The Boston Celtics began their West Coast road trip with a hard fought victory over the Golden State Warriors, beating them by a score of 111-107. It wasn’t the prettiest game by any means, but a win is a win. Jayson Tatum led all Celtics scorers with 27 points, while four other teammates reached double digits. Steph Curry did all he could on the other side to keep the Warriors in the game, as he led all scorers with 38 points, but ultimately the Warriors were unable to compensate for they lack of big men.
The C’s stumbled out of the gate early on, as they had no answer on defense for Steph Curry and friends. Curry dropped 17 points in the opening frame, as the Celtics struggled to find their rhythm on either end of the court. The Celtics were able to flip the switch in the second quarter, as they held to Warriors to only 17 points on the quarter. Heading into halftime, the game was knotted as 52, and it felt like the Celtics had the momentum heading into the second half.
The game stayed tight throughout the second half, but the Celtics were able to win both quarters by slim margins, and came away with the win. Tatum carried much of the load on a night where many of his teammates had some struggles finding the bottom of the bucket. Jaylen Brown labored through much of the game, before having a solid fourth quarter to help finish the game off.
Kemba Walker also had a bit of bounce back night after his miserable performance against the Lakers. Walker shot 33% from both the field and 3 point land, which aren’t fantastic numbers by any means, but it’s a start. Walker is still clearly rusty after missing some time with a lingering knee issue, but it’s looking like he’s starting to get his legs back under him. Despite the poor shooting, Walker looked more like himself last night than many previous night’s, with this midrange stepback looking pretty identical to the shot he missed against the Lakers.
The Celtics also got some nice contributions from Tristan Thompson and Grant Williams in the game. Thompson was a perfect 5/5 from the field, and was a matchup nightmare for the Warriors, especially after Kevon Looney was forced out of the contest due to injury. Williams also took advantage of the Warriors lack of center depth, and had a huge game, including a very impressive 4th quarter shift. Williams hit all four of his shots, three of which came from behind the arc. Williams provided a huge boost off the bench that the Celtics have missed in the past couple of losses they’ve suffered, and they are a different team when they receive those positive contributions from their secondary players.
Even with the win, the Celtics do still need to do some work on the defensive end. Curry got pretty much any look he wanted throughout the game, and had the Warriors not been shorthanded on big men, they probably could have won this game. While Curry had 38 points, no one else came within 20 points of him. Yes they were able to contain some of the Warriors secondary players, but a lot of it was self-inflicted from the Warriors themselves. For example, Andrew Wiggins only shot 1/8 on threes, but many of them were uncontested, and he probably should have shot better than he did. The Celtics haven’t looked completely in sync on the defensive end this season, and until they figure it out they will struggle to comfortably win games.
The Celtics now head into the second night of their back-to-back with a game against the Sacramento Kings. The Kings rank towards to the bottom of the NBA, but cannot be counted out automatically. De’Aaron Fox has had a great start to the season, and has single-handedly carried the Kings to a couple wins, with their latest victory against the New Orleans Pelicans a prime example. The Kings have some pieces that can cause the Celtics trouble (everyone knows what Buddy Hield has done to the C’s in the past), but ultimately, the C’s easily outmatch the Kings. Coming off a back-to-back may prove to be a challenge, but the Celtics should still like their chances to pick up two wins in just as many nights.
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