OAKLAND, Calif. – The Boston Celtics made more than their share of mistakes at both ends of the floor against Golden State.
And yet they go into the half trailing 50-46, well within striking distance of pulling off a second straight upset on the Warriors’ home floor.
Boston led 45-40 following a tough lay-up by Amir Johnson, but the Warriors picked up where they left off at the start of the game with solid defense transitioning into strong offense that propelled them to a 10-1 run to close out the half.
Golden State’s finish to the half was similar to how they began the game.
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 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 that has a lot to do with their undervalued depth that included big contributions in the first half from Andre Iguodala (9 points) and a productive five-minute stint by almost-a-Celtic JaVale McGee who had four points and three rebounds.
Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from the first half of tonight’s game between the Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors.
Always a marked man as soon as he steps in the building, Thomas had 11 points, all of which were scored in the first quarter.
Thompson did a really good job defensively while providing some balanced scoring to lead the Warriors. He had 13 first-half points, with seven coming in the first and six in the second.
It was an efficient first half of shooting the ball by Curry, which is not a good thing for the Celtics and their quest to pull off a second straight upset on the Warriors’ home floor. At the half, he had 12 points on 4-for-6 shooting.
He has struggled mightily shooting the ball since the All-Star break, so it was just a matter of time before he got it going offensively. Tonight seems to be Olynyk’s night, pacing the Celtics bench with nine points along with three rebounds and two assists.
His energy and solid defense were major factors in Golden State weathering a strong surge by Boston in the second quarter. At the half, the former Finals MVP had nine points and three rebounds.
He’s one of the better two-way players in the NBA, but you would not have known that by how he failed to get into a good flow in the first half. He had four points on 2-for-9 shooting in addition being part of a Celtics defense that allowed the Warriors starting backcourt to shoot a combined 10-for-18 from the field.