On a night when the Golden State Warriors were held to a season low in points, Stephen Curry scored in single digits and the Boston Celtics attempted twice as many free throws, the reigning champs saw their seven-game win streak come to an end.
Head coach Steve Kerr took the 92-88 loss, which featured a pair of blown 17-point leads, as a teaching moment.
“I think it was a great game for us to understand that it’s not always going to be 2017 NBA — 125-121 — you’re going to run into teams like this that are physical [and] tough,” Kerr told reporters.
Draymond Green, who totaled 11 points, eight rebounds, five assists, three blocks and one steal, but also missed a wide-open 3-pointer with 39 seconds to go that would have broken an 88-88 tie, offered a simple explanation for the setback.
“They just outworked us,” Green said. “A game, 99-88, obviously shots didn’t fall, but when it came down to it, they came away with more loose balls than we did.”
The Warriors appeared set for yet another third-quarter blitz, beginning the frame on a 9-1 run and pushing the lead to 17, 66-49 at the 4:59 mark.
The hosts had different ideas, hitting the Warriors with a 19-0 onslaught to briefly go ahead, 68-66. Most surprisingly, 18 of those 19 points came while longtime Warriors rival Kyrie Irving was stationed on the bench.
Even as Irving shot just 4-for-16, the former Cleveland Cavalier ended up with 16 points.
After building up a 17-point lead midway through the second quarter, the Warriors held just a five-point advantage heading into the break after the Celtics closed the half on a 15-3 spurt. That run saw the Warriors fail to hit a field goal over the final 5:25 of the second quarter.
Curry, who totaled four points in the first half, closed out the night with nine points (3-for-14). With Klay Thompson tallying 13 points as he went 5-for-18, the backcourt combined to go 8-for-32.
Curry had to navigate foul trouble throughout the picked up his fourth personal just over three minutes into the third quarter.
“It’s just one of those nights,” Kerr said. “It doesn’t matter who you are — Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan — there’s going to be nights like this.”
2 for 1
While the Warriors attempted 19 free throws, the Celtics totaled 38. None were more critical than the pair that Kyrie Irving sank with 14 seconds to go, putting the Celtics ahead for good.
Green had been assessed the foul after Irving slalomed through the crowded lane.
“I just watched the tape. There’s no foul,” Kerr said. “Tough call.”
Green wouldn’t bite when asked the same question.
“Does it matter at this point?”
Former Golden Bear shines
Ex-Cal star Jaylen Brown connected on three triples and went for 22 points. Brown produced a highlight moment in the first quarter, stealing the ball away from Curry before punctuating the play with an emphatic dunk.
8 in 8
Omri Casspi, who didn’t enter the proceedings until the 1:22 mark in the third, grabbed a team-high eight rebounds in eight minutes. All eight came on the defensive glass.
A Swaggy start
Nick Young, who continues to cement his spot in Kerr’s rotation, knocked down a couple triples in the first quarter. Young, who’d played at least 20 minutes in each of the past three games, only played 10 minutes against the Celtics and didn’t hit a shot after his fast start.