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What we learned in Warriors' streak-ending loss to Celtics

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Steph Curry and Jayson Tatum hug aftergame

Steph Curry was aching and limping, while Juan Toscano-Anderson was bloodied and in the locker room as the Warriors wobbled their way toward the final buzzer.

And when it came, the Warriors (28-29) dragged themselves into the locker room with a 119-114 loss to the Celtics (31-26) at TD Garden in Boston.

Stephen Curry poured in 47 points -- his 10th consecutive game scoring 30-plus -- but it wasn’t quite enough against a Celtics team that outscored the Warriors by 11 in the second half.

The game featured two streaking teams that delivered to a prime-time national TV audience a performance representative of each team’s terrific play of late. Golden State’s win streak ended at four, while Boston’s extended its to six.

Here are three observations from a game sent the Warriors back below .500.

The Stephen Show

The numbers keep coming for Curry, and his determination on this night was visible from the opening tip. He was so hyped that he committed two fouls in the first six minutes.

Coach Steve Kerr, trusting Curry to calm down and heat up, got his wish.

Curry scored 14 points in the first quarter, adding 33 over the next three. He shot 15-of-27 from the field, including 11-of-19 from deep. In the game within the game -- essential for the Warriors to compete -- Curry kept pace with and arguably out-dueled Boston’s Jayson Tatum, who finished with 44 points.

 

Curry has averaged 39.1 points over his last 10 games, knocking down 68 3-pointers. The prime-time national TV audience got a look at what the NBA has been watching since Curry returned after sustaining a tailbone injury last month in Houston.

Second unit cooking

It wasn’t that long ago that the appearance of Golden State’s second unit meant it was time for the opponent to trim a deficit or extend a lead. Things have changed.

The group that opened the second quarter -- Jordan Poole, Damion Lee, Kent Bazemore, Toscano-Anderson and Kevon Looney -- inherited a nine-point lead (33-24) and raised it to 15 in fewer than five minutes. When Draymond Green and Curry returned, the Warriors had a 49-34 advantage.

A pattern is developing. Thursday night in Cleveland, the second unit, with Wiggins swapped in for Bazemore, inherited a three-point deficit and built an 11-point lead in five minutes. The night before that, in Oklahoma City, the second unit needed fewer than four minutes to take a four-point lead to 14 in the second quarter.

The key? Defense. That group has been tremendous on that end, often triggering the transition game that produces easier shots.

RELATED: Steph passes Warriors legend Mullin on NBA scoring list

Bumps and bruises

Curry turned his ankle in the fourth quarter and crumpled in a heap, slamming his hands off the floor. He walked it off well enough to continue but clearly was compromised.

A little more than a minute later, Toscano-Anderson’s attempt to save a ball headed out of bounds was successful but costly. He ended up diving head first over the scorer’s table, landing on metal and cement.

Down for several minutes, he sustained a laceration on his head and will be examined for a possible concussion.

An update on both is expected Sunday.

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