Warriors edge Celtics with Curry game-winner
ORACLE ARENA — Historically the first game home after a long road trip isn’t a good one. No one is sure why, but fatigue, and getting used to the home crowd are speculated as reasons.
The Warriors were well aware of the trap waiting for them as Boston came to Golden State Friday night after the Dubs’ successful 6-1 East Coast road trip.
But the Warriors also had Stephen Curry.
Curry finished the night with 19 points, seven rebounds, four assists and hit the game-winning shot that put the Warriors up 99-97 with 2.1 seconds left on the clock.
David Lee, who was the Western Conference Player of the Week after an amazing performance on the road, said after a grueling road trip it was great to get the win:
“We knew that we were playing on fumes, but we have a break coming up so we knew we had to just get through this one. I’m very proud of our guys for finding a way to win.”
The Warriors opened with a 10-2 run capped off by a rare dunk off a fast break from Curry. Boston quickly turned things around, and after a missed Bogut dunk off an alley-oop pass from Curry, the Celtics climbed back taking a 28-26 lead in the opening minutes of the second period.
Once again, the Warriors had to bring their starters back in to clean up the deficit created by the second unit. Andre Iguodala scored eight of his team-high 22 points in the second quarter and Klay Thompson finally found his shot after going 1-of-6 in the first quarter.
But Jared Sullinger scored 14 of his 21 points in the second and the Celtics headed into halftime with a 49-47 lead.
With just over nine minutes left in the third, Curry hit a baseline three from behind the backboard to take a three-point lead.
Even with Boston ramping up their defense, forcing four turnovers, the Warriors were able to take a 72-67 lead into the final quarter thanks to nine third-quarter points from reserve Marreese Speights.
Warriors coach Mark Jackson said Speights was big in the game and was there to give the Warriors a boost when they needed it most:
“He rebounded the basketball, made shots, was aggressive on the offensive end, he battled defensively. He’s been playing very well.”
In the opening minutes of the fourth Draymond Green, who received nine stitches after an elbow to the mouth on the final play of the first half, hit a 20-foot jumper, Speights dunked, and Curry made a three while being fouled and made good at the charity stripe for the four-point play giving Golden State an 11-point lead.
With 9:30 left to play, Speights had words with Kris Humphries and was charged with a technical foul, which ignited the Celtics. From that point, Boston outscored Golden State 17-7 to make it a one-point Warriors lead at 89-88.
Jeff Green hit a three with just over two minutes left to again come within one point. Iguodala was fouled as he made a running jump shot but missed the free throw.
Boston came back immediately as Jordan Crawford hit a quick mid-range jump shot to keep the Warriors within reach.
Green hit rolled in a short bank shot with 11.6 seconds left to tie the game 97-97, but on the inbound, the the ball went to Curry who brought the sellout crowd to their feet, hitting a 23-foot pull-up jump shot over Humphries to take a 99-97 lead with 2.1 seconds left.
Jackson said they were prepared for the defensive switch from Boston and that he would take his chances with Curry against a power forward on the perimeter any day:
“Kris Humphries did a good job of trying to keep in front and Steph did what he does best, made a play and hit a big time shot.”
Boston had one final chance after a timeout, but Green lost his handle, bouncing the ball off his foot. Gerald Wallace recovered the lost ball and was forced to heave a long three, missing terribly as the final buzzer sounded.
The Warriors, now 25-14, have four days off before facing the Denver Nuggets (18-17) at Oracle on Wednesday.
The Warriors won their 11th game in their last 12 and are now 10-2 against the East. … The Celtics have now lost a season-long seven straight games, their longest losing streak since 2007. … The Warriors have now played in a league-high 16 games decided by four point-or-fewer and are 8-8 in those games. … Andre Iguodala totaled 22 points, seven assists and five rebounds, shooting 9-of-14, it was the first time Iguodala has totaled at least 20 points, five rebounds and five assists in a Warriors uniform and just his third 20-point game. … Andrew Bogut shot 2-of-6, snapping a league-high and career-long streak shooting 50 percent-or-better from the field at 26 games.