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GSW lose at home for first time in franchise history

Or 14 months. Some streaks are just meant to be broken, I guess. And did the Boston Celtics uncover something along the way?

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Golden State Warriors expected win-loss this season sits at 60-15, according to Basketball Reference. They are currently 68-7 after falling just short against a Boston Celtics that outplayed them nearly the entire game, holding on just enough for a 109-106 victory. Eight wins separates bad teams from middling Eastern Conference postseason contenders. Eights wins separates middle of the road playoff teams to championship-level squads. Eights wins is the tipping point between a normal title group from the truly, once-in-a-lifetime team that are these Golden State Warriors. Friday night's loss to the Boston Celtics gave truth to the notion that winning a basketball game can prove not only difficult but a fool's errand at times.

There have been so many games this season where these Warriors eked out a win they didn't totally deserve. Of course, when Stephen Curry is launching and hitting from 30, when Draymond Green is tackling defenders and ripping the ball from Amir Johnson at the top of the key, everything is deserved. Even the Utah Jazz win that came in the face of a dreadful offensive effort buoyed by a frantic yet dominant late 4th quarter was more eke-ing than deserving.

This isn't to say the Warriors aren't any less than they are. They're still the best team in the world, and perhaps the greatest of all time. This loss did show just how much Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson have at times dragged this team through the trenches of the dog days and pulled them to wins after wins.

But something funny happened during this game. Every time Curry made a ridiculous 3, every time Draymond came up with another incredible stop, they responded. Emphatically.

The raucous Celtics locker room after featured Isaiah Thomas explaining how responding matters, "That was one of the funnest games I've been a part of just because every time they hit us with something we hit them right back. Usually teams don't do that, that's when they go on their run. For me personally, I just stayed aggressive, stayed the course."

Thomas ran around and through the Warriors in the second half for 18 points after a bucket-less first half.

Perhaps that's the only way to beat these Warriors. You not only have to shut them down on the defensive end, limiting Curry and Klay to single digit field goal attempts combined in the first half; but the next step is to match fire with fire. Kelly Olynyk, Marcus Smart, Jared Sullinger, and IT all answered Curry shots with their own 3s, offensive rebounds, and putbacks. It wasn't necessarily pretty but it quieted a pristinely wild Friday night Oracle crowd at every beck and call.

In my 3+ years covering the team at home, I've never seen a team take a hit and get up the way these Celtics did. This doesn't at all mean they're better than the likes of the San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder, Cleveland Cavaliers, or even the Los Angeles Clippers. In all honesty, a playoff series with a healthy GSW team would likely end in a sweep with the small lineup taking over.

But if there ever is the mythical blueprint to be made, written, and sculpted, this team might have found it, no matter how impossible the task. Boil the pace to a simmering and gross mess, answer the run with your own, and hold just enough composure at the end when the final tornado whirlwinds into your backyard. The Grizzlies and Cavaliers have accomplished the first and third part but never could recover from the death knell attacks.

These Boston Celtics did, if only for a night.


Though on the other side of the spectrum, the Warriors were less worried about the loss itself but the way they lost it. Draymond Green lamented the turnovers during the game rather than the one at the end. Stephen Curry admitted that this took none of the pressure off and referenced the amount of sloppy plays in the first half.

Steve Kerr put it most aptly in the postgame presser, "I don't think it's a blessing, but I don't think our execution has been good for a while. We had 22 turnovers tonight. I think we had 18 or 19 in Utah and 20 or something in the game before that. We've been slipping the last couple of weeks."

Though this loss doesn't create much of a reprieve and the lack of a practice schedule doesn't offer any more preparation in sight, the Warriors again face the reality of necessary improvement. They did so after the broken streak against the Milwaukee Bucks and again after the shellacking at the hands of the Detroit Pistons. These are neither of those events but the combination of the return of healthy players and the end of the season gives the Warriors a bit of relief upcoming.

The Golden State Warriors will be fine. The Boston Celtics also showed something I've very rarely, if ever, seen from an opposing team at Oracle Arena. Let's now see if anyone can replicate that.