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Oakland - Despite the momentum being on the Warriors' side after an historic performance by Klay Thompson on Friday night, and a 18-game home winning streak, how could the Celtics compete with that? Especially since they were taking on the team with the league's best record, but the young C's held their own, and rallied to make the Oracle Arena fans work to cheer Golden State to a 114-111 victory on Sunday night.
Thompson led the Warriors with 31 points while Stephen Curry finished with 21 points and 11 assists. Draymond Green chipped in with 14 points and Andrew Bogut added 13 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to help Golden State improve to an NBA's best 36-6.
Jared Sullinger continued his stretch of good shooting on this western road trip and led four Celtics players in double figures with 26 points (9-17 from the field) and nine rebounds. Evan Turner added 19 points to go along with 7 assists and 7 rebounds. Tyler Zeller and Avery Bradley each scored 15 points apiece in the loss.
The Celtics kept the game close in the first half even though they trailed 56-49 at intermission. It wasn't until mid-way through the third that the Warriors pushed their lead into double-digits and the home team ended the quarter on a 7-3 run to go up by 12 going into the final frame 89-77. Golden State's biggest advantage of the night was 14, until Boston slowly began chipping away.
With 36.6 seconds remaining and Boston down by 10, Evan Turner made a quick 3-pointer, followed with another by Avery Bradley after a missed layup by Golden State on the other end. Suddenly it was a four point-game. The Celtics forced a couple of turnovers and a missed layup by Jared Sullinger sent him to the free-throw line, as he sank both freebies to cut the deficit 112-109 with 3.6 seconds to play. Stephen Curry was immediately fouled following a timeout hitting both free throws. Boston with no timeouts remaining recruited Gerald Wallace as usual with one of his dead on cross-court passes to an open Sullinger for an easy two, only for the Warriors to let the clock run out on the next possession, snapping the C's two-game winning streak in the process.
"I thought we did as good a job as you can do probably in half court," Brad Stevens said. "We gave ourselves a chance a lot of the time ... but it's hard to guard them for 48 minutes and score on them."
The Celtics did their best to contain the "splash-brothers" as Curry was 6-of-16 from the field, including going 1-5 from 3-point land, but was a perfect 9-of-9 from the charity stripe. On the other side, Thompson was 3-of-7 from behind the arc and 6-of-8 from the free throw line. Considering the Warriors were averaging a margin of 26.5 points in their last four wins coming into last night, Boston has very little to be disappointed with in this loss.
The C's are now 2-2 on this road trip (15-27 overall) with two more cities to travel to, including Utah tonight. Tip-off against the Jazz will be at 9.
The Celtics went with a 11-man rotation as Kelly Olynyk was out (back in Boston with a sprained right ankle) and won't return until after the all-star break. Marcus Smart (death in the family) was also unavailable against the Warriors and it's still unknown if he will join the team in Utah.
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