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Celtics outlast Warriors in overtime slugfest, 121-118

Al Horford turned back the clock, the Warriors turned the ball over too much, and the team is still stuck on five road wins.

Golden State Warriors v Boston Celtics
Steph Curry makes a halfcourt shot to end the first half and hits TD Garden with the gas face.
Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The Golden State Warriors were poised to do the unthinkable. No, not sweep the Boston Celtics in a Finals rematch. We’re talking about clinching a winning road trip.

The Dubs came oh-so-close, leading by three points in the final seconds before Jaylen Brown sent to the game to OT with a clutch triple and the team ran out of gas in the extra period. But there are two things the Warriors haven’t been able to do in the 2022-23 season: Guard the corner three, and win consistently on the road. Thursday night, Al Horford punished them for both.

Steve Kerr devised a new starting lineup for the game, sitting Kevon Looney in favor of a three-guard lineup with Jordan Poole. It went about how you’d expect: The Warriors hit a lot of threes, and the Celtics scored a lot inside.

The guard trio lit it up, combining for 77 points and 12 three-pointers. Curry had 29, Poole and Thompson had 24, and Andrew Wiggins also put in 20 points. The three-man bench only scored ten points - Anthony Lamb had a rough game on both ends - but Kevon Looney delivered 12 rebounds.

For Boston, Jayson Tatum led the way with 34 points and a whopping 19 rebounds. The Celtics outrebounded the Warriors 63-47, and 18-8 on the offensive glass. The ageless Al Horford had 20 and 10 with three blocks, Robert Williams III had 14 and 11 (seven offensive boards), and Marcus Smart had 18 and four (turnovers).

Jaylen Brown had a quiet game, up until the last seconds of the 4th quarter. Then he hit a huge three, and went on to tally five points and two assists in overtime to finish with 16 points and nine rebounds.

The Warriors took a one-point lead into halftime after Marcus Smart stole a Curry pass, Curry stole it right back from Jayson Tatum, and drained three from the back of the logo. Remember when Kyrie Irving disrespectfully stomped on Lucky the Leprechaun? Steph respected the little imp and launched before he even got to Lucky.

Golden State ran their lead as high as nine points in the 3rd quarter, but the game changed when Klay Thompson committed his fourth and fifth fouls within seconds of each other earlier in the first. Curry had to come back in early, and Boston started to come back.

Boston clawed their way back to within a point after two Tatum free throws with 5:18 remaining. Steve Kerr won a replay challenge on an out-of-bounds call with two minutes to go, but after they missed, Marcus Smart found Tatum on a runout, and Klay answered with a layup.

Then it was Al Horford time. He hit a three to cut the Warriors lead to one, then blocked a Jordan Poole layup at the other end. Tatum turned the ball over on consecutive possessions, Klay made a layup, and then Jaylen Brown made his first three-pointer of the game at the biggest moment.

Down eight points in OT, the Warriors made a furious rally in the final seconds. Wiggins got fouled on a three-point shot and made two of three foul shots. Curry stole the ball and found Donte DiVincenzo for three, and suddenly it was three-point game. Smart threw the ball away again, but Brown made a miraculous save out of bounds to rescue the Cetlics.

The Warriors forced a miss on the ensuing Celtics possession, but with only three seconds left, their final attempt was a half-court prayer from Jordan Poole that was not answered.

Golden State has a chance to get back to .500 and clinch their first winning road trip of the season tomorrow night in Cleveland, but this feels like a game where Kerr rests all of his starters, besides temporary starter Jordan Poole, especially after all five starters played 36 minutes or more.

Boston did a halftime tribute to Chris Ford, the former Boston coach and player who passed away on Tuesday. He played for the team from 1978-82, and coached the team from 1990-95. It’s appropriate that the tribute came when Steph Curry was visiting the TD Garden, because Ford made the first three-pointer in NBA history in 1979.

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