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What we learned about Celtics in double-OT loss to Warriors 12.12.15 at 4:26 pm ET
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Friday night at TD Garden undoubtedly was the game of the year in the NBA.

The unbeaten Warriors came into Boston and topped the Celtics‘ best effort by a score of 124-119. It wasn’t easy. It took double-overtime for Golden State to improve to a historic 24-0 on the season.

After the game, Celtics coach Brad Stevens was asked if he believes in such a thing as a “great loss.”

After about 10 seconds of silence in which you could tell his blood was boiling, Stevens gave the reporter the courtesy of answering his question.

“Not even a good one,” Stevens replied before swiftly moving on to the next question.

The coach certainly has created a trickle-down effect, as his players all agreed that there was nothing good about losing a game in which they spent 58 minutes going toe-to-toe with the defending champions.

All that said, we still learned somethings about this never-say-die C’s squad during Friday’s showing.

FEAR NO OPPONENT

Many teams have come out of the locker room to face the Warriors this season with the game already over. You can tell that they’re scared to begin with, but once Golden State gets on one of its runs, that’s when it’s officially over. The opposition waves the white flag and the Dubs run away with the game.

The Celtics weren’t going to let themselves be the hunted on Friday. They were the hunter.

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Knee-Jerk Reactions to Celtics vs. Warrios 12.12.15 at 1:24 pm ET
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Avery Bradley flat out dominated the first quarter. Bradley hit six of his first seven shots and was responsible for 15 of the Celtics first 18 points. He was aggressive, confident, and for a brief moment, the best player on the court. Then in the second quarter, AB didn’t even attempt a shot. Celtics fans shouldn’t be surprised by this, as Bradley has the tendency to put up amazing quarters or halves, but we have never seen him do it for a full 48. I don’t know if was simply a matter of energy, (Bradley had just played 12 minutes of great defense against Curry) but it doesn’t make much sense for him not attempt another shot until the third quarter.  Bradley only had 4 more points the rest of the game to finish with 19.

–I will give Bradley a pass, because he is one of the major reasons why Steph Curry had (in Comic Book Guy voice) The Worst 38-point Game Ever! The Celtics held the presumptive MVP to a pedestrian 33% from the field and his 44.4 eFG% was the worst of the season. The Celtics did an amazing job of keeping Curry out of the paint on pick-and-rolls and Bradley/Turner had a hand in his face all night, but Curry is still a superstar the best shooter of all-time. Warriors interim head coach Luke Walton explained it best after the game.

“The players that are true superstars in this league — all you can try to do is make it tougher. They’re going to get their numbers no matter what happens, but you just try to make it tough. And Boston made it tough on Steph tonight.”

–It wasn’t just Steph who “struggled”, the Celtics did a great job of defending everyone else on the Warriors.

–Draymond Green was absolutely outstanding and finished with 28 points, 11 rebounds, 8 assists, 5 blocks, and 5 steals. He is obviously one of the best 10 players in the league and is making an argument that he is also the league’s best Power Forward.

 

–Against the Warriors, the Celtics did an excellent job of finding in him in pick-and-rolls, as Olynyk finished with 28 points on an ABSURD 21 attempts. The Celtics are 6-2 in games where Kelly takes more than 10 shots. Olynyk was also wearing a Man-Bun in 6 of those 8 games. Coincidence? I THINK NOT #FearTheBun

— Some questioned the decision not to take a timeout during the Celtics two game-winning chances, but I liked the decision by Stevens. Shaun Livingston made a great play to block Isaiah Thomas‘ first shot and then IT got a great look, but missed the second. Stevens is known for his great play-calling ATO, but tonight it just wasn’t working for the Celtics.

The Celtics got 10 points on 14 after-time-out plays in the fourth quarter and OTs.

— This Elevators play run by the Warriors is literally impossible to stop. AND they waited till the final minute to use it. How is Bradley supposed to defend this any better?  

— I have never seen so many people this jazzed for a pregame warm-up. The blood-curdling shrieks from fans made it feel like Curry had become the fifth member of the Beatles. The massive pregame crowd of fans and giddy reporters (myself included) followed his every move, albeit through the lens of their smartphone.

— James Young played 20 minutes of solid defense and even got some burn in overtime. Stevens obviously has trust in the kid, which is shocking considering where he was at the beginning of the season. Celtics will need his depth at the small-forward position if they want to play more small-ball lineups moving forward.

— The Celtics have no time to reflect on the tough loss or even rest after playing two overtimes. Tonight they take on a Hornets team that has a Top 5 offense and won 8 of their last 10 games.

 

Studs and Duds: Celtics lose heartbreaker, Warriors keep streaking 12.11.15 at 10:39 pm ET
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The Warriors were without Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes, shot 39 percent from the floor, playing a double-overtime thriller on the sixth game of a road trip, and somehow still walked out of TD Garden with their 24th straight victory.

Kelly Olynyk

Kelly Olynyk

The Celtics played phenomenally for long stretches, but missed seven of their 16 free throws and couldn’t create offense when they needed it most, losing a 124-119 heartbreaker after two extra frames. Still, the C’s (13-10) announced themselves as power players in this NBA season’s most unforgettable game.

“They’re tough, man,” said Warriors superstar Stephen Curry, who scored 38 points on 9-of-27 shooting to go along with 11 rebounds and eight assists. “Their record is still above .500, but they’ve played better than their record. They’ve got some big wins on the road against some tough teams — OKC, Atlanta. And when they win, they win bi. “They really show out, so you know they have that punch — that firepower. They provide a couple of matchup problems with some of the bigs that can step out and shoot 3’s and space the floor. You don’t really know where it’s coming from on a nightly basis, which is tough.”

Kelly Olynyk led the Celtics with 28 points off the bench. Avery Bradley (19 points), Isaiah Thomas (18 points, 10 assists), Jae Crowder (15 points), Evan Turner (13 points, 9 rebounds) and David Lee (10 points) also reached double figures. Golden State’s Draymond Green had 24 points, 11 boards, eight assists, five steals and five blocks.

For the complete box score, click here. To go beyond the box, read on.

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4 keys for Celtics to beat Warriors 12.11.15 at 3:06 pm ET
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Stephen Curry

Stephen Curry

Don’t let the Celtics fool you, this isn’t just another game.

The Celtics (13-9) have a chance to beat the undefeated Warriors (23-0) Friday night at TD Garden, and of course it’s not going to be easy. Reigning MVP Steph Curry is making a case for this year’s honor and leading the league’s best offense. Avery Bradley is going to do his best to pester Curry — make him uncomfortable, keep a hand in his face — but if the Celtics do knock off the Warriors it’s not going to depend on that.

The Warriors are a great team with a lot of weapons. If the Celtics are to pull off the upset, here are four things that would go a long way toward helping that happen.

1. Isaiah Thomas comes through with his season-best effort

No other Celtic has been more consistent than Isaiah Thomas. He’s averaging a team-high 21 points and leads the team in assists (6.3). The Celtics need a big night from their best scorer. If Thomas scores 30 or more points against the Warriors, it’s going to free up guys like Bradley and Jae Crowder. He’s only scored 30 points once this season (against the 76ers) but if there’s one Celtic you have to bet is going to score 30, it’s Thomas. Lately he’s been the second-half hero for the C’s. That has to end Friday night. Thomas needs to get it going early.

2. The C’s control the boards

Jared Sullinger has been a force on the glass lately, grabbing 36 rebounds in his last two games. But he is going to have his hands full guarding Draymond Green. Sullinger needs to out-rebound Green and keep him outside of the paint. The Celtics also are going to need all the second-chance points they can get. The C’s managed 17 second-chance points on 13 offensive rebounds against the Bulls, and they should be able to do the same against Green, Andrew Bogut and the Warriors.

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Read More: Avery Bradley, Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Stephen Curry
Poll: Will Celtics knock off Warriors? 12.11.15 at 11:17 am ET
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The Warriors bring a 23-0 record and 27-game regular-season winning streak to TD Garden on Friday night, and many are saying the Celtics are poised to pull off the upset.

What do you think? Can the improving C’s use their balance to hand Golden State its first loss of the season? Or will Stephen Curry and friends prove to be too much of a challenge for Brad Stevens‘ crew?

Will the Celtics knock off the Warriors?

  • Yes, Golden State's streak will come to an end (62%, 66 Votes)
  • No, the Celtics can't keep up (38%, 40 Votes)

Total Voters: 106

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Studs and Duds: Balanced Celtics beat Bulls, brace for Warriors 12.09.15 at 9:53 pm ET
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Eight Celtics scored in double figures, overcoming 41.3 percent shooting and winning for the first time when allowing 100 points, beating the Bulls, 105-100.

Isaiah Thomas finished scoreless in the first half, and then totaled 20 points in the final two quarters to lead the C’s in scoring. Kelly Olynyk netted 15 points, Evan Turner and Jae Crowder each added 13, Amir Johnson and David Lee both dropped 12 and Jared Sullinger and Avery Bradley totaled 10 apiece.

The Celtics improved to 13-9 and tied the Raptors for first place in the Atlantic Division. Only the Cavaliers (14-7) have more wins in the East. The Celtics will have a chance to snap Golden State’s 23-0 start at home on Friday night.

On Wednesday, Bulls guard Jimmy Butler led all scorers with 36 points.

For a complete box score, click here. To go beyond the box, read on.

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, David Lee, NBA
Studs and Duds: Isaiah Thomas, Celtics run past Pelicans 12.07.15 at 10:24 pm ET
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Behind a 30-9 run sandwiched around halftime, the Celtics defeated the Pelicans, 111-93, Monday night in New Orleans.

With 4:31 left in the second quarter, Jared Cunningham’s free throws gave the Pelicans a 42-40 lead, but Isaiah Thomas led the Celtics on a dominant 10-minute stretch that pushed transferred a two-point deficit to a 70-51 advantage.

Thomas started the run with a floater in the lane before hitting his next three attempts from beyond the arc. Thomas outscored the entire Pelicans team 11-9 during the run. Jae Crowder punctuated the game-breaking stretch with a 3-pointer of his own.

Not normally known for his shooting efficiency, Thomas finished with a game-high 22 points on 9-of-13 shooting, including 4-of-4 from downtown. Kelly Olynyk (21 points), Jae Crowder (17 points), Jared Sullinger (11 points, 20 rebounds) and Avery Bradley (11 points) also scored in double figures for the Celtic€™s (12-9).

While Jrue Holiday scored 14 points for the Pelicans, the Celtics held New Orleans’ starting backcourt of Tyreke Evans and Eric Gordon to zero points on seven shots. The victory marked the C’s third on a nine-day, five-game road-trip. The team returns to Boston on Wednesday to host the Bulls, before trying to hand the potential 24-0 Golden State Warriors their first loss of the season.

For a complete box score, click here. To go beyond the buckets, read on.

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