The Celtics edge the Warriors for their 14th straight win

The Boston Celtics and the Golden State Warriors met Thursday night to test each other in what might portend to be an NBA Finals preview, as the league's best defense squared off against the NBA's best offense.

The tilt opened with Klay Thompson losing the ball out of bounds, quickly followed by Al Horford and Kevin Durant trading buckets. The game stayed close in the early minutes, but a defensive lapse that got Klay open for a trey forced an early Brad Stevens timeout. 

Stephen Curry extended the lead to six by hitting a foul shot, then collecting his own miss, and Durant threatened to open up a gusher with another trip to the line before a Jaylen Brown dunk calmed the outburst momentarily, as did a wedged ball that gave Boston possession again.
Boston stayed in the game for most of the first, but sloppy play and cold shooting gave the Warriors a nine-point lead until Kyrie hit a trey with just under two minutes in the frame. Nick Young pushed the lead back to ten with a trip to the line and a trey as the Dubs set the pace well above Boston's comfort zone, the score at 28-18 to start the second quarter.
Aron Baynes got Boston on the board to start the period, and Jayson Tatum and Terry Rozier helped chip away at the lead with a trip to the stripe respectively and a trey from Terry, but the Warriors second unit quickly pushed the lead back to 11.
Continued sloppy play and poor shooting allowed Golden State to push the lead to 17 before Semi Ojeleye, Marcus Morris and Brown got themselves to the line, seemingly the team's only reliable source of offense as the half wound down.

Then, almost out of nowhere, Jaylen came alive, forcing multiple turnovers, blocking a shot, nailing a dunk, and draining a trey, and had Smart not knocked a ball back through the hoop, the team would have ended the half down three. Just the same, they erased all but five of the Dubs 17-point lead to close the half at 47-42 Warriors.
The second half began with Curry turning the ball over before Zaza Pachulia got the Dubs on the board with a jumper. Brown got himself to the line shortly after , but only made one, and a Thompson jumper and a Draymond Green trip back to the stripe pushed the lead back to ten.

A defensive slugfest continued to unfold, with Brown getting a steal, Green getting blocked, and Curry picking up a pair of fouls quickly despite a trey from Durant. Tatum managed to get himself to the line to convert for one of two followed by another Morris three to cut the lead down to nine with eight left in the third and Curry on the bench.

Klay nailed a trey off the timeout to erase the gains in an instant, and Green hit another to put the lead back to 15. Boston responded by going big, and Al stopped the bleeding with a jumper at just under the six-minute mark. Irving, clearly frustrated, took off his mask during play. A bucket by KD opened up the lead back to 17, but Aron got himself to the line on the next play, converting both to set the score at 66-51 with just over four left in the third.

Jaylen began to heat up again with a jumper and a trey to cut the lead to ten just second later. And then he hit another. Horford heated up right after, dunking it and getting back to the line to cut the lead down to three with just two left in the third. Yet another trip for Jaylen cut it to just one point. Tatum would give Boston its first lead in ages shortly after at 68-66, but Omri Casspi would tie it up on the next play.

The fourth quarter was close early, but the Dubs pulled ahead four on strong play by Green and Andre Iguodala. Tatum answered back, and a dunk by Horford tied it back up at 74 with seven left to play. The squads traded buckets before Curry hit a trey to give the Warriors a four-point cushion with just under five to play. Irving responded by stepping up his intensity, drawing contact and tying the game up again with just four to play.

Both teams went back to trading buckets and leads, with Boston giving the Warriors entirely too many second-chance opportunities until Klay hit a trey with just over a minute remaining, putting the Dubs up by two. Irving got to the line on the next play, hitting both to tie it up. With five left to shoot, Kyrie got to the line, converting both. Kerr called a timeout with Boston up two and 14 seconds remaining.
Durant missed. Tatum was fouled, and made both shots.

The streak is now at 14, and the Boston Celtics are BACK.

For more stories by Justin, click here.

Image: AP Photo/Elise Amendola
Follow Justin at @justinquinnn