Posted on January 28, 2018, by Travis Pulver
The Boston Celtics are looking more like a potential candidate for the NBA Finals this season than the Cleveland Cavaliers. If that ends up being the case, then Saturday night’s game against the Golden State Warriors can be looked at as a preview of the Finals. While Boston fans will be happy to get there, they will undoubtedly be hoping for a better outcome then they saw Saturday night.
Boston used an early 8-0 run to take a 37-27 lead by the end of the first quarter. Kyrie Irving and Jaylen Brown paved the way with red-hot starts; Irving hit his first seven shots including three three-pointers and Brown hit his first four (including two three-pointers).
Irving didn’t end up missing a shot until the 4:16 mark in the second quarter.
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But Golden State was not about to let the Celtics run away with this one. They trimmed the deficit to four by halftime, 54-50, and took the lead after a Kevin Durant dunk made the score 59-57 early in the third.
By the time the fourth quarter rolled around, the Warriors had taken a seven-point lead, 80-73. But Boston was not going to let the Warriors take this one without a fight. They whittled away at the Golden State lead throughout the fourth. When Irving made a five-foot bank shot with 4:26 left in the game, Boston regained the lead, 93-92.
The score remained close over the next few minutes until Steph Curry took over during the final 1:45 of the game. It started with a 28-foot three-pointer that gave Golden State a 98-95 lead. He proceeded to score 13 of Golden State’s final 15 points. His four free throws in the final six seconds secured the win for the Warriors.
Final score—Golden State 109 Boston 105.
Steph Curry and Kyrie Irving put on a show for the fans. Curry had a great night from behind the arc (8-13; 16-24 from the floor) and led all scorers with 49 points. Irving also had a good night from three-point range (5-6; 13-18 from the floor) and led the Celtics with 37 points.
“The way he started the game tonight was pretty crazy,” Curry said after the game (ESPN). “We try to bring the best out of each other. Tonight was one of those nights, just a fun way to play.”
While it was a solid effort by the Celtics, it still resulted in their fifth loss in six games. It was the third win in a row for Golden State. The Warriors hadn’t lost twice during the regular season to an opponent from the East since Steve Kerr took over. With the win, the streak remains intact (Boston won back in November).
People are going to look at games like this as a potential NBA Finals preview. But Celtics guard Jaylen Brown is not going to let the talk affect his focus (ESPN): “Hey, I just focus on what’s in front of me, and I think our team focuses on what’s in front of us. That’s a long ways from now. We’ve got a lot better to get, and we’ll see when we get there.”
Warriors head coach Steve Kerr didn’t shy away from the talk in his post-game comments (ESPN): “These are always interesting games when you know you have a chance to be in the Finals, and you know kind of who the potential opponents are. You always play closer attention for that reason.”
Both teams will have obstacles to overcome to make it to the NBA Finals. But it will not be shocking to see the make it.
The Celtics will try to get back on the right side of the scoreboard when they play the Denver Nuggets Monday night. Golden State will get another day off before taking on the Jazz in Salt Lake City Tuesday night.