A perfect 36-0 home record. A legitimate shot at the best regular season in NBA history.
The Golden State Warriors entered Friday with both impressive facts on their résumé, but apparently, no one told the Boston Celtics.
Aided by clutch performances by Isaiah Thomas, Jared Sullinger and Evan Turner, the Celtics went into Oracle Arena and did what no team had done since Jan. 27, 2015, shocking the Warriors in a thrilling 109-106 win.
The Celtics went blow for blow with the NBA’s best team for 48 minutes, forcing the Warriors into 22 turnovers and opening up a 10-point fourth-quarter lead. The Warriors came roaring back, but Thomas’ layup with 8.3 seconds left allowed Boston to come away with the historic win.
Stephen Curry committed a game-high nine turnovers and had just six points at halftime but came alive in the second half to finish with a game-high 29 points. Thomas led the Celtics with 22 points, while Turner added 21 and Sullinger tallied 20 to help Boston exact revenge for December’s double-overtime loss.
Golden State’s loss snapped a 54-game home winning streak and moved the team to 68-8 with six games left in its season.
Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Evan Turner, Amir Johnson, Jared Sullinger
Curry got off to a brutal start in the first quarter, committing five turnovers in the first 12 minutes of play. His teammates also had a pretty quiet quarter, as Klay Thompson missed the only shot he took and Golden State’s high-octane offense managed just 23 points.
Unfortunately for the Celtics, their offense wasn’t much better. Sullinger was the only Celtic to make a 3-pointer despite the team’s seven attempts, and the C’s also missed four free throws in the frame.
Boston nearly took a lead into the second quarter, but Curry got on the board with a 3-pointer before the first-period buzzer to give Golden State a two-point lead.
HOLDING DOWN THE FORT
The Celtics refused to go away in the second quarter thanks to a stellar defensive effort against the best player in basketball.
Boston continued to lock down Curry, holding him to just six points and seven turnovers in the first half. The Warriors committed an incredible 13 turnovers through the first two quarters.
On the other end, the Celtics finally started to pick it up a bit, as Turner hit a rare 3-pointer as part of an 8-0 run that put Boston in front.
The C’s led by two points at the break despite Thomas not scoring a single point in the first half.
Thomas and Curry both absolutely exploded during a third quarter that saw both offenses jolt to life.
Thomas caught fire to rack up 18 points in the third quarter thanks to several strong takes the hoop.
The Celtics led by as many as six points in the quarter, but as good as Thomas was, Curry was even better.
The Warriors point guard woke up after a cold first half, whipping the Oracle crowd into a frenzy with 21 points in the quarter. The reigning NBA MVP knocked down all six of his 3-pointers, including this ridiculous long ball from another planet:
Thomas and the C’s withstood Curry’s barrage, however, and owned a three-point lead after three quarters. Boston and Golden State combined for 73 points in the third quarter alone after tallying a total of 88 points in the first two quarters.
The Celtics came roaring out of the gates in the final quarter, as Marcus Smart’s first 3-pointer since March 20 capped a 9-0 run that put them up by 10.
But Draymond Green helped engineer Golden State’s comeback by scoring eight consecutive Warriors points, and a Curry layup with 1:29 remaining cut Boston’s lead to two.
That set up a dramatic finish, as Curry nearly picked off Marcus Smart’s pass to Thomas that led to his game-clinching layup. Curry had a chance to tie the game with a three at the buzzer but couldn’t connect.
PLAY OF THE NIGHT
Curry had his fair share of highlights, but Jonas Jerebko raised some eyebrows with this authoritative slam in the third quarter.
The Celtics’ five-game road trip finally will come to an end Sunday night, when they’ll take on the Los Angeles Lakers in Kobe Bryant’s final game against Boston. Tip-off at Staples Center is set for 9:30 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports Images