Kevin Durant led all scorers with 33 points and added 9 rebounds. Steph Curry had 24 points and Klay Thompson scored 21. DeMarcus Cousins chipped in 15 points in his stiffest test yet.
Kyrie Irving was on fire, scoring 32 points of his own and fueling the Celtics’ attack. The Warriors shot 44% from the field and limited the Celtics to 41% in a scrappy battle where every possession was crucial.
The tempo for both teams was cranked up; their possessions resembled two cobras striking at each other in rapid succession. Cousins, still finding his bearings in his fourth game back from injury, lumbered to keep up and was targeted by Boston’s downhill drives. Cousins racked up 3 fouls early, and was repeatedly forced to chase Al Horford in space.
Durant led the Dubs in shot attempts early on, nailing 7-of-14 from the field after two quarters as he asserted himself in the paint and from the mid range. The only time he didn’t assert himself was on this buzzer clutcher.
Hahahahahahahaha. Kevin Durant purposely waited until after the buzzer to shoot it from halfcourt. And....................... it went in pic.twitter.com/YuxrBE8xTl— Drew Shiller (@DrewShiller) January 27, 2019
Curry was 0-of-3 from the field in the first quarter, but made up for it in the second frame with 17 points on 5 triples.
Irving was extremely aggressive and racked up 19 points and 5 assists in the first half. The Dubs seemed willing to pack the paint on him and force other guys to knock down tough jumpers. Boston was held to 44% shooting from the field at the half, 33% from beyond the arc.
The Warriors got up nine at one point, but Boston roared back to keep it close.
Warriors 61, Celtics 59
To start the third Cousins knocked down a three-pointer and a mid-range jumper, tantalizing Dub Nation with his skillset. Then he promptly picked up two quick fouls and had to take a seat on the bench.
Fortunately Kevon Looney stepped in and was a force in the paint, constantly battling for offensive rebounds and smoothly rotating out on Boston’s offensive threats.
Tatum carried Boston’s offense in the third quarter, scoring 14 points. Overall though, the Warriors kept them from getting into a groove, holding Irving scoreless for the quarter. Gordon Hayward looked really awful, his feel for the game is not there yet as he recovers from the horrendous leg injury he suffered last season.
END OF Q3: Warriors up 90-84 on the Celtics. Can't help but wonder how good Boston would be if Hayward (2 points on 0-for-4 shooting tonight) was 100 percent healthy.— Connor Letourneau (@Con_Chron) January 27, 2019
The fourth quarter saw Cousins being targeted in the Irving-Horford pick-and-pop, and force-fed the ball to initiate the Warriors offense. He held his own defensively with a block and multiple steals, but had to work to find any daylight against Horford’s tough defense.
The game had a tense playoff atmosphere down the stretch, as the Celtics dazzled with Irving’s ridiculous shotmaking, while the Warriors methodically worked their way to the free-throw line. The champs had multiple opportunities to close the door, but suffered careless mistakes in key moments.
The comedy of errors reached a climax when Draymond Green missed two free throws in the final seconds, but recovered his own miss and found Curry who nailed the game clinching free throws.