BOSTON • A media type suggested to Stephen Curry that Golden State will be returning to TD Garden again this season.
For the NBA Finals.
"Very, very likely," Curry, who had a dreadful shooting night, said after the Boston Celtics rallied to beat his Warriors 92-88 for their 14th straight National Basketball Association victory on Thursday.
"They're playing the best in the East. Obviously, until they beat Cleveland (Cavaliers), they've done it three years in a row, we'll see."
Kyrie Irving shed his protective face mask in the third quarter and then shed the NBA champions in the fourth, scoring 11 of his 16 points in the final 4min 20sec to give the Celtics (14-2) their longest winning streak since 2009.
The loss also ended a seven-game winning streak for the Warriors.
Boston did not recommend that Irving take off the mask, which he wore for the second game running since suffering a slight facial fracture. But off it came.
Soon after, the Celtics went on a 17-0 run to erase a 17-point deficit, and start a grinding war that led to the Boston win.
Irving hit two free throws with 14sec left and then, after Kevin Durant missed a jumper, rookie Jayson Tatum nailed two more foul shots with 6.7sec remaining and the Warriors' four-game TD Garden winning streak was history.
Irving gave the game ball to Jaylen Brown, who scored 22 points, grabbed seven rebounds and had two steals and two blocked shots - after learning of the death of his best friend Trevin Stede in Atlanta the previous night.
"I feel like he was with me," Brown said. "I felt like it was me and him (on the court)."
Brown had bursts of explosive offence, stealing the ball from Curry and flying in for a slam dunk in the first half, and hitting two straight three-pointers and scoring eight points during the 17-0 run.
Said Irving: "It's never a good thing when someone's going through it. You do your best to console them, but at the end of the day, it's the strength within themselves and he showed that tonight."
Al Horford added 18 points with 11 boards while Tatum and Marcus Morris both had 12 points.
Durant led the visitors (11-4) with 24 points. Klay Thompson scored 11 points and Curry had nine points, six rebounds and five assists.
In the only other game on Thursday, Houston's Chris Paul returned after missing 14 games with a bruised knee as the Rockets ripped the Phoenix Suns (5-11) 142-116.
Houston moved atop the Western Conference at 12-4 after scoring the most points in any NBA game this season.
It was also the highest-scoring half for the Rockets since their club-record 94 points against the Denver Nuggets in January 1991.
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
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