Steph Curry and Kyrie Irving Put On a Show Last Night.
Picture: (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)
In a rematch of the game on November 16th, the Boston Celtics continued their West Coast road trip with a primetime match-up against the Golden State Warriors. Oddly enough, the two players who headlined last night’s game were not nearly as effective when they met in November. Steph Curry and Kyrie Irving are good friends off the court, and I think they get the best out of each other while on the same court. Go back to that Celtics win two months ago and Steph and Kyrie combined to put up only 25 combined points on 7/30 shooting, including 3/14 from deep. That was disappointing, and luckily for us fans, the two put together arguably their best performances of the season last night.
The Celtics got off to a hot start in this one, putting up a remarkably high 37 points in the first 12 minutes, all while outscoring the Warriors by 10. Unfortunately,things went downhill offensively after that. Consider this: the Celtics scored 105 points total, and 37 of those came in the first quarter. That means all they could muster over the next three quarters was 68 points. You figure with the way they play on defense that would be enough to pull out the win, but the Warriors are a different kind of basketball team. The Celtics failed to contain Steph Curry and that cost them.
We got a show out of it, but the Celtics defense did not benefit from that. I actually think they put together a solid performance on defense, it’s just that they let Curry do too much damage (and Marcus Smart likes to pick fights with picture frames). Kevin Durant was held to just 20 points, Klay Thompson was held to just seven, and the Warriors only shot 45.2% from the field as a team, which is about 6% lower than what they have averaged this season.
To recap more of this game, I thought I would name my three stars from this game, let’s give it a go:
Third Star: Jaylen Brown
Similar to his team, Jaylen Brown came out firing on all cylinders in the first quarter, racking up 14 points without missing a shot. After that though, only six points the rest of the game. He shot efficiently, but I felt like he was not used as efficiently as he could have been.
Second Star: Kyrie Irving
If the Celtics pulled this one off, I think I would have to make Kyrie the first star, because he probably would have been involved in the game-clinching play(s), but that’s not how it went down, and that’s why he’s the second star here. The 25 year-old seems to live for these big games, and he put together quite the effort. 37 points on 13/18 shooting (6/8 from deep), to go along with four assists and two rebounds.
First Star: Stephen Curry
Who else but Steph? Dude was unreal last night. Season-high 49 points, 66% from the field, 61.5% from deep, and some clutch play late in the fourth. It was the Steph vs. Kyrie show, and Steph ran away with it. The best point guard in the NBA, I would expect nothing less.
Some final thoughts to wrap this one up: The Celtics need help off the bench. When Kyrie needs a break, they need someone who can score points in bunches. Terry Rozier and even Marcus Smart have provided that spark at times, but it hasn’t been consistent enough. It’s time to go out and look for players who are on expiring deals who can score while coming off the bench. Lou Williams and Tyreke Evans are two players that come to mind with the trade deadline already less than two weeks away.
My second thought pertains to Jayson Tatum. The London trip seems to have taken a toll on the 19-year-old and it appears he has hit the figurative “rookie wall.” It makes sense, but it’s difficult to think of a way to rest him considering he has already taken on a vital role with this team.
Lastly, the Celtics wrap up their road trip with a visit to Denver, Colorado on Monday. Currently 1-2 on this trip, the C’s will need to pick up the win if they want to salvage anything from it. After listening to the post-game interviews from last night, I get the sense that these guys feel like they can lock in and go on another run. We’ll have to see how things go on Monday.