Stephen Curry tossed in 13 points in the final 1:42 against the NBA’s top-rated defense as the Warriors nipped the Celtics, 109-105 in Oracle.
With the game tied at 95, Curry’s ice-water three (nearby) over the outstretched hand of a switching Al Horford put the Warriors in front for good.
For the game, Curry shot an efficient 16 of 24, including 8 of 13 from 3-point range. He outdueled — slightly — Kyrie Irving, who shot 13 of 18 from the floor,
“We bring out the best in each other,” Curry said.
“This was a playoff type game,” he added. “This is what it’s gonna be like in April, May, and June.” Indeed, the Warriors hadn’t beaten the Celtics in Oracle since 2015. (The two teams only play there once a year.)
“It’s a show every time they play,” Shaun Livingston said. Doing some obvious #CavsCrackup trash talking, Livingston continued: “Obviously he [Irving] was the catalyst the last three years on that other team. He’s one of the best there is.”
The loss dropped the Celtics to 7-3 against the other member’s of the NBA’s “top 8.” (Golden State, Houston, Toronto, San Antionio, Minnesota, and Oklahoma City.)
Right now in the NBA, most teams would be happy to be considered in that mix of potential challengers to the Warriors Borg.
But game knows game, and the mutual respect was certainly flowing in the postgames. At this point in this team’s development, the Celtics still have to prove they can do it in May and June.
“Oh yeah. I’ve been going against him for the last seven years,” Irving said. “This special team that they have now, adding KD, you’ve seen how they’ve kind of transformed from the first year they won it to now being two-time champions. The bench, everyone. It’s always a high-level game.”
“They came to play,” Kevin Durant said. “That’s what high-level basketball players do. You see a matchup that will bring the best out of you.”
Al Horford (15 points, 13 rebounds, 2 blocks, 3 assists) played to a counting-stats standstill in his matchup with Draymond Green (15 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 blaocks). “Two studs,” Brad Stevens said. “It’ll be fun to watch the All-Star game when they go against each other again.”
Jaylen Brown (20 points, 6 of 9 shooting) held Klay Thompson (7 points, 3 of 12 shooting) relatively in check — another hopeful sign for Boston.
Terry Rozier brought his usual energy, but struggled offensively and defensively, putting up a -19 plus-minus in the box score. Rozier and Shane Larkin (2 for 8 shooting) struggled to make up for the absence of Marcus Smart.
Really like watchin Terry Rozier hoop…plays hard on both sides!
— Chris Paul (@CP3) January 28, 2018
“We missed some switches, and you just can’t do that,” Brad Stevens said of the team’s defensive effort on Curry. “He’s too good, and so probably we’ll go back and look at that and there’ll be two or three that maybe we could’ve controlled a bit better but it still doesn’t mean you’re gonna stop him.”
The Celtics could have used Marcus Smart, out with an accidental self-induced hand swipe. But they’re hoping to have the apologetic Smart back in about 10 days — in case, as Livingston put it, “we see them again.”
— NBA (@NBA) January 28, 2018
JB sets the tone 💪 pic.twitter.com/djpuMOPx1n
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) January 28, 2018
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) January 28, 2018