Jaylen Brown scored a team-high 26 points while Jayson Tatum added a double-double with 26 points and 12 rebounds, helping the Celtics cruise to a 110-88 blowout victory over the shorthanded Warriors at Chase Center on Wednesday night.
Marcus Smart added 20 points and 8 assists in one of his best games of the season, helping the visitors building a lead as big as 24 points in the second half against Golden State.
Jordan Poole had a game-high 29 points for the Warriors who only managed to score a season-low 32 points in the first half thanks to a stifling Celtics defense. They were also without Andrew Wiggins (illness) for the entire game and Steph Curry (foot injury) for the second half which left Golden State with limited scoring options against Boston’s top-ranked defense.
Four takeaways from the matchup as Boston began their four-game road trip on a winning note:
Heated emotions occur after Stephen Curry injury:The Warriors guard left the game with four minutes remaining in the second quarter and did not return due to a sore foot. Curry appeared to suffer the injury following a collision with Smart after the Celtics point guard dove for a loose ball by Curry’s feet. In the wake of the injury, Steve Kerr had some heated words for Boston’s starting point guard that lasted several minutes and spanned over a couple dead ball stoppages as he took issue with Smart diving near Curry’s leg. A closer look at the play on video indicates that it was nothing more than a hustle play by Smart but that did not stopped some heated emotions emerging on each side in the aftermath of the change. Boston took advantage of the added fuel by opening up a double-digit lead that went up to as much as 24 points midway through the third quarter.
Celtics lock down Warriors offense, especially in the first half: Boston has been the best defense in the NBA during the second half of the season and they showed why against one of the league’s best offense. Golden State scored a season-low 32 points in the first half as a swarming Boston defense made life difficult for all of the Warriors’ shooting during the opening 24 minutes. The hosts shot just 29.3 percent from the field and a putrid 4-of-24 from 3-point range as Boston hounded the likes of Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry (before his injury), with sharp switching and aggressive double teams. Without Andrew Wiggins (illness) in the lineup to provide secondary scoring, the Warriors were unable to overcome Boston’s length outside of a hot shooting third quarter from their reserves. The stifling early defense provided the visitors with enough of an edge to
Boston’s road success in Golden State continues: The Warriors have had one of the best home court advantages in the NBA over the past decade. The Celtics remain a tough out for the team no matter the season though. Boston’s win over the Warriors on Wednesday was their sixth win over Golden State on the road over the last seven seasons, giving them the best road record during that span by a landslide. The names have changed for Boston over the years but a gritty defense with good length has been a calling card for Brad Stevens teams during that span and it’s continued this year with Ime Udoka. Jayson Tatum, Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown have been the chief contributors during those years for the franchise, helping limit Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson from the big scoring nights that they normally get against opposing defenses.
Celtics pull into the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference:Two months ago, Boston was out of the play-in tournament in the Eastern Conference after losing an overtime matchup to the Knicks. After Wednesday’s win and a Bulls loss to the Jazz, Boston have pulled back into a spot for homecourt advantage after a sensational 23-7 stretch over the last 30 games. The team still remains within striking distance of the No. 2 seed (two games back of Milwaukee) but their ability to secure a win on the toughest game on the team’s road trip will steadily increase the odds that they will have a preferable first round opponent. Avoiding the likes of Philadelphia, Milwaukee or Miami in the first round is looking more and more like a certainty for Boston with the statement win.
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