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Celtics end Warriors’ 54-game home winning streak

By Reuters - Apr 02,2016 - Last updated at Apr 02,2016

Boston Celtics’ Amir Johnson drives to the basket as Golden State Warriors’ Andrew Bogut (right) and Draymond Green defend during their NBA game in Oakland, California, on Friday (AP photo by Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Isaiah Thomas scored all 22 of his points in the second half, including a driving lay-up with 8.3 seconds remaining, as the Boston Celtics ended the Golden State Warriors’ 54-game home winning streak with a 109-106 stunner on Friday.

The home loss was Golden State’s first since January 31, 2015, a streak that includes 36 straight wins this season.

After Harrison Barnes buried a three-pointer to get Golden State within 107-106 with 10.2 seconds to play, the Celtics called a timeout and got the ball to Thomas, who sneaked in behind the Warriors’ defence for the game-clinching hoop.

Golden State still had two opportunities to tie but Stephen Curry misfired from 28 feet and, after an offensive rebound, Barnes was not close on a desperation 24-footer, allowing Boston to snap a five-game losing streak against the Warriors.

The Warriors (68-8) retained a 4 1/2-game lead over the San Antonio Spurs in the race for top seeding in the Western Conference play-offs. Golden State had won five in a row.

The Celtics (44-32), meanwhile, kept pace with Miami (44-31) and Charlotte (44-31) in a tightly bunched battle for the third seed in the East.

Boston, which had taken the Warriors to two overtimes before losing at home on December 11, improved to 2-2 on their five-game Western swing after rebounding from a 116-109 loss at Portland on Thursday.

Evan Turner had 21 points and Jared Sullinger recorded a 20-point, 12-rebound double-double for the Celtics as Thomas led Boston in scoring for a franchise-record 15th straight time.

Curry had a game-high 29 points for Golden State, hitting eight three-pointers along the way.

Draymond Green had 16 points to go with team-highs in rebounds (nine) and assists (seven), and Klay Thompson added 15 points.

The Warriors trailed 103-96 before Thompson hit a three-pointer, Curry converted a drive and Shaun Livingston dropped in two free throws in a 7-2 run that got Golden State within two with 46.9 seconds to go.

Green then stole the ball from Boston’s Amir Johnson but after a timeout, gave it back to the same player with 23.7 seconds left, giving the Celtics an opportunity to run out the clock.

Turner made it a four-point game, 107-103, on two free throws with 18.1 seconds left but the Warriors immediately countered with the three-pointer by Barnes, closing the gap to one with still 10.2 seconds left.

After a timeout, Thomas scored off an inbounds play to increase the Boston lead to 109-106 with 8.3 seconds remaining.

The Celtics had led 84-83 in the second minute of the fourth quarter before using a 9-0 burst to open their biggest lead of the game to that point.

Reserve guard Marcus Smart converted a driving hoop and a three-pointer to cap the run.

After having scored 36 points in the third quarter, Golden State had only four to show for the first 5 1/2 minutes of the final period and was still down by 10, 95-85, before backup guard Leandro Barbosa buried a three-pointer.

Green followed with a three-point play on a drive and added a three-pointer, and when he followed in a Brandon Rush miss with 3:53 to go, the Warriors had reduced the deficit to 99-96.


But then a key sequence went in Boston’s favour, when a Warriors fast break resulted in a Rush turnover, with Thomas benefiting at the other end with a lay-up that extended the margin to five with 3:21 left.

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