The Boston Celtics held the Warriors to 86 points Wednesday night and became the only team to beat Golden State twice at home in the last two years, 99-86. Given a full bid of health with Al Horford returning to the starting lineup tonight the Celtics gutted out a huge win over the team with the best record in the NBA on the road behind 25 points from Isaiah Thomas and a huge game from Kelly Olynyk off the bench with 17 points, 5 rebounds, and some tenacious defense. The team defense in general was exceptional, holding the #1 ranked offense in the NBA to 86 points, 44% from the field (20% from three).
Steph Curry and Klay Thompson combined to shoot 4 for 17 from downtown, both smothered by the Celtics on-ball defense. Even Thomas did his part doing a great job staying with Curry for long stretches of the game. The Celtics hung around well into the 4th quarter and then pulled away as they ratcheted up the pressure midway through the final frame to shut down the Warriors and ultimately pull away for one of their biggest wins of the season.
Things didn't start great for the Celtics, as the Warriors started the game on a 10-2 run as Curry and Thompson started the scoring for the Dubs. In fact, the Celtics didn't even get off a shot attempt after 2 full minutes of game time:
We've played more than 2 minutes and Celtics haven't taken a shot yet.— Adam Himmelsbach (@AdamHimmelsbach) March 9, 2017
The C's played a sloppy 1st quarter overall, turning the ball over 6 times, but Isaiah Thomas shouldered the scoring load with 11 points in the frame keeping them within striking distance heading into the 2nd (28-25, Warriors).
The Celtics 2nd unit plus Horford came out swinging in the 2nd quarter behind some solid defense and great ball movement on the offensive end. On 18 field goals in the first half the C's had assists on 15 of them, and they turned their great defense into some excellent transition offense:
Strength in Numbers 💪 pic.twitter.com/Z2klGetEmd— Boston Celtics (@celtics) March 9, 2017
Kelly Olynyk had perhaps his best quarter of the season getting it done on both ends of the floor with 9 points on 4 for 4 shooting with 3 boards, 2 assists, and a pair of steals. The Celtics took a brief lead midway through the 2nd but the Warriors got the crowd going again and closed the quarter on a 6-0 run to head into the break with 50-46 advantage.
Thompson and Curry led the Warriors with 13 and 12 points respectively, while Isaiah led the Celtics with the same 11 points he had from the 1st quarter heading into the break. We also got to witness this ridiculous move by Amir Johnson that I don't think even he thought he had in him. Ask and you shall receive:
The Celtics started the 2nd half off with a 5-0 run to retake the lead but the Warriors answered with a 6-0 run of their own. Just under 5 minutes into the 3rd Thomas buried a fadeaway 3-pointer to knot the score at 58:
Contested, off-balance 3 from the corner? No problem for IT! pic.twitter.com/PhWZemSKb0— Boston Celtics (@celtics) March 9, 2017
The next several minutes were a flurry of action back and forth, with energy running high on both sides. The Warriors took advantage of some long offensive rebounds turning them into 2nd chance points throughout the game but particularly in the 3rd quarter - they had 17 second chance points to the Celtics 5 with just under 2 minutes to go in the 2nd.
The Celtics took a 1-point lead behind two Marcus Smart free-throws with 17 seconds to go in the 3rd, but a Steph Curry three-pointer put the Warriors up 2 heading into the 4th (74-72).
How about this for a disparity in box score heading into the 4th: The Warriors had 13 blocks to the Celtics 1.
The Celtics yet again flourished behind the 2nd unit plus-Horford lineup and retook the lead early in the 4th, and with 6:12 to go in the game Jae Crowder buried a huge three-pointer putting the C's up 4 (83-79).
Crowder followed that up with another trey and then back-to-back steals by Avery Bradley capped off a 12-0 Celtics run putting them up 90-79 after a Golden State timeout with 4:39 to go.
After another Dubs miss Isaiah came back down and buried another three bringing the run to 15-0. Draymond Green ended the run with a three-pointer that prompted a sarcastic cheer from the Warrior crowd, but he followed that up with a bad offensive foul on his teams ensuing possession.
A dunk from Patrick McCaw with 2:53 cut the Celtic lead to nine (93-84), prompting a Brad Stevens timeout. The Celtics missed their first two chances on the after timeout play, but after pulling down 2 offensive boards they managed to kill some clock and finally get a pull-up jumper from Bradley to rattle home.
Isaiah stole a pass on the next Warriors possession and was immediately fouled - he buried the two shots and put the Celtics up 13 with 1:36 to go and the Warriors fans began to file out of Oracle Arena like it was on fire. Both teams would empty their benches and the Celtics would hang on to a 99-86 win that might just be their finest defensive performance of the season.
Photo Credit - Kelley L Cox/USA TODAY Sports
Follow Mark on Twitter: @MarkAL401
Mark Allison 3/09/2017 01:12:00 AM Tweet Edit