With NBA games on hold until July, we periodically take a look back at the Celtics past with the feature Classic Box Score here at BSJ. It’s exactly what it sounds like: a fun look back at epic games or performances in Celtics history.
Regular season game No. 76
Boston Celtics (43-32) vs. Golden State Warriors (68-7)
April 1, 2016
The Celtics were in the midst of a tight battle for playoff seeding in the Eastern Conference (3-6 spots) with a roster full of overachievers from Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley to Jonas Jerebko and Kelly Olynyk. Meanwhile, the Warriors were in the midst of a 54-game home winning streak at Oracle Arena during the regular season, while also chasing the all-time record of 73 wins.
The C’s had given the Warriors a heck of a fight back in December during the teams’ first meeting, nearly ending Golden State’s 23-game winning streak to begin the season in a double OT thriller. All-Star Klay Thompson was not active for that matchup but Boston’s backcourt managed to limit Curry to 9-of-27 shooting from the field as well as eight turnovers while Olynyk erupted for 28 points off the bench in a thrilling matchup. That battle set the stage for a much-anticipated rematch at Oracle three months later.
The Celtics were without starting wing Jae Crowder but still managed to corral the Splash Brothers in the first half, limiting them to just 11 points on a combined 4-of-13 shooting. That was a season-low for them combined in a half all season and a tribute to Avery Bradley’s stellar on-ball defense.
The All-Stars began to get hot in the third quarter of the back-and-forth affair as Isaiah Thomas erupted for 18 points in the frame while Curry hit all of his six shots from the field.
Curry’s cooled off again in the fourth quarter while the C’s got terrific efforts from their entire supporting cast. Not only did Thomas score all 22 of his points in the second half but Evan Turner (21 points, 5 assists) and Jared Sullinger (20 points, 13 rebounds) delivered monster efforts to help Boston keep pace with the Warriors firepower.
The Celtics pushed a one-point lead entering the fourth quarter to as many as 10 points before the Warriors rallied to trim the deficit to two in the final minutes. That’s as close as they would get however as Turner (six straight points in final three minutes) had an answer for every Golden State score to keep them from tying things up. A Harrison Barnes 3 with 10 seconds left brought Golden State within one but Thomas got free on an inbounds play to push the lead up back to three before the C’s got one final stop.
—It’s kind of crazy to me looking at this roster to figure out how this group