Celtics' fourth quarter run helps fuel 99-86 win over Warriors

Celtics' fourth quarter run helps fuel 99-86 win over Warriors

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.


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.

Jayson Tatum comes up big vs Paul George, Thunder

Jayson Tatum comes up big vs Paul George, Thunder

BOSTON – Jayson Tatum had another strong performance for the Boston Celtics, doing so against the Oklahoma City Thunder and Paul George, a player Tatum has acknowledged on more than one occasion he has looked up to. 

That admiration didn’t get in the way of Tatum delivering a big-time performance in helping Boston rally from six points down with 12.7 seconds to play, to knock off the Thunder 100-99.

Tatum tallied a double-double of 23 points and 11 rebounds. And doing so at 20 years and 17 days old, Tatum became the youngest player in franchise history to tally at least 20 points and 10 rebounds in the same game.

“It feels good,” Tatum said when asked about his first 20-plus point, 10-plus rebound game in the NBA. “But honestly, I’m just glad we won. That was a big win against a great team and it was fun playing out there today.”

Impacting the game on multiple levels offensively along with being a defensive and rebounding force are qualities often associated with George who became familiar with Tatum prior to last June’s NBA draft which is when the Celtics selected him with the third overall pick. 

“I reached out to him before he was coming into this draft and I got to talk to him,” said George, who had 24 points and a game-high 13 rebounds against the Celtics. “It’s an honor when you see young talent. I‘ve been inspired by many in this league so it’s great to inspire the younger generation in this league.”

And while Tatum may be young, he continues to prove himself up for whatever challenges await him. 

“We are going to keep throwing to the wolves and keep going to him in those moments,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens.

Boston closed out the game with an 8-1 spurt in the final 24.7 seconds, with Tatum either scoring or assisting on five of those points which includes assistant on Marcus Morris’ game-winner.

Tatum’s composure down the stretch comes from being influenced by many, including George who considers it “an honor” that Tatum holds him in high regard. 

“At the end of the day, us veteran guys want the younger guys to take the game further and advance much farther than what I was,” George said. “There’s going to be kids looking up to Jayson (Tatum) that are probably already looking up to Jayson (Tatum).”


NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Kyrie Irving getting second opinion on injured knee

NBC Sports Boston Photo

NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Kyrie Irving getting second opinion on injured knee

1:15 - A. Sherrod Blakely joins Gary Tanguay and Trenni Kusnierek to discuss Kyrie Irving getting a second opinion on his injured knee and what the Kyrie’s options are for the remainder of the season.

5:53 - Kyle Draper and Brian Scalabrine break down the Celtics stunning last second comeback win over the Thunder with multiple key players sitting out.

10:27 - Tom Curran and Jerod Mayo stop by Early Edition to play a game of Fill in the Blank that involves Gronkowski’s contract and the Patriots best offseason acquisition.