Rapid Reaction: Warriors 101, Celtics 83
THE NITTY GRITTY
Steph Curry scored a game-high 22 points on 8-of-13 shooting (4-of-5 beyond the 3-point arc) with nine assists, while David Lee kicked in 20 points, five rebounds, and four assists for a Warriors squad that has now won 11 of its last 14 games. Harrison Barnes (15 points, 8 rebounds) and Jarrett Jack (14 points) aided the Warriors' outburst, one that saw Golden State shoot a whopping 63.2 percent (12 of 19 overall) beyond the 3-point arc. The Rajon Rondo-less (hip) Celtics got a team-high 18 points from Courtney Lee (who took Rondo's spot in the starting lineup), while Jason Terry (6 of 19) and Paul Pierce (4 of 20) labored from the field while finishing with 13 points apiece.
A mere three minutes in, the Warriors embarked on a little 8-2 run to open an early double-digit lead (19-9, 6:51 to go in first quarter). The Celtics made it a one-possession game four minutes later, but it was a fleeting moment. An 11-0 burst by Golden State in the second quarter culminated with a Lee layup and a 44-25 advantage with six minutes to play in the first half. Boston didn't get closer than eight the rest of the way.
THE BRIGHT SPOTS
If you're looking for silver linings, lean on this: Jared Sullinger had a phenomenal first half and finished 6-of-8 shooting with 12 points and eight rebounds over 25 minutes. On a night Boston shot 36 percent, Sullinger was the only Boston player who connected on more than half of his attempts. Sullinger was even in plus/minus in an 18-point loss, which about sums up his effort. Jeff Green had nine rebounds (albeit with only six points on 2-of-11 shooting), while Lee continues to play his best basketball without Rondo on the floor (logging a whopping 40 minutes).
WHAT IT MEANS
The Celtics (14-15) dipped below .500 for the first time since Nov. 9 when they were 2-3 after a loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. No excuses here: Without Rondo, the Celtics offered little resistance. The Warriors shot 51.4 percent from the floor, couldn't miss from beyond the arc, and crushed Boston's confidence with every made jumper. Golden State scored a mere 24 points in the paint (the Celtics had 30), which shows just how effective they were with their spot-up shooting. Golden State turned the ball over 18 times (for 22 points) and it didn't even matter. The Warriors led by as much as 22 and were never in danger of letting this one get away from them. Boston didn't get enough from its veterans as Pierce and Kevin Garnett were a combined minus-52 in plus/minus. The Celtics wrap up a four-game road trip by visiting the Kings on Sunday night.
Play Podcast Buster Olney talks to Tim Kurkjian and Bill Brink about the teams most likely to make a move for Jon Lester. Plus, Matt Gelb on why the Phillies have stayed so quiet.
Play Podcast Buster Olney and Jayson Stark talk about the chances that Jon Lester and David Price will be moved before the deadline. Plus, Roch Kubatko on the Orioles' momentum.
Play Podcast ESPN NFL analyst Tedy Bruschi weighs in on the responsibility Tom Brady shoulders for the Patriots, Rob Gronkowski's physicality and how New England will use Darrelle Revis.
Play Podcast Buster Olney talks to Alex Speier, Karl Ravech and Justin Havens about whether the Red Sox will move Jon Lester before the trade deadline, pace of play and much more.