Tatum continued his scoring streak, scoring 44 points at 16-for-25, and Curry responded with 47 to 15 for 27. The Celtics needed another significant comeback to secure the win. Jaylan Brown (illness) and Robert Williams (knee) were without the starters.
“Our boys did an amazing job of staying together,” said coach Brad Stevens. “And when that happens and then you get a little momentum, then you tend to react when you’re not feeling well. So, we have a little momentum from, you know, we were 1
Boston, which is in eighth place in the Eastern Conference with a lost record just two weeks ago, has now become the sole holder of fourth place, putting it in a position to take the lead in the courts in the opening round of the playoffs.
The Warriors took the lead, 109-105, stayed 3:30 and seemed ready to extend the lead when Walker was called to foul Curry on a 3-point lead. He did not protest the foul on the Boston bench, but he also did not see Curry kicking his leg. Celtics coach Brad Stevens challenged the invitation and won, which was significant.
Tatum drew the Celtics within 1 point with a 3-point. After Walker missed a three, Smart picked up an offensive ricochet and eventually returned the ball to the right arc. He was only 2 to 10 beyond the arc so far, but no Warrior defender even bothered to step in his direction as he calmly hit the wide open shot to give the Celtics a 111-109 lead of 1: 16.
“I hurried most of my photos tonight, so I just wanted to get under my feet and take my time,” Smart said, “but I had so much time that I took the last part of it. And it paid off. “
As Boston advanced, 113-111, Draymond Green missed a lineup and Walker broke a 3-point shot with 22.1 seconds per game. Curry responded with a 3 to make 116-114 before Tatum hit a pair of free throws and Golden State didn’t score again.
Observations from the game:
▪ Jabari Parker, who signed a five-year deal with the Celtics on Friday, was called to significant action on Saturday. He made 5 of 6 shots and had 11 points and 4 rebounds in 15 minutes and 45 seconds. There were several inequalities. Only 40 seconds after the check-in, he has already made a pair of turns and appears disoriented in defense several times. But he scored a couple of setbacks during his first six-minute stretch.
He had a pair of limits in the second half and even needed a game after the fourth quarter. He rewarded Stevens by hitting a heavy base turn before collecting a smart balloon to fail.
“He gave us some opportunities there both in the first half and in the second, when he played at the baseline and played with his strength and did a lot of good things,” said Stevens. “He will take our defense over time and we need to figure out how to play best with him at both ends, but pretty well for his first night.”
▪ Tatum’s two highest-scoring games this season came in the last nine days, as he continued his 53-point career career in his April 9 victory over Minnesota with this 44-point gem. After a quiet stretch after his January COVID-19 match, he seems ready to wear Boston when the team needs him most.
“I’m just trying to do everything I can to help my team win the game,” he said.
▪ This game will be remembered for its frantic final minutes, but the Celtics might not even be able to win if it weren’t for finishing the second quarter with great force. They were 16 points behind with 1:10 and seemed to be aiming for a huge deficit at halftime. Then some of Boston’s strong plays, combined with some of Warriors’ mental errors, shifted the speed quite suddenly.
Tristan Thompson scored on a pass, and Walker scored a tough 3-point game with the remaining 49.8 seconds. In this situation, the Warriors should milk the watch as much as possible to ensure that Boston will receive only one more possession. Instead, Andrew Wiggins missed a 3-point lead with 37 seconds left, allowing Tatum to race in the opposite direction for a quick run, which locked a two-for-one chance.
Still, Warriors could make things difficult for Boston by bleeding the block. Instead, Kent Bazemor attacked and was called in for an offensive foul with 10.9 seconds to play, then pulled out a technical foul for controversy. Tatum ended Warriors’ final crash by trying a 22-foot footer.
“[That run] He gave us a lot, I think juice and faith, ”Stevens said. – Because it was obvious that we are not perfect. At first we looked like we were moving a little in the mud. But then he went to another level and [Tatum] it was amazing. “
▪ Curry probably made more absurdly hard shots than any current player in the NBA and added to his collection with 1:53 left in the second quarter. When Grant Williams bit a fake pump in the left arc, Curry pulled a plug and apparently wanted to get a foul for shooting at him. But Williams’ body blocked Curry’s shooting hand, so the shooter somehow shifted to the left and stood at 22 feet while being fouled.
He broke a conventional 3-point just 25 seconds later, giving Golden State a seemingly 66-50 lead with 1:28 left.
“The smallest part of me is happy,” Stevens said. “I just hate competing against him. But man, do I like to watch it. He’s so much fun watching him as any player because of his creativity, his shooting skills, and you just never feel good when you’re an opponent. “
▪ For most of this season, the Celtics fought hard to end the games. They made mistakes, missed shots and just had a little clumsy luck. But all this came back in their favor during this series, which includes wins of 1 point, 2 points and overtime and now this last minute escape.
“I think the most important thing is that it’s just our community,” Walker said. “Our balance at the end of the games helps us a lot.”
Adam Himmelsbach can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @adamhimmelsbach.