Warriors blow 17-Point Lead, Lose 92-88
The Warriors (11-3) looked to extend their winning streak to eight games, and to do so, they would have to beat the team with the best record in the Eastern Conference, the Boston Celtics (13-2). Going into the game, the Celtics were riding a 13-game winning streak. The Celtics’ winning streak was incredibly improbable after the team lost Gordon Hayward in the first quarter of their first game. This matchup was a battle between two of the NBA’s best, and could potentially be a NBA Finals preview. The Warriors would go on to lose to the Celtics, 92-88.
The first quarter saw the Warriors play superb defense on the Celtics. The Celtics were held to just 32% shooting, and their leading scorer had five points. The Warriors did not shoot the ball well in the quarter at 41.7%, but they picked up four steals and four blocks, which helped make up for the lackluster offense. Kevin Durant started the game off with a nice dunk, but went 3-8 in the opening quarter. Nick Young came off the bench with a couple minutes remaining and drained two threes to build the Warrior lead. The Warriors were also able to control the ball, only turning the ball over twice, and looked determined to play a clean game. The Warriors led after the first quarter, 28-18.
The second quarter was ugly, on both sides. The Warriors continued to play good defense, and held the Celtics to 30% shooting from the field, which included 21.1% from three point range. The problem in the second quarter for the Warriors was that they fouled Boston too much. At the half, the Celtics were 12-13 from the free throw line, but those 12 points allowed them to close the gap and stay in the game. The Warriors did not have a good first half shooting the ball, they shot 40.9% overall, and 28.6% from deep. Stephen Curry was particularly bad on offense in the first half, going 1-8 with only four points. The Celtics outscored the Warriors in the second quarter because of the constant fouls the Warriors committed down the stretch, and also because of Jaylen Brown’s solid finish to the half. The Warriors offense in the second quarter was based around capitalizing on the Celtics’ nine turnovers, which they did, as Andre Iguodala threw down three nice slams in the half, but outside of the points in transition, the Warriors couldn’t get anything going on offense. The leading scorers at the half were Kevin Durant, with 12 points, and Jaylen Brown, with 11 points. At the half, the Warriors led the Celtics 47-42.
The third quarter was one of the worst quarters the Warriors played all season. The team was in foul trouble for nearly the entire quarter, and Celtics shot 13 free throws in the third quarter alone. Jaylen Brown continued to lead the Celtics, and ended the quarter with 22 points. The Warriors were unable muster any kind of consistent offense, and at one point, saw the Celtics go on a 16-0 run. As a team, the Warriors shot 42.6% from the field and 35% from three point range through three quarters. Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry combined for 14 points and had many bad misses. After the third quarter, the game was tied at 68.
As a Warriors fan, the fourth quarter was absolutely infuriating. The Warriors were unable to get any offense going, and many of their key players, like Klay Thompson, were just flat-out bad. The Celtics still shot 32.9% from the field and 21.9% from three point range. The difference in this game was free throws. The Warriors were unable to get any momentum going in the second half because the refs enjoyed hearing the sound of their own whistle a little too much for my taste. The Celtics beat the Warriors 92-88.
This game was the most one-sided game, from an officiating standpoint, since game four of the NBA finals. Late in the game, the refs blew their whistle on several drives to the hoop by Kyrie Irving in anticipation of a foul, and there ended up being no contact. The Celtics shot 38 free throws while the Warriors shot 19 free throws. In such a close game, late foul calls made all the difference. Now, the Warriors blew a 17-point lead, and that’s not entirely the fault of the officials, as the Warriors were horrendous from a shooting standpoint.
It is not often where a team can shoot 8% higher from the field than their opponent, while shooting six more shots, and holding their opponent to just 32.9% shooting, and lose a game. The Celtics played very aggressive defense, and it worked for them. They were given a little more leniency when defending the Warriors. The Celtics have been the best defensive team in the league to this point, but they did not need to be given a 38-19 free throw advantage.
Of course, it's just one game, in November, and in the long run, it probably won’t mean anything. The Warriors came out and played with a lack of energy in every quarter except the first. They were unable to muster any kind of flow with their offense because of how choppy the game was.
Oh well, you win some, you lose some. The Celtics extended their winning streak to 14 games, and the Warriors saw their winning streak snapped at eight games.
The leading scorer for the Warriors was Kevin Durant with 24 points, and he was the only Warrior with more than 13 points. The Celtics were led by Jaylen Brown, who scored 22 points. Kyrie Irving took over for the Celtics late in the game, and finished with 16 points.
The Warriors play their next game on Saturday, November 18, against the Philadelphia 76ers, at 4:30 p.m.