The Boston Celtics are off to an ideal start on their five-game road trip against Western Conference foes.
Boston defeated the Golden State Warriors 111-107 in Tuesday's showdown at Chase Center and snapped a two-game losing streak in the process. Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker and Jaylen Brown led the way for the victors, who improved to 11-8 on the season.
A brilliant showing from Stephen Curry was not enough for the Warriors, who are 11-10 overall and just 1-2 in the last three games.
Notable Player Stats
- Jayson Tatum, F, BOS: 27 PTS, 9 REB, 3 AST
- Kemba Walker, G, BOS: 19 PTS, 7 REB, 5 AST
- Jaylen Brown, G, BOS: 18 PTS, 10 REB, 4 AST
- Stephen Curry, G, GS: 38 PTS, 11 REB, 8 AST, 3 STL
- Juan Toscano-Anderson, F, GS: 16 PTS
Trio of Celtics Stars Stop Losing Streak on the Road
Boston entered play with a two-game losing streak and likely a feeling of what-could-have-been considering it dropped those games to the Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs by a combined five points.
It had opportunities to win both in the final seconds, which put all the more pressure on Tuesday's contest with daunting road contests against the L.A. Clippers, Phoenix Suns and Utah Jazz on the immediate docket.
A small losing streak can turn into a big one quickly in this league, and Curry's quick start—along with Brown struggling to find his typical touch from the field in the early going—made the task of stopping that losing streak all the more difficult for the visitors.
Fortunately for the Celtics, the Tatum and Walker pairing helped set the tone with the former attacking the lane and the latter dropping his patented step-back three.
Grant Willams also provided impressive outside shooting off the bench, while Tristan Thompson controlled the boards for stretches and scored on the blocks as Boston did everything it could to counter Curry's scorching shooting.
It was fitting the fourth quarter was back-and-forth considering the entire game was, but Boston had three go-to finishers to Golden State's one.
That was apparent when it stretched the advantage to double digits when Walker drained a three and Brown put his initial struggles behind him with an and-1 and monster slam in transition. Throw in two clutch free throws from Tatum in the last minute, and the trio of stars did what was needed against an overmatched Warriors team.
Steph's Show Goes to Waste for Warriors
Curry recently told reporters he was "in the middle of my prime," which may have turned some heads since he turns 33 years old next month and is no longer starring for a Warriors team that is a surefire championship contender every season.
Who's to say he's wrong, though?
Curry wasted no time looking like his prime self and poured in 17 points in the first quarter alone. He unleashed a triple with a lightning-fast flick of his wrist any time he had even a glimpse of space and set the stage for the Celtics to consistently send multiple defenders his way for the rest of the game.
Boston felt Marcus Smart's absence as Curry danced through the defense, but it was the Warriors who were short-handed in the second half.
With James Wiseman already sidelined, Kevon Looney was ruled out for the second half with a left ankle sprain. That put even more of the onus on Curry to carry the offense with Draymond Green struggling with his shot at the frontcourt dealing with multiple physical setbacks, which didn't seem like a problem when he drained back-to-back deep threes to pull his team within one heading to the fourth.
It wasn't just the Curry show, as Juan Toscano-Anderson and Kent Bazemore provided a lift off the bench to make sure Golden State stayed within striking distance even when Boston seemed to seize control in the middle portion of the game.
Still, it fell on Curry's shoulders at the end, and he did what he could while trimming a 10-point deficit to four in the final minutes with a beautiful and-1 on a reverse layup and by drawing a foul on the three, but the home team just didn't have the surrounding firepower to keep up with Boston for the entire four quarters.
The Celtics are at the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday, while the Warriors hit the road to face the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday.