Taut and dramatic, with spectacular moments, the Warriors and Celtics spent 48 minutes Saturday night going after each other with such ferocity that the NBA can only hope it’s a preview of what’s to come in June.
After 14 ties and 21 lead changes -- and neither team able to generate a double-digit lead -- the Warriors prevailed 115-111 at TD Garden in Boston.
The Warriors (35-14) snapped Boston’s 10-game home win streak while extending their own overall win streak to 10.
Here are three takeaways from a game that made Steve Kerr the fastest coach to 300 career victories in professional sports history:
The Curry-Irving duel
The winner of the Stephen Curry-Kyrie Irving matchup always has major influence on the outcome, and this was no different -- but with a twist.
Though both had solid games, Irving’s three turnovers in the fourth quarter hurt Boston and it was Curry who put the game out of reach by making a pair of free throws with 6.2 seconds remaining.
Curry had 17 points at the half -- with four triples in the first four minutes of the second quarter -- and finished with 24 on 7-of-15 shooting from the field, including 6-of-12 from beyond the arc.
Irving had 19 at the half, but took two more shots to get them. He totaled 32 points for the game, on 12-of-27 shooting from the field, 4-of-10 from deep.
Curry’s efficiency helped tilt the game toward the Warriors.
Boogie’s Night, Part IV
Playing his fourth game as a member of the Warriors, DeMarcus Cousins submitted 15 points (4-of-9 shooting, 1-of-2 from deep), eight rebounds, three assists and three steals.
When Cousins picked up his third foul with 7:35 left in the second quarter, he took a seat and remained there until the second half. He opened the third quarter, but picked up his fifth foul less than four minutes later and went back to the bench.
Cousins was moderately effective when he was on the court, but foul trouble limited him to 23 minutes, during which he posted a minus-8.
Looney makes an impact
Back where he belongs on this team -- coming off the bench -- this was yet another game in which Kevon Looney was at least as valuable as he was when starting.
Looney was a team-best plus-13 over 20 minutes because he was a positive contributor on both ends, defending nicely and also dropping in some key buckets.
He finished with eight points (3-of-5 shooting), six rebounds, one assist and one steal.
His work was vital -- he totally outplayed Boston backup big man Arob Baynes -- insofar as Cousins was in foul trouble.