Durant, Thompson shine as Warriors beat Celtics

Durant, Thompson shine as Warriors beat Celtics

BOSTON -- From the moment he stepped on the floor, Kevin Durant was serenaded by a green-and-white clad chorus of boos every time he touched the ball.

The Celtics faithful were still hurting over Durant’s decision to spurn the Celtics and instead sign with the Warriors, which created a super power of potent offensive weapons unlike anything we’ve seen in the modern age of the NBA.
Golden State’s offensive firepower was on full display as they opened the second half with a 24-3 run that the Celtics had no counter for as they cruised to a 104-88 win.
The final score doesn’t do justice to how the Warriors (10-2) dominated the game, one in which they led by as many as 30 points in the third quarter.
Like we have seen from Brad Stevens-coached teams, the Celtics (6-6) made a late rally when the game was seemingly out of hand which resulted in a final score that was much closer than how the game as a whole was played.
Klay Thompson, who was reportedly on the trading block potentially headed to Boston -- a report that was denied by both the Celtics and the Warriors -- led all scorers with 28 points while Durant chipped in 23 points along with seven assists.
Indeed, Friday night was a lot different from the last time these two played on the TD Garden floor, a game that went to double overtime before the Warriors squeaked out the win.
But this game was all but over with more than six minutes left in the quarter and the Warriors holding down a 79-51 lead.
With a road game at Detroit Saturday night, the Celtics went with a number of reserves much earlier than usual, well aware that the only thing left undecided in this game was the final score.
The big concern for the Celtics and most teams that play the Warriors, is how do you limit a starting five in which four of them can light you up for 30 or more points on any given night.
They weren’t that lethal on Friday, but there was no getting around the fact that Golden State’s starting five absolutely destroyed Boston’s first unit by a decisive 82-51 margin.
Avery Bradley finished with 17 points, although a sizeable chunk came in the fourth quarter when the game was all but decided and he was the lone starter on the floor for Boston.  Isaiah Thomas led all Celtics with 18 points.
Of course the Celtics were once again without Al Horford (concussion) and Jae Crowder (ankle) who missed their ninth and eighth straight games, respectively.
An encouraging sign was that both players will travel with the team for Saturday’s game at Detroit.

Horford helps Celtics get back on track

Horford helps Celtics get back on track

Aggressive Al Horford was on the floor Friday night for the Boston Celtics, a good sign for a Celtics team that has been battered by injuries. 

As the oldest member of the team, the 31-year-old’s leadership has to become more example-driven as well as existing in the spoken word.

CELTICS TALK PODCAST  - Smart's importance to C's, dissecting the East

Horford was on point for most of Friday’s 92-83 win over Orlando, a game that was far more lopsided in Boston’s favor than the final score might indicate.

The 6-foot-10 forward/center had a near double-double with 15 points and nine rebounds. 

What was more telling was that Horford took a team-high 18 shots from the field, as clear a sign as you will find that Horford’s mindset on Friday was to attack Orlando’s defense early and often. 

And while it’s true that the Magic are one of the worst teams in the NBA, that doesn’t diminish the way Horford executed the plays called by head coach Brad Stevens as Horford played the role of primary scorer more often than usual, instead of being a major facilitator.

Having missed Boston’s previous two games, Horford was admittedly concerned if the lay-off might affect his conditioning. 

“Wind-wise I felt good,” Horford told reporters after Friday night’s win. “A little rusty on offense. But defensively I felt great. I felt our team came out with energy; just a good win.” 

A win that became a lot easier to get with Aggressive Al on the floor. 

 Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds in Boston’s 92-83 win over Orlando.



Terry Rozier: He continues to provide the Celtics with really solid guard play, with all-star guard Kyrie Irving (left knee soreness) missing. Rozier had a game high-tying 17 points along with seven rebounds and five assists. 

Greg Monroe: The third quarter was when Monroe really began to take over the game. He finished with 17 points, 10 of which came in the third. 

Shelvin Mack: Not a lot to cheer about for Mack and the Magic who once again struggled in so many phases of the game. But Mack still managed to score 16 points. 



Al Horford: Having missed the two previous games, Horford was back in full force on Friday. He had 15 points on 6-for-18 shooting to go with nine rebounds

Boston rebounding: The Celtics control of the glass began from the outset and never really eased up. For the game, Boston grabbed 55 rebounds compared to just 40 by Orlando. 



Fourth-quarter Celtics: The only real blemish on an otherwise impressive performance by Boston, was the team’s overall play in the fourth quarter. Boston was outscored 31-17 and turned the ball over 10 times in the quarter. 


Celtics snap skid with dominant win over Magic, 92-83

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Celtics snap skid with dominant win over Magic, 92-83

The Orlando Magic are one of the few teams already eliminated from playoff contention. 

And on Friday, it didn’t take long to see why.

CELTICS TALK PODCAST - Smart's importance, dissecting the Eastern Conference

The Boston Celtics didn’t waste any time taking control of the game and never letting up as they cruised to a 92-83 win.

Terry Rozier and Greg Monroe led the Celtics with 17 points each and Shelvin Mack had 16 points and seven rebounds for Orlando.  

With the win, the Celtics (47-22) snapped a two-game losing skid and improved their record since returning from the All-Star break to 7-3. 

Getting back on a winning track was just part of Boston’s motivation heading into Friday night’s game. 

With several key players out with injuries, the Celtics’ depth was once again on display from the opening tip to the final horn. 

In the first half, reserve guard Shane Larkin led the team in scoring with 10 points. 

And in the third quarter, backup center Greg Monroe was too much for the Magic to handle around the basket.

In the third, Monroe scored 10 of his 17 points off Boston’s bench. 

This was a game that the Celtics showed few signs of the kind of let-up we have seen them display against bad teams from time to time. 

But Orlando opened the fourth quarter with a 9-2 run that cut Boston’s lead down to 77-61 with 9:18 to play. 

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens had seen enough and called a time-out. 

Orlando was able to chip away a little more at Boston’s lead which peaked at 24 points but was down to single digits in the fourth which provided a glimmer of hope that maybe just maybe, the Magic could get back in the game.

But when it mattered, Boston made the plays in the game’s closing moments to secure the victory. 

For the Celtics, the goal on Friday night was two-fold: find a way to win and come away healthy. 

Boston found success on both fronts, a refreshing change the Celtics hope to do more of going forward. 

Marcus Smart underwent surgery on his right thumb earlier in the day, which is expected to keep him sidelined for 6-8 weeks which would put his return to the floor at the earliest, sometime near the end of the first round of the playoffs or early into the second. 

Daniel Theis underwent season-ending surgery recently for a meniscus tear in his left knee.

And Boston played without Kyrie Irving (left knee soreness), but he might back in the lineup for Sunday’s game against New Orleans.

Al Horford returned to the lineup after missing the previous two games due to an illness, and he didn’t disappoint in finishing with a near double-double of 15 point and nine rebounds.