Final, Celtics 94-86: Courtney Lee’s prognostication turned out to be correct. Stephen Curry did not erupt for 54 points at TD Garden. In fact, he did not even get halfway there, as Lee, Avery Bradley, Jason Terry and Jordan Crawford combined for a multi-pronged defensive attack that held Curry to 6-for-22 shooting.
Lee and Bradley, who battled foul trouble all game, were not even needed until very late in the fourth quarter, after the outcome was already assured. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett took care of business, Pierce on offense with a game-high 26 points and Garnett on the glass with 13 rebounds. David Lee also bounced back from his one-game suspension to nab 19 boards for Golden State.
The Celtics now get some rest before their next game, which is not until Tuesday in Philadelphia.
Fourth quarter, :51.2, Celtics 93-86: Interestingly, Rivers never went to his attacking defensive backcourt of Lee and Bradley down the stretch. He opted to go with what was working, leaving Terry and Crawford in to compete with Curry and Thompson.
The different look appears to have worked. Golden State’s backcourt did not know what to make of the frenetic Crawford or energetic Terry, even if the duo is only shooting 4-for-17.
Fourth quarter, 3:04, Celtics 87-76: The Celtics’ lead should be comfortable enough, but on three straight possessions they fell into that malaise they sometimes do when they hold a lead with a few minutes to go. Garnett and Terry missed one-and-done jumpers, and despite a defensive stop after the former, they cannot afford to get stagnant now. With a quick timeout, Rivers will assuredly remind them to play through the finish, since Thompson and Curry are just itching for a reason to get hot.
Fourth quarter, 5:29, Celtics 83-74: Garnett only has two fouls, but they have been cheapies that he is not happy about. His second came from slapping away a defender’s hands in the post, turning the possession over to Golden State.
Bradley should be nearing his return, at which point life will only get tougher for Curry, who has continued to struggle with the Celtics’ defensive stopper out. Curry is 4-for-18 from the field and 2-for-9 from three, although he is a perfect 10-for-1o on free throws.
Fourth quarter, 9:48, Celtics 75-66: The story of Jordan Crawford’s game is two steps forward, one step back.
The third-year guard, who spends most of his time on the court out of control, drained two big jumpers to help Boston keep its edge. The next time he touched the ball, though, he overthrew an ill-advised up-court pass to Wilcox that bounced out of bounds.
Still, the Celtics knew this was what they were getting. Beggars cannot be choosers.
End of third quarter, Celtics 69-62: Green was a double loser when he drove baseline, got whistled for an offensive foul and went down with a thud. He spent several minutes on the floor before finally walking off, and returned a short while later with a compression sleeve on his left arm.
While Green might have taken the worst of that fall, he came back with a tough fallaway bank shot to help extend the Celtics’ lead heading into the fourth. With Thompson finding his stroke — he was 4-for-9 for eight points in the third quarter — the Celtics are going to need every little contribution they can get.
Third quarter, 2:22, Celtics 62-60: Pierce has scored more than 23,000 points in the NBA, so it was understandable that he looked a little offended when nobody picked him up as he dribbled on the break. As the Warriors’ defense parted, Pierce took the opening and threw down a right-handed dunk to give Boston the lead.
With Bradley out, the Celtics have gone to a committee approach to slowing Curry. Terry and even Green spent time checking the prolific scorer, who has missed all four of his shots in the second half thus far.
Third quarter, 7:19, Warriors 56-54: Doc Rivers has a problem on his hands, and the 8-4 run the Warriors have put together to take the lead is only a small part of it. Bradley, who has been the main cog in keeping Curry under wraps, picked up personal fouls Nos. 4 and 5 in quick succession to force Rivers to put him on the bench.
Now it is up to Lee and Terry to help control Curry, as well as backcourt mate Thompson, who is also dangerous if left alone.
Halftime, Celtics 50-46: Pierce must have been watching Curry’s 54-point performance on Wednesday, because the Celtics forward looks ready to raise Curry a couple of points. Pierce entered halftime with a game-high 18 points, leading Boston by a wide margin — nobody else on the Celtics has more than Bradley’s eight.
Curry is right there, though. He has 16 points to lead the Warriors, shooting 3-for-9 against hounding defense by Bradley. The only trouble with the defense shown by Bradley and Lee thus far is that they have each picked up three fouls. That could be a problem, since Curry will only keep coming as the game goes on.
The Celtics were the clear aggressors in the first half, scoring 30 points in the paint (to GSW’s 18) and getting to the foul line 16 times, even if they only shot a hair above 50 percent from the charity stripe.
The one worrisome factor for Boston might be the Warriors’ 3-for-12 mark from beyond the arc. A volume-shooting team like the Warriors — they are first in the league in 3-pointers and 3-point percentage — will not misfire that badly all game.
Second quarter, 5:59, Celtics 37-32: The floor must be slippery, because Curry is making quite a few defenders slip and slide.
Curry made Lee stumble and then easily dribbled past Bradley with a behind-the-back move a few minutes later. To the Celtics’ credit, they have not let Curry’s fancy moves get into their heads. They continue to hold Golden State to just 41 percent shooting overall and just 2-for-8 shooting from downtown.
Second quarter, 8:28, Celtics 36-28: The Warriors appear to be Boston’s ideal kind of opponent, because they, too, treat the paint like it is hot lava. The Celtics have doubled up the Warriors on points in the paint, 24-12, a rare feat for a Celtics team that relies heavily on mid-range jump shots.
End of first quarter, Celtics 31-20: This has the makings of one of those nights where Pierce just gets unstoppable. It is still early, but Pierce went off for 13 points, three rebounds and three assists in the first quarter. He provided a wild highlight by gobbling up an off-target pass, spinning through the lane and banking home an and-one layup with English.
Nobody on Golden State matches up particularly well with the captain. Richard Jefferson is past his best days as a defender and Barnes is still a bit green.
First quarter, 3:32, Celtics 22-13: So far, the defensive backcourt is trumping the offensive backcourt. Bradley and Lee are right in Curry and Thompson’s chests, and Golden State is having trouble getting into its offense effectively.
The Celtics have five fastbreak points to the Warriors’ zero, with Bradley swiping the ball from Curry and converting an and-one layup.
First quarter, 5:38, game tied 11-11: The Celtics have managed to keep Curry, the so-called “best shooter in the game,” without a field goal so far. Everybody else on Golden State has gotten on the board, pretty much. Curry has just one point on a defensive three-second free throw, but 10 of the Warriors’ 11 points have been scored by someone other than the young sharpshooter.
As an amendment to the probable starters, Andris Biedrins, not Green, started in the Warriors’ frontcourt. We apologize for the mistake, but the official game notes listed David Lee as out, and we knew that was not going to happen after he missed Wednesday’s game in New York due to a suspension for tussling with Indiana center Roy Hibbert earlier in the week.
6:44 p.m.: Ladies and gentlemen, your Boston Celtics!
No, really. It is.
The team that lines up for warmups may look a little unfamiliar, since the Celtics have added four new faces since they departed for their five-game road trip. Shavlik Randolph, a 6-foot-10 center who has played for three teams in his five-year pro career, is the newest guy in the locker room. He joins D.J. White, Jordan Crawford and Terrence Williams as guys who will be wearing green for the time being.
Williams’ stay will end up being longer than anticipated. Originally signed to a 10-day contract, Williams has reportedly been extended through the end of the season, plus a non-guaranteed year next season. White, Randolph and Williams all chatted with media before the game and all three seemed exceptionally personable. Of course, you would be in a good mood, too, if you were playing in the NBA just a couple weeks after plying your trade in China.
The projected starters appear below.
8 a.m. ET: And you thought the Celtics had it rough. Stephen Curry and the Warriors arrive in Boston wondering what happened, as their designs on the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference have all but evaporated. The Warriors (33-25) have lost eight of their last 11 games, including a six-game losing streak that was snapped just last week, to topple to 5 1/2 games behind Memphis in the cherished fourth spot in the standings.
While the Celtics (30-27) have suffered no such collapse lately, they know all about falling into extended slumps. Having bounced back from two straight losses to begin their post-All-Star break road trip out west, the Celtics look to take care of business at home before hitting the road again. Four of Boston’s next five games are away from the Hub, as the Celtics continue their road-heavy stretch run.
Center David Lee returns for the Warriors from his one-game suspension for an altercation with Indiana’s Roy Hibbert on Tuesday, and Curry is also a little lighter in the pockets after he was fined $35,000 for escalating the incident.
Join us for updates and analysis from TD Garden during the game, which tips off at 7:30 p.m. ET.
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