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.