The Golden State Warriors edged the Boston Celtics 115-111 on the road Saturday night, but they almost didn’t pull it off. Golden State led just 29-26 after the first quarter and just 69-51 at the half, and Boston held leads in both the third and fourth quarters. With less than a minute left, the game was tied at 111. But although the Warriors came up with enough plays to ice this (and to cover the 3.5-point spread while they were at it), it almost didn’t work out for them thanks to some late mistakes.
First, Golden State took a 113-111 lead on two free throws from Klay Thompson (marking the 16th and 17th-straight foul shot they’d successfully made, including a 12-for-12 run in the fourth quarter), and Steph Curry then almost forced a steal. But Kyrie Irving recovered and set up Marcus Smart for a three-point attempt. Smart missed that and Draymond Green grabbed the rebound for the Warriors, then passed to Kevin Durant, but Durant then threw the ball away on an attempted long pass for Andre Iguodala:
So Boston got the ball back, and Irving then drove and missed. But Green grabbed the rebound, and Curry grabbed it too, leading to a ball that went out of bounds off Golden State and gave the Celtics another chance to tie.
But Marcus Morris missed a three that would have put Boston ahead, and Green grabbed the rebound. The Celtics fouled him, but he couldn’t make either shot. However, he was able to grab the offensive rebound and get the ball to Curry, and then Curry was fouled and sank two free throws to ice the game.
So this wound up working out okay for Golden State in the end. But Boston certainly had late opportunities, several of which were provided directly by their opponents. And while the Warriors got the win, this certainly wasn’t an outcome that made them look invulnerable. If anything, it raised a few questions about their down-the-stretch finishing. And in particular, if they’d have lost this thanks in part to Durant’s ill-conceived long pass attempt, or to Green’s missed free throws, imagine what that would have done for the storylines…