Celtics hold on to end Warriors' 54-game home winning streak

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 02, 2016 2:25 AM

(The Sports Xchange) - Isaiah Thomas scored all 22 of his points in the second half, including a driving layup with 8.3 seconds remaining, as the Boston Celtics ended the Golden State Warriors' 54-game home winning streak with a 109-106 stunner on Friday.

The home loss was Golden State's first since Jan. 31, 2015, a streak that includes 36 straight wins this season.

After Harrison Barnes buried a three-pointer to get Golden State within 107-106 with 10.2 seconds to play, the Celtics called a timeout and got the ball to Thomas, who sneaked in behind the Warriors' defense for the game-clinching hoop.

Golden State still had two opportunities to tie but Stephen Curry misfired from 28 feet and, after an offensive rebound, Barnes was not close on a desperation 24-footer, allowing Boston to snap a five-game losing streak against the Warriors.

The Warriors (68-8) retained a 4 1/2-game lead over the San Antonio Spurs in the race for top seeding in the Western Conference playoffs. Golden State had won five in a row.

The Celtics (44-32), meanwhile, kept pace with Miami (44-31) and Charlotte (44-31) in a tightly bunched battle for the third seed in the East.

Boston, which had taken the Warriors to two overtimes before losing at home on Dec. 11, improved to 2-2 on their five-game Western swing after rebounding from a 116-109 loss at Portland on Thursday.

Evan Turner had 21 points and Jared Sullinger recorded a 20-point, 12-rebound double-double for the Celtics as Thomas led Boston in scoring for a franchise-record 15th straight time.

Curry had a game-high 29 points for Golden State, hitting eight three-pointers along the way.

Draymond Green had 16 points to go with team-highs in rebounds (nine) and assists (seven), and Klay Thompson added 15 points.

The Warriors trailed 103-96 before Thompson hit a three-pointer, Curry converted a drive and Shaun Livingston dropped in two free throws in a 7-2 run that got Golden State within two with 46.9 seconds to go.

Green then stole the ball from Boston's Amir Johnson but after a timeout, gave it back to the same player with 23.7 seconds left, giving the Celtics an opportunity to run out the clock.

Turner made it a four-point game, 107-103, on two free throws with 18.1 seconds left but the Warriors immediately countered with the three-pointer by Barnes, closing the gap to one with still 10.2 seconds left.

After a timeout, Thomas scored off an inbounds play to increase the Boston lead to 109-106 with 8.3 seconds remaining.

The Celtics had led 84-83 in the second minute of the fourth quarter before using a 9-0 burst to open their biggest lead of the game to that point.

Reserve guard Marcus Smart converted a driving hoop and a three-pointer to cap the run.

After having scored 36 points in the third quarter, Golden State had only four to show for the first 5 1/2 minutes of the final period and was still down by 10, 95-85, before backup guard Leandro Barbosa buried a three-pointer.

Green followed with a three-point play on a drive and added a three-pointer, and when he followed in a Brandon Rush miss with 3:53 to go, the Warriors had reduced the deficit to 99-96.

But then a key sequence went in Boston's favor, when a Warriors fast break resulted in a Rush turnover, with Thomas benefiting at the other end with a layup that extended the margin to five with 3:21 left.

(Editing by John O'Brien)