In a rematch of this summer’s NBA Finals, the Golden State Warriors defeated the Boston Celtics 123-107. The Celtics have gotten off to an excellent start this season after making some notable additions this offseason. Yet, it was the 13-13 Dubs who continued dominating at home and emerged victorious.
With Andrew Wiggins out defensively head coach Steve Kerr opted to insert Jordan Poole in the starting lineup, sliding Klay Thompson to the three. While Poole is the Dubs sixth man, many wanted Kerr to give the opportunity to Jonathan Kuminga because of his superior size and defensive ability. Going up against Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, the starting lineup’s defense would be tested.
To their credit, the unit rose to the occasion. Despite playing at a significant size disadvantage, the Warriors clamped down on the Celtics starters. Draymond Green gives Golden State the opportunity to build more offense-centric lineups, but the rest of the starters did their part as well.
Offensively, though, the Warriors struggled. Steph Curry was tentative early, seemingly too focused on getting his teammates involved while Poole’s shot was not falling all night. Klay Thompson was the lone Warriors scorer to get off to a hot start. Thompson scored 12 points in the first nine minutes of regulation, 24 in the first half, and finished the game 34.
Curry knocked down a pair of deep threes in the final minutes of the first quarter, that helped the Warriors carry a 33-25 lead at the end of the first quarter. Poole found an offensive spark leading the second unit that extended Golden State’s lead to double-digits with Curry on the bench.
The Celtics cut the lead to five by the half, but the Warriors held onto the lead for the rest of regulation. While Brown scored 31 points and grabbed 8 rebounds, Tatum’s NBA Finals struggles seemed to carryover. Tatum was 6-for-21 from the field on the day and was 4-for-7 from the free-throw line. Without another Celtics player scoring 20 points, Boston lacked the firepower to keep up with Golden State once Steph built off Klay.
While Kuminga did not start, he still made an impact. Kuminga led Warriors bench players in scoring with 14 points in just over 20 minutes of action, capped off by an impressive dunk over Tatum that extended the Warriors lead to 17 early in the fourth quarter. Donte DiVincenzo only scored 3 points, but recorded 8 rebounds and a +20 plus/minus.
Curry hit a dagger at the top of the key to put the Warriors up 114-99 with less than four minutes on the clock. The Celtics never threatened again. Curry finished the game with 32 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists, and was tied with DiVincenzo for a game-high +20 plus/minus. Kevon Looney had 7 points and 15 rebounds while Draymond Green recorded 11 points, 4 boards, and 2 assists.
The Warriors have a couple of days off before starting another road trip. They will travel east to play the Bucks on Tuesday, when opening tip-off is scheduled for 4:30 PM Pacific.