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The Celtics had lost six games in a row in Oakland. They were injured quite badly. And at times, it looked like the streak would become seven. But not to be deterred, the Celtics exploded in the second half to defeat the Golden State Warriors 115-93. Delonte West and Semih Erden returned, but Kendrick Perkins left just 1:29 into the second half after hitting his non-surgically repaired knee against Stephen Curry; Perk did not return, so keep an eye on him.
The game started innocuously enough; even though Paul Pierce started things off with a bad pass turnover, Rajon Rondo scored the first bucket. Boston didn’t waste much time in opening a 19-10 lead, either. The Warriors then stabilized themselves, and traded layups, jumpers and free throws with the Celtics. After 54 seconds of scoreless action, including two unproductive offensive boards from the Warriors, Boston preserved their nine-point lead with 1:25 to go in the quarter. However, the Warriors went on a huge tear, and scoring eight straight to end the quarter and cut Boston’s lead to 31-30.
Golden State completed the tear to take their first lead 13 seconds into the next quarter. Boston recovered enough to retake a three-point lead shortly thereafter, but after some back-and-forth, Golden State resumed their rush over the weary Celtics. With 4:27 left, Boston trailed 52-45, their largest deficit of the night. But that was all Boston was willing to put up with on the night/morning. Except for a defensive three seconds free throw, Boston scored the next nine points to take the lead 54-53. Golden State tried to reassert themselves, but after Kevin Garnett hit a couple from the charity stripe with .9 seconds left, Boston tied the game at 60 at the half.
Although the offense for Boston remained consistent, the defense cut Golden state from 60 to 33 points when comparing halves. The Warriors’ scoring was few and far between. Boston went up by two. Then four. Then eight. Then after 2:48 of scoreless Celtics time, and another 1:22 and 1:26 of such time, Rondo’s three gave the Celtics a 10-point lead, 88-78, with 1.0 seconds left in the 3rd.
Golden State cut the lead to four points; Boston didn’t score for the first 2:46 of the 4th quarter. But Boston took the opportunity to really ratchet up the pressure when Golden State didn’t score between the 9:05 and 4:58 marks. By that point, the Warriors “cut” the lead to 12. Boston led 110-90 with 2:25 left. And just for the sake of putting the cherry on top, Avery Bradley hit a jump shot with 20.7 seconds left (and Luke Harangody got a rebound with 12.9 left) to give Boston their biggest lead of the game.
It’s a tough call against Rondo, who was four rebounds away from a triple-double, but he also turned the ball over five times to Garnett’s one. Garnett also threw in two blocks and was himself four assists away from the triple-double.
In a combined 29:35, the two returning Leprechauns scored zero points on 0/5 from the field (0/2 from beyond the arc). Not much happened with them.