Celtics

Irving, C's finish strong to top Warriors

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Irving, C's finish strong to top Warriors

BOSTON – This was the moment Boston Celtics fans had been waiting for. 

Tight ball game, a few ticks left on the clock against the best team in the land, and the game’s outcome in the hands of Kyrie Irving. 

He came to Boston to write a new narrative in what has been a phenomenal career already. 

CELTICS 92, WARRIORS 88

And did he ever deliver, scoring seven of Boston's last nine points as Boston pulled off their biggest win of the season, 92-88 over Golden State. 

Boston (14-2) extended their league-best winning streak to 14 in a row which will surely prompt some to see the Celtics as more than just a team off to a fast start but a team that could do the seemingly unthinkable at the start of the season - knock off the Warriors.

Kevin Durant had a chance to tie the game up but missed a baseline jumper that was rebounded by Al Horford. 

Horford, who had a double-double of 18 points and 11 rebounds, passed the ball up court to Jayson Tatum who was immediately fouled. 

He made both free throws with 6.7 seconds to play to secure the victory. 

Slowing down the high-powered Golden State offense (they came in averaging a league-best 119.6 points per game)  was among the many challenges the Celtics had to contend with Thursday night. 

Brad Stevens has seen Golden State bury teams in no time, and was determined to not see his crew suffer a similar fate, which is why he called a time-out early in the first after the Warriors took a 9-6 lead after Klay Thompson drained a wide open 3-pointer. 

Golden State soon began to put some separation between itself and the Celtics doing what they’ve done to most teams this season which is dominate play at both ends of the floor. 

Boston struggled to contain Golden State’s shooters while at the same time not capitalizing on the few opportunities to make the Warriors pay for the few mistakes they made defensively. 

It didn’t take long before this battle between the league’s best teams, started to show signs of a potential Golden State blowout with their lead peaking at 45-29 in the second quarter. 

But Boston responded with an 11-2 run sparked by strong play defensively and some timely shot-making by Jaylen Brown.

The Celtics continued to surge ahead and were well within striking distance as the half ended with Boston behind 47-42.

Brown finished with a team-high 22 points.

Boston appeared to have made it a one-possession game after an Irving driving lay-up was waived off due to basket interference.

Golden State once again pulled away early in the third quarter, seemingly on the verge of once again putting the Celtics in a major hole. 

And just like we saw in the first half, the Celtics scratched and clawed their way back into the game with Jaylen Brown leading the charge. 

Trailing 66-51, Boston closed out the third quarter with a 17-2 run with Brown scoring eight straight and a total of 10 points during the Celtics spurt.

After forcing a miss with 4.1 seconds to play, Stevens called a time-out in order to give his team a shot at going into the fourth with the lead. 

Terry Rozier got the in-bounds pass and dribbled up court before launching a deep 3-pointer that hit the side of the rim as time expired.

That was one of the few plays that didn't work for the Celtics down the stretch in a game that serves as the biggest win of the season and certainly one of the biggest for Stevens during his four-plus seasons here in Boston. 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Celtics draft big man Robert Williams in first round

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NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Celtics draft big man Robert Williams in first round

1:24 - A. Sherrod Blakely, Brain Scalabrine and Kyle Draper break down the Celtics' selection in the 2018 NBA Draft and are joined by the man who made the pick himself, Danny Ainge.

7:49 - The Nets and Dwight Howard have begun buyout talks, which means the veteran center could soon be a free agent. Michael Holley, Danielle Trotta and Luke Bonner debate if Howard would be a good fit in Boston.

11:59 - Brad Stevens fields questions from the media immediately following the Celtics selection of Williams.

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NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Ainge stays patient in draft by standing pat at No. 27

Ainge stays patient in draft by standing pat at No. 27

BOSTON – Danny Ainge went through his customary routine of making calls up and down the draft, looking for any and every opportunity to make a deal that would strengthen the Boston Celtics roster. 

And while he was open to getting a deal done and move away from the team’s late first-round pick, Ainge said he went into Thursday night’s draft intent on standing pat with the 27th overall pick that was used to select Robert Williams.

The past few weeks were spent by Ainge and his front office staff examining what the price would be for them to move up in the draft. 

That price proved to be too steep for Ainge’s liking. 

His assessment afterward?

“We were preparing for the 27th pick,” Ainge said. “We were preparing for opportunities to move up; not all the way to the top of the draft but somewhere in the middle and we were preparing for guys we didn’t like, and move back in the draft. It’s the same thing we do every year, prepare for any situation that comes up.”

But this draft felt different, in part because the Celtics were beginning further back than recent years in which includes Boston having the No. 3 overall pick in back-to-back drafts. 

And just like Boston seemed to get great value out of Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum from the last two drafts, they are hoping for continued draft success in adding Williams who at one point was considered a player with lottery (top-14) pick talent. 

“Robert will have opportunities to play, but that will depend on how well he plays, what he does,” Ainge said.

Williams’ head coach Billy Kennedy echoed similar sentiments.

“He’s a special talent,” Texas A&M head coach Billy Kennedy told Boston Sports Tonight. “He can do things some of the other guys in the draft can’t do.”

Which made staying patient and not aggressively trying to move up in the draft, a worthwhile decision for Ainge in Boston landing a player that they did not go into the draft anticipating would be available to them if they stood pat with the 27th overall pick.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE