Boston Celtics pull off familiar script, pull off wild OT win over Golden State Warriors, 121-118
Following their six-game losing streak in the NBA Finalsthe Boston Celtics have developed a bit of a boogeyman al Golden State Warriors. With a chance to get some revenge for their postseason fate, the Celtics suffered a crushing road loss against the Warriors in early December, a deflating loss that derailed some of their momentum early in season, causing a streak of five losses. in six games with Boston.
Tonight, the Celtics had another chance. The boogeyman came to town and the Celtics finally beat them, flipping the script on a game that initially looked all too familiar to a remarkable 121-118 overtime victory.
Jayson Tatum filled the stat sheet, recording 34 points, 19 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals, but once again struggled to score efficiently against Golden State’s defense, shooting 9-for-27 from the field. Jaylen Brown, meanwhile, struggled in his return from an adductor strain, scoring just 16 points on 6-for-18 shooting, but connected on the game-tying 3-pointer to send the game into overtime. The Warriors were led by their usual trio of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Jordan Poole, who combined for 77 points on the night, but couldn’t keep the Celtics at bay down the stretch.
The rematch started with a strange offensive tenor. Neither team looked particularly coordinated on that end of the floor in the first quarter, as both opened the game shooting worse than 40% from the field. They basically shot each other, with the Celtics forcing the issue in the paint but sinking their jumpers, while the Warriors scored their first 12 points from behind the three-point arc to that Poole slammed home a dunk with just over six minutes left. play the quarter Golden State’s threes won the fourth, narrowly, and the Celtics trailed entering the second, 26-25.
Boston’s shooting slump didn’t extend this time, thankfully. After making just one three in the first quarter, they connected on three in the opening minutes of the second. The Celtics rallied with a 13-2 run to give themselves a moderate lead, but the play of a growing Thompson (20 points in the first half) prevented them from creating distance. With seconds left in the first half, Thompson knocked down a loose ball from Tatum off the dribble, and Curry made a half-court layup at the buzzer to keep the Warriors ahead at halftime, 55-54.
With the Warriors paring down their starting lineup, putting Kevon Looney in favor of Poole, the Celtics enjoyed a size advantage tonight and worked to exploit it. Horford and Williams III produced at a high level for much of the night, with the former doing increasingly rare work in the paint and the latter crashing the offensive glass and racking up second-chance points. Horford scored 20 points and blocked three shots, Williams III posted a 14-11-2 stat line and the duo grabbed a combined 10 offensive rebounds on the night.
The second half saw a quick turnaround in favor of the Warriors. The starting lineup continued to produce, while Tatum and Brown’s struggles showed no signs of letting up. Led by their starting lineup (the bench scored just 10 points), the Warriors steadily pushed their lead, going as far as 11 points as the quarter wore on. Aided by an increasingly dysfunctional Boston offense, the Warriors entered the final quarter with a seven-point lead, 89-82.
If the Celtics were going to mount a comeback in the final quarter of this game, it would have to start with the offense. The first few returns as the quarter began were… iffy. They kept looking bad, but the Warriors couldn’t extend their lead at all. Malcolm Brogdon connected on a 3-pointer with just over six minutes left in regulation, and suddenly the Celtics were down by just two possessions, 97-92.
After a timeout, that five point lead became just three as Brown put together a fast break single steal to record just his third made basket of the night. The Celtics forced another steal and Tatum got to the free throw line, and after converting on both, Boston trailed by just one point. With the game reeling, the Warriors responded with a 3-pointer by Draymond Green to take a four-point lead, and the two teams traded baskets in a frantic sequence over the next few minutes. The Warriors stayed within four with just over a minute to play in regulation, 104-100.
The final sequence of the game started with a 3-pointer by Horford, which he followed up with a block on the other end, although the Celtics were unable to capitalize. Tatum coughed up a layup to Poole on the next possession, which netted the Warriors a Curry layup on the other end. With 18 seconds left, Brown made his fourth shot of the game: a 3-pointer from the wing to tie the game at 106. Curry missed a 3-pointer by a tight coverage by Horford as time expired, and the match went to overtime. .
The Celtics opened the overtime period by scoring the first four points, but the Warriors quickly responded with five of their own as another ridiculous 3-pointer from Curry put them ahead 111-110. Brown had an answer, connecting on a double to put Boston back ahead and prompt a Golden State timeout with 2:14 left in the extra frame. From there, Thompson coughed up a layup off a Wiggins pass and the Celtics jumped: Horford hit another crucial three and the Celtics 115-111 with two minutes to play.
Fittingly, it was Tatum who hit the dagger. With less than 1:30 on the clock, he sized up Green and drained a 3-pointer, his fourth of the night, to put Boston ahead by seven. While a foul on a 3-pointer by Wiggins and a surprise 3-pointer by Donte DiVincenzo made things a little more spicy than they probably should have been, it was still enough to carry the Celtics the rest of the way, and they walked away with a particularly satisfying win.
The Celtics will then cross the border north, traveling to Toronto for a matchup against the Raptors this Saturday at 5pm EST on NBC Sports Boston.
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