The Celtics have struggled to find a go-to scorer all season. The Warriors, on the other hand, have been cruising behind an MVP-type season from Stephen Curry. So when the C’s visited the Warriors on Sunday evening — coming off a game in which Klay Thompson poured in an NBA record 37 points in the third quarter alone — things were expected to get ugly.
The Celtics managed to keep it competitive throughout the game despite eventually falling to the Warriors, 114-111. Jared Sullinger led the way for Boston with 26 points, nine rebounds and three assists. The loss drops the C’s to 15-27 on the season and snaps a two game win streak.
Evan Turner (19 points, seven boards, seven helpers) also had a strong game for the Celtics, as did Avery Bradley and Tyler Zeller who each finished with 15 points. Both Kelly Olynyk (ankle) and Marcus Smart (death in family) did not attend the game. The Celtics managed to keep Thompson from scoring 37 points in any quarters, but he did finish with 31 points to lead the now 37-6 Warriors.
For a complete box score, click here.
DEEP ROTATION DESPITE DEPLETED ROSTER
Even with two key rotation players in Olynyk and Smart missing, Brad Stevens still managed to play 11 players by the start of the second quarter on Sunday. Surprisingly Gerald Wallace got the call off the bench early in the game and Tayshaun Prince racked up 12 first half minutes. In the end, all 11 players played double digit minutes with Marcus Thornton playing the fewest at 14. Shavlik Randolph, the only other player in uniform, did not register any playing time.
HANGING AROUND WITH THE BEST
The Celtics stayed hot coming off of two of their biggest wins of the season. The C’s should have been down only four points at halftime, but thanks to a bailout call by the refs, Curry pushed the lead to seven after making three free throws for a shooting foul at half court (keep in mind that this wound up being a three point game). Considering the opponent, the Celtics have had much worse outings this season. The lead grew to 12 points by the end of the third quarter, but the Celtics responded with a strong fourth quarter. There are no good losses in the NBA, however, the Celtics player one of their better games of the year.
JAE CROWDER IS WHO WE THOUGHT HE WAS
I’m not trying to bash Crowder here, I like him and he’s a good player. He was a nice surprise to get back in the Rajon Rondo trade. He worked his way into the starting lineup on pure hustle by the time Jeff Green was on the move, and has stayed there ever since. Much was made of Crowder’s 22 point outburst against the Pelicans earlier this month, but since then the role player has come back to reality scoring in single digits in each game (six points on Sunday). Crowder is worth keeping around as a role player, but don’t get your hopes up if you were expecting more.
THE CELTICS NEED TO FIND THEIR DRAYMOND GREEN
Green is a lot like Crowder — a hustle player with a lot of versatility — but Green has taken his game to the next level (to the point where he will get All-Star consideration). Much like Jimmy Butler, Green just keeps improving every season and seems to have finally found his way. The Michigan State product not only makes his teammates better, but can defend all five positions and has become a consistent inside-out player on offense. Green had 14 points, nine rebounds and two assists to go along with three steals in the win over the Celtics, but his impact goes beyond the box score.
CHICKEN CURRY WILL BE SERVED FOR LUNCH TOMORROW
By now you’ve probably seen the SportsCenter commercial, but after averaging only 15 points against the Celtics in his career, Stephen Curry went off for 22 points and 11 dimes. We know what’s for lunch tomorrow.
Follow Julian Edlow on Twitter @julianedlow