailing only Al Horford (+16). Speaking of Horford, he had another great game. Take a look at what had to be his best play of the night:
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) November 17, 2017
My last takeaway: The Celtics held Steph Curry to 9 points on 3/14 shooting, including 2/9 from deep. Curry also had the worst +/- of any Warriors starter last night. Definitely something the Celtics and their defense can be proud of.
From here, the Celtics go on a three-game road trip, starting with Atlanta on Saturday. The Hawks (3-12) and Mavericks (2-13) have been playing some really bad basketball, and the Heat have not had the best of starts (6-8), so it isn’t crazy to think that the Celtics can come back home next Friday riding a 17-game winning streak.