Warriors’ home win streak halted by Celtics
The Golden State Warriors’ record-setting home winning streak ended Friday as the Boston Celtics defeated the reigning NBA champions 109-106.
The Warriors had won 54 straight regular-season games on their home floor in Oakland, California, a record streak dating back 14 months — to January 27, 2015.
“It’s a weird feeling,” said Warriors star Stephen Curry. “We’ve just got to be able to move on from it. Maybe it’s a good reminder going into the playoffs we don’t want this feeling.”
The Warriors had won the last 18 home games of last season and had opened this campaign with 36 straight in front of fans in Oakland.
“We wanted to stop that,” admitted Boston’s Isaiah Thomas, who scored all 22 of his points in the second half. “As a team, we just settled down and got a win in a hostile environment.”
The Warriors, who suffered just their eighth defeat of the season, are still chasing regular-season history in the shape of the NBA record of 72 wins in a campaign set by the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls.
The Warriors, now 68-8, must win five of their last six games to beat the Bulls’ record.
– Intensity –
Warriors coach Steve Kerr had his criticisms of his players, but said after the defeat he congratulated them.
“They just won 54 home games in a row,” Kerr said. “What our guys have accomplished is incredible. I don’t know if people understand the intensity it takes and the work it takes to put together a streak like that.”
That said, Kerr said the Warriors’ execution was “bad.”
“You know, 22 turnovers that led to 27 points … We just weren’t able to get a rhythm until it was really late and then we needed to make every play and we didn’t do that.”
After Harrison Barnes drained a three-pointer to pull the Warriors within 107-106 with 10.2 seconds to play, the Celtics called a timeout and got the ball to Thomas, who snuck behind the Warriors’ defense for the game-clinching basket.
The Warriors still had two chances to tie, but Curry misfired from three-point range and although Golden State corralled the rebound Barnes was off-target with a desperation attempt.
The Celtics, who had taken the Warriors to double-overtime before losing in Boston on December 11, were coming off a 116-109 loss at Portland on Thursday night but kept pace with the Miami Heat in the battle for the third seed in the Eastern Conference. Miami defeated the Kings 112-106 in Sacramento on Friday.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens said the key was his team’s ability to hang on in the face of Golden State’s 36-point third quarter — keyed by Curry’s 21 points in the frame.
The Celtics scored 37 themselves in the period to take an 82-79 lead into the fourth.
“I thought the biggest moments to the game were us scoring consecutively when (Curry) scored,” Stevens said. “Because when he got going — that’s usually when they run away with a 10-0 or a 12-0 run.”
The Warriors maintained a 4 1/2-game lead over the San Antonio Spurs atop the Western Conference standings.
– James rising –
Eastern Conference leaders Cleveland blew a big lead but came through in overtime to down the Hawks 110-108 in Atlanta.
LeBron James scored 29 points with 16 rebounds and nine assists. He took his career points total to 26,718, moving past Oscar Robertson (26,710) into 11th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.
“It’s special to be linked with a guy like that,” James said of Robertson, a star of the 1960s and early 70s.
James, a four-time NBA Most Valuable Player and two-time NBA champion, started the season in 20th place on the scoring list.
He had passed Dominique Wilkins for 12th on Thursday night in Cleveland’s win over Brooklyn.
Elsewhere on Friday, the Dallas Mavericks and Utah Jazz boosted their playoff bids, Dallas with a 98-89 victory over the Pistons in Detroit and the Jazz with a 98-85 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
With matching records Dallas and Utah occupy the last two playoff spots in the West, one game ahead of the Houston Rockets.
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