Editor’s Note: Celtic Nation brings you a new feature – Behind Enemy Lines – which will give you a game recap from the opposing camp. This offering comes from Marcus Thompson II, Mercury News:
OAKLAND — It’s pretty much a trend now. The Warriors get up big, get comfortable and let the team back in before closing it out.
Saturday night, the Boston Celtics were the team given false hope. The Warriors saw their 20-point third-quarter lead cut to single digits in the fourth quarter. But backup point guard Jarrett Jack took over and powered the Warriors to a 101-83 victory.
Golden State (21-10), off to its best start since the 1991-92 season, has won five of its past seven games.
The Warriors’ drubbing of the Celtics (14-15) marks the fifth time in the West Coast Era of the franchise that they’ve won 12 games in a month.
The Warriors are 13-2 against Eastern Conference teams.
“I will not be satisfied, and we will not be satisfied as a team,” coach Mark Jackson said. “We will enjoy the success we have had, but we will not fall in love with what we have been able to do thus far. Situations like that are setups to let your guard down and get knocked out.”
For the second consecutive game, the Warriors seemed to let their guard down late and nearly squandered a 20-point lead. In Friday’s win over the Philadelphia 76ers, they saw 20-point lead trimmed to five before they buckled down and pulled it out.
Against the Celtics, they saw their 20-point lead trimmed to eight in the fourth quarter.
Boston had the lead down to 78-70 when Jack hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key. After the Celtics’ Paul Pierce missed a floater (he was 4 of 20 with 13 points), Jack converted a driving layup.
The Celtics’ Jason Terry hit a 3 to get the Warriors’ advantage back down to 10. But Jack answered by setting up a Charles Jenkins jumper to start a 9-1 run. Jack’s drive-and-dish to Stephen Curry for a 3-pointer put the Warriors up 92-74 and effectively ended any hopes Boston had of winning.
Jack finished with 14 points, four rebounds and four assists.
“Every single game we just try to get better and better,” David Lee said after totaling 20 points on 10-of-15 shooting. “I thought our defense played a big role tonight by holding them under 40 percent and made up for the fact that we didn’t have our best night offensively.”
The Warriors controlled most of the game as Boston struggled to score. The Celtics, though, had to play without point guard Rajon Rondo — who’s averaging a league-leading 11.7 assists per game. He sat out with a bruised hip.
With Avery Bradley also out after shoulder surgery and Leandro Barbosa not with the team for personal reasons, the Celtics were sorely depleted at guard.
Golden State’s defense took advantage, holding the Celtics to 36 percent shooting. The Warriors really clamped down in the second quarter, holding Boston to 6-of-27 shooting and 17 points.
The Warriors pushed their six-point lead after the first quarter to a 57-40 halftime advantage.
The lead got as high as 73-53 after a Curry floater in the lane with 4:59 left in the third quarter.
But the Warriors missed their next five shots and Boston ran off six quick points to cut the deficit to 14.
A Curry 3-pointer seemed to settle things, but a fit of turnovers sparked another Celtics spurt. Curry committed two of the four straight turnovers by the Warriors — both on risky, one-handed passes. The latter led to a breakaway dunk by Boston’s Brandon Bass, cutting the Warriors’ advantage to 11. Celtics rookie Jared Sullinger closed the quarter with a jump hook to send the Warriors into the fourth quarter with a single-digit lead, 76-67.
“We have to take care of the ball,” said Curry, who had five of the Warriors’ 19 turnovers, tainting an otherwise productive night: 22 points, nine assists, four rebounds and three steals. “Guys were making plays at the other end.
“The only thing we have to do is cut out turnovers and we’ll be all right.”
- The victory over Philadelphia on Friday gave the Warriors 20 wins before Jan. 1 for the first time since the 1980-81 season. Golden State finished 12-4 in December. The last time it had won at least 10 games in a month was March 2008.The Warriors have already put together the best long trip in team history, and at 11-6 away from home, they are off to their best road start since the 1991-92 season.
“We’re really proud,” Lee said. “We’re trying to establish our own history.—
- Jackson had glowing words for Celtics coach Doc Rivers before the game. “Doc is a guy that I talked to during the process of becoming a head coach,” Jackson said. “I value him. He’s a great coach, a heck of a basketball mind and has been very helpful during the process.”He’s a guy I have a tremendous amount of respect for and I’m thankful.”
Jackson credits Rivers for paving the way for him getting into the coaching profession.
“I value the fact that he did it by not being an assistant coach and understood the question marks,” Jackson said. “He was successful. He’s a championship coach and in the discussion for best in the business.
“I do not take it for granted how that paved the way and made it easier for somebody to give me an opportunity.”