Celtics fall just short in 109-105 loss to Warriors


Celtics fall just short in 109-105 loss to Warriors

OAKLAND, Calif. – The Boston Celtics got off to one of the best starts we’ve seen from them all season.

But the finish wasn’t quite what they were hoping for.

Golden State’s Stephen Curry broke open a 95-all game with five straight that set them up for a nail-biting 109-105 win.

Boston trailed 105-101 when the Celtics drained a 3-pointer to make it a 105-104 game with less than 10 seconds to play.

Following a Golden State time-out, Boston fouled Curry with 6.9 seconds to play.

Curry, who finished with 49 points, made both free throws.

And Kyrie Irving, who led the Celtics with 37 points, made the first of two free throws while intentionally trying to miss the second.

He missed, but the Celtics were unable to get the ball back and were forced to foul which essentially ended the game.

Boston seemed on the verge of folding, only to find a way flourish.

Trailing 88-81 with the shot clock about to go off, Daniel Theis drilled a 3-pointer to make it a four-point game.

After getting a defensive stop, Shane Larkin scores on a lay-up that made it a one-possession game, 88-86.

And then there was  Irving, continue to play at the highest of levels against the best team in the NBA, delivering one big shot after another to keep Boston within striking distance down the stretch.

As good as Irving was, Curry was even more impressive,  scoring a ton of points in a highly efficient manner.

Irving put the Celics on top for the first time in the fourth quarter witha hard, 1-2 Euro-step to the basket with 4:26 to play that gave Boston a 93-92 lead.

But a pair of free throws by Draymond Green 10 seconds later put the Warriors back on top.

Boston could not have scripted a better start to the game.

Not only did the Celtics shoot the ball at a ridiculously efficient clip, but they also managed to get Kevin Durant to commit two personal fouls in the first quarter which ended with Boston ahead 37-27.

But the second quarter began with the Warriors reeling off 10 straight points, fueled by strong play defensively and Golden State being the aggressor.

Even after Brad Stevens called a time-out with 8:47 to play in the half, it was going to take more than a stoppage of play to slow down the Warriors who were making an impact at both ends of the floor.

Boston finally got on the scoreboard in the second quarter when Marcus Morris converted a 3-point play with 7:46 to play that put Boston back on top.

And with Kyrie Irving back in the game, it didn’t take long for him to pick up where he left off in the first quarter when he scored 14 points on a flawless five-for-five shooting performance.

That shot was soon followed by another 3-pointer, leading to Steve Kerr calling a time-out with 6:38 to play in the half with Boston leading 45-38.

Golden State would continue to chip away at Boston’s lead which stood at 54-50 at halftime.

The Warriors continued to rally and went ahead 59-57 following a dunk by Kevin Durant for their first lead of the night.

They would take a double-digit lead in the third quarter which ended with Golden State ahead 80-73.


Irving, Horford give seal of approval to All-Star changes

Irving, Horford give seal of approval to All-Star changes

LOS ANGELES -- Kyrie Irving and Al Horford were on different teams for the NBA's All-Star game pitting Team LeBron vs Team Steph, so somebody was coming back a loser.

But considering how competitive the game was for longer stretches than usual, both players came away feeling good in a relatively close All-Star game that ended with Team LeBron edging Team Steph, 148-145.

LeBron James led all scorers with 29 points along with 10 rebounds and 8 assists and walked away with Game MVP honors for the third time.

Irving, who played for Team LeBron, had a near double-double with 13 points and nine assists along with seven rebounds.

And Horford, who came off the bench for Team Steph, had six points and five rebounds along with two assists.  

“This was pretty fun,” Irving said. “I think that we showcased that tonight with an incredible competitive spirit. The game was kind of getting away, but I think a few of us took it a little personal that we wanted to keep the game still competitive and at a high level. Fans and everyone across so many different countries want to see the best players in the world showcase their talent.”

Horford echoed similar sentiments about the game, which had a different format this year. LeBron James and Stephen Curry picked the two teams from the 22-player pool of players from both the Eastern and Western Conferences.

“Early, guys were making [defensive] plays,” Horford said. “Guys were making a point, they weren’t going to let it be a dunk fest.

Horford added, “Even last year and the year before, there was a lot of heat on how bad the game was. I felt like this game was, it was good.”

Irving, a five-time All-Star, also acknowledged how he and some of the players wanted to change the perception of the All-Star Game as being nothing more than a glorified lay-up line.

“I think we all took it kind of personal,” Irving said. “Individually we wanted to come out and be competitive. Last year it was (192-182), that’s just not as fun as communicating with guys that you don’t necessarily play with every single day, bouncing ideas off in the time-outs. It’s just that competitive fire that we all share.”

And then there’s the payday for winning.

Not only will various charities benefit from the game -- LeBron James’ charity of choice gets $350,000 because his team won and Steph Curry’s charity of choice gets $150,000 -- but the players on the winning team get a pretty nice check as well.

The winning team members each get $100,000 while the players on the losing team come away with $25,000.

“There was something that, something that we could look forward to if we got the win,” Irving acknowledged. “You know, they’ll probably bring up the cash prize, but . . . $100,000 to $25,000, I think everybody in this room would be doing the same things we were doing.”


LeBron James savors first opportunity to build NBA roster

USA TODAY Sports Photo

LeBron James savors first opportunity to build NBA roster

LOS ANGELES – LeBron James had been mum on the process he used in selecting Team LeBron … until now.

Following Team LeBron’s 148-145 win over Team Steph, James revealed how he went about assembling is roster which included Boston’s Kyrie Irving who asked for a trade out of Cleveland last summer.

“I took Kevin (Durant) first, then I took (New Orleans) Anthony Davis, and I followed that with Kyrie and DeMarcus (Cousins).”

While this year’s all-star game had been billed as the ultimate pick-up game, it was clear that James put a tremendous amount of thought into assembling his team akin to what an NBA General Manager might do.

“I know who I like watching and I had a draft board,” James said. “I had a process. Some of it went to … it almost went according to plan. A couple of them fell through, but I was satisfied and happy with all the guys that I got.”

A reporter later asked James where was this draft board.

“Ain’t none of your business,” said James, grinning. “You’re going too far, man.”