Absent five players, including four due to COVID-19 protocols, the Boston Celtics came up just short against the league-leading Golden State Warriors on Friday at the TD Garden.
Starting power forward Al Horford, as well as Grant Williams, Jabari Parker and Juancho Hernangomez all missed the 111-107 loss against Golden State due to health and safety protocols while top reserve Dennis Schroder sat out due to a non-COVID illness.
Still, Celtics coach Ime Udoka wasn't about to pin the setback, in which his team clawed its way to a fourth quarter lead, on who wasn't there.
"Shorthanded or not, we’ve got capable guys out there and we felt we defended at the proper level in the second half," Udoka said.
Boston, which fell back below .500 (14-15), trailed by as many as 20 against Golden State (24-5) before taking a two-point lead in the fourth quarter.
The loss of Horford in particular had a trickle-down effect for the Celtics, as Romeo Langford entered the starting lineup in his place but ultimately left the game due to a neck injury. In eight minutes of play, Langford still managed to record a minus-9 rating on 0 for 3 shooting.
The Celtics, unlikely to get any players back in 24 hours, are back in action Saturday night against the New York Knicks at TD Garden.