OAKLAND, Calif. – For the second straight year, the Boston Celtics were in a down-to-the-wire battle on the road against Golden State, the best team in the NBA record-wise.
And just like last season’s epic Celtics victory, success was again was on the Green Team’s side as they held off a late Warriors rally to escape with a 99-86 victory.
Isaiah Thomas had a team-high 25 points for the Celtics while Kelly Olynyk had 17 points, five rebounds and five assists off the bench. Jae Crowder had a near double-double with nine points and 10 rebounds.
- Highlights: Boston Celtics 99, Golden State Warriors 86
- Stars, studs and duds: Celtics played with 'poise and purpose' vs. Warriors
- Scal: 'Celtics stuck with hard defense and it paid off'
- Isaiah Thomas praises his teammates after win
- Kelly Olynyk: 'We turned it up for this game'
Meanwhile the Warriors (52-12) were led by Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry who had 25 and 23 points, respectively.
With the win, Boston (41-24) snapped a two-game losing skid and just as important, gave themselves a little breathing room as they try to hold on to the No. 2 spot in the East while keeping the heat on top-seeded Cleveland.
Golden State led most of the night, but the Celtics managed to stay within striking distance, seemingly waiting for the right time and opportunity.
It came in the fourth quarter courtesy of strong defense and efficient offense to the tune of an 18-5 run which gave Boston a 90-79 lead with 4:42 to play.
Golden State’s Steve Kerr had seen enough, calling a time-out three seconds later.
But by this point, the Celtics had come too far, had too big a lead to give this one away like they did against the Los Angeles Clippers earlier on this trip.
Boston got all the tough rebounds, contested shots and for the most part, did all that we have come to expect from the Warriors.
And the end result was what an even more impressive victory than the one they had earlier this month against Cleveland.
The end of the game was in stark contrast to how it began.
The Warriors quickly took control with a 7-2 run to start things off, a spurt capped off by a Klay Thompson jumper in the lane.
Boston fell behind by as many as eight points in the quarter before chipping away at Golden State’s lead which stood at 28-25 at the end of the first.
The Celtics didn’t take their first lead of the game until a Jaylen Brown lay-up with 7:13 to play in the first half put Boston ahead 38-36.
On Golden State’s ensuing possession, the Celtics forced a turnover and quickly converted that into a basket for Kelly Olynyk that made it a 40-36 game.
And just like that, Boston had a two-possession and a bit of momentum courtesy of their defense.
But the Warriors, even without Kevin Durant (knee), are still the odds-on favorite to win the West again.
And down the stretch in the first half, they were able to take the lead courtesy of a 10-1 spurt which in hindsight, was about as good a stretch of basketball they played all night.