Thomas a lynchpin as Boston halt run

Isaiah Thomas of the Boston Celtics (left) finds plenty of air time as he goes up for a shot against Anderson Varejao of the Golden State Warriors in the 109-106 victory at Oracle Arena on Friday.
Isaiah Thomas of the Boston Celtics (left) finds plenty of air time as he goes up for a shot against Anderson Varejao of the Golden State Warriors in the 109-106 victory at Oracle Arena on Friday. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Warriors' 54-game streak of home wins ends as Celtics guard dominates a tight second half

OAKLAND (California) • The streak continued on Friday night.

No, not the Golden State Warriors' incredible run of home wins in the National Basketball Association. That ended at 54 when the Boston Celtics out-finished Golden State for a 109-106 victory.

The stunning outcome was a direct result of Boston guard Isaiah Thomas' 22 points, the franchise-record 15th consecutive time he has led the Celtics in scoring.

Incredibly, all 22 of the points came in the second half, including a driving lay-up to pad a one-point lead with 8.3 seconds remaining.

"To be up at half-time with Isaiah 0-for-7 felt really good," Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. "You knew he was going to get some to go down."

  • 38

    The San Antonio Spurs are now the only National Basketball Association team yet to lose at home (38-0) this season.


    1

    The Warriors are the first team in NBA history to lose a home game in which they made at least 20 three-pointers. They were 20-43 from behind the arc against the Boston Celtics.


    5

    Golden State have to win five of their last six games to beat the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls' record of 72 wins in a campaign.

He did, including the key lay-up less than two seconds after Harrison Barnes had given Golden State life with a three-pointer that trimmed Boston's lead to 107-106.

With the Warriors attempting to deny all possible inbound passes, Thomas edged behind the defence for a lay-up that put Golden State in desperation mode once again.

"That was one of the most fun games I've been a part of, just because every time they hit us with something, we hit them right back," Thomas gushed. "Usually teams don't do that."

The Warriors still had two opportunities to tie, but Stephen Curry misfired from 28 feet and, after an offensive rebound, Barnes was not close on a fall-away 24-footer.

The home loss was Golden State's first since Jan 27 last year, and first after 36 straight wins this season.

"It's definitely different," Warriors power forward Draymond Green said, sizing up of the atmosphere in the locker room. "There have been quite a few games like that this year and we still found a way. It finally caught up to us."

The Warriors (68-8) retained a 41/2-game lead over the San Antonio Spurs in the race for top seeding in the Western Conference play-offs.

The Celtics (44-32), who had taken the Warriors to two overtimes before losing at home on Dec 11, gained ground on Atlanta (45-32) and kept pace with Miami (44-31) and Charlotte (44-31) in a tight battle for the No. 3 spot in the East.

They did so by getting balanced scoring and forcing 22 Golden State turnovers, which the Celtics turned into 27 points. Curry had nine of Golden State's 22 turnovers.

"The strength of our defence is the pressure we can put on at the guard position," Stevens noted. "They (the Warriors) didn't play their best, but our guys had something to do with that."

Evan Turner backed Thomas with 21 points, and Jared Sullinger recorded a 20-point, 12-rebound double-double for the Celtics.

Boston both outshot (47.1 per cent to 45.8) and outrebounded (44-41) the defending champions.

Curry had a game-high 29 points for Golden State, hitting eight three-pointers along the way. Twenty-one of his points came in the third quarter, the ninth time this season he has had 20 or more in a period.

Green had 16 points to go with team-highs in rebounds (nine), assists (seven) and steals (six), but Klay Thompson was limited to 15 points on 6-for-16 shooting.

"We gave ourselves a chance to win, but the Celtics made their shots in the fourth quarter," Curry said. "It's a weird feeling, but we've got to be able to move on from it."

The Warriors are still chasing regular-season history in the shape of the NBA record of 72 wins in a campaign set by the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls, and must win five of their last six games to do so.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 03, 2016, with the headline 'Thomas a lynchpin as Boston halt run'. Print Edition | Subscribe