BOSTON — The Boston Celtics had the unenviable task of facing the Golden State Warriors on Saturday, but by most measures they performed well.
However, in pivotal moments of the game they made critical errors that ultimately led to their 115-111 loss at TD Garden.
It’s not exactly a well-kept secret that the Warriors thrive on forcing the opposition to pay for making mistakes. After such a narrow game, those mistakes were a point of emphasis for head coach Brad Stevens and the players alike.
Whether it was turnovers or missed wide-open looks down the stretch, the Celtics had a few plays they all wanted back.
“The whole game, the whole game I thought they just really capitalized when there was that opportunity to do so,” Stevens said. “And credit them for that. I mean, when those guys come down the court and you make even the smallest of error they take advantage of you.”
Added Al Horford: “You give them credit but I think that we also made some careless plays. I had a couple turnovers there, miscommunication, things like that. I have to be more (responsible) with the ball. Against that type of team you can’t make those mistakes, cause they’ll make you pay on the other end — and they did that (tonight). So the way that I look at it is that there’s a lot of things we can correct as a group.”
Kyrie Irving echoed Horford’s remarks, explaining what some of the lessons are that they have to take away.
“Just staying poised in certain situations, finishing plays, continuing to do the little things,” Irving said. “Obviously, going against the best you don’t have a lot of room to make mistakes. Just cleaning some of that stuff up, but we played pretty well. Had a few chances at the end but just didn’t go our way.”
Here are some other notes from Saturday’s Warriors-Celtics game:
— Jayson Tatum shouldered a pretty big load in the third quarter.
Trailing by two to begin the second half, the second-year forward posted 14 points in the third on 5-for-9 shooting, going 3-for-3 from 3-point territory in the first five minutes of the stanza. With the rest of the Celtics’ offense going quiet in the frame, particularly in the final few minutes, Tatum did a good job in helping keep the score within six heading into fourth.
— The Celtics are 5-1 in their last six games, and Irving’s success in that stretch is pretty impressive. With 32 points Saturday, Irving now has six straight games with 25-plus points. He’s averaging 30 points per game over those six contests.
— In addition to the 32 points, Irving finished his night with 10 assists, making him the first Celtics player to record three 30-plus point, 10-plus assist games in a single season since Larry Bird had five in the 1989-90 campaign.
That wasn’t the only milestone for Irving, either, as his second 3-pointer of the night was the 1,000th of his career.
— Saturday’s loss snapped a 10-game home winning streak for the Celtics and a five-game win streak overall.
— With the loss, the Celtics remain two games back of the Philadelphia 76ers, who lost to the Denver Nuggets earlier in the day, for fourth place in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics trail the Milwaukee Bucks by six games for first.
Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images