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Warriors Observations: Dubs Fumble Lead, Lose to Celtics in Overtime

What we learned as Dubs fumble lead, lose in OT to Celtics originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

The Warriors this season have had numerous bad losses. Thursday night in Boston was not one of them.

Though the Warriors were outlasted in overtime, losing to the Boston Celtics 121-118 at TD Garden, the Warriors sent a message to the rest of the NBA. Whoever faces the Warriors in the playoffs, they’re going to be sweating. Now, the Warriors of course need to get to the postseason first before any of that talk can begin.

Leading by seven points going into the fourth quarter, the Warriors fell apart when it mattered most. They were held to only 17 points after exploding for 34 in the third. Between the fourth quarter and overtime, the Warriors were outscored by 10 points.

That’s not what champions do.

Steph Curry led the Warriors with 29 points, followed by 24 apiece from Klay Thompson and Jordan Poole. Andrew Wiggins scored 15 of his 20 points after halftime, and Draymond Green nearly had a triple-double with 11 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists.

Here are three takeaways from the Warriors falling to 22-23 on the season.

Small vs. Big

Steve Kerr made a surprise tweak to his starting lineup 20 minutes before tipoff. The Celtics went big with Al Horford and Robert Williams both starting, so Kerr did the opposite. For the first time this season, Kevon Looney wasn’t one of the five Warriors standing on the floor to begin the game.

Instead, Kerr inserted Poole, along with Curry, Thompson, Wiggins and Green. That gave the Warriors a scoring advantage with four shooters, but a size disadvantage. What were the results? 

Right from the beginning, it was clear this was going to be a game of contrasting style. The Warriors led by one point after the first quarter, in which they had a 15-point advantage from 3-point range. In that first quarter, though, the Celtics outscored the Warriors 20-2 in the paint. The Celtics finished with 16 more rebounds than the Warriors and scored 22 more points in the paint than them.

Golden State did score 15 more points from beyond the arc, and Looney still grabbed 12 rebounds off the bench. It will be very interesting to see how much Kerr tinkers with his starters going forward.

Size should soon be on the way. Kerr relayed before the game that he’s “hopeful” Jonathan Kuminga and JaMychal Green can play Friday in Cleveland, but James Wiseman is expected to miss his 10th straight game to a sprained ankle.

Boston Enemy No. 1

Like Johnny F’in Damon and Bucky F’in Dent once were for the Boston Red Sox, every Celtics fan has to be sick of seeing Steph Curry. His halftime heave from behind half-court to give the Warriors a one-point lead was the latest one example.

Curry gave the Celtics nightmares on their home court last season in the NBA Finals. Over the Warriors’ three Finals games in Boston, Curry averaged 36.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 4.3 assists while shooting 55.1 percent from the field, 52.8 percent from deep and 92.9 percent from the free-throw line. He kept the Warriors’ season alive in Game 4 and ended the Celtics’ season in Game 6.

In his first game back, Curry’s performance was up and down. Curry scored 29 points with seven rebounds, four assists, four steals and two blocks. The sharpshooter also went 9-for-25 and 6-for-18 on 3-pointers. Good, not great.

He also tried to play hero at the end of regulation, which wasn’t the right call in this case. Curry had Thompson open in the corner and could have tried to drive to at least get fouled. There will be a lot that Curry wishes he could take back when reviewing the tape.

More than anything, Celtics fans sure are happy they don’t have to see Steph again … until a possible Finals rematch.

Locked Up, Again

Jayson Tatum, who has put up MVP-like numbers this season, averaged 21.5 points vs. the Warriors in the Finals. Efficient he was not. 

The Celtics star shot 36.7 percent from the field and turned the ball over 3.8 times per game. Earlier this season when the Warriors beat the Celtics by 16 points at Chase Center, Tatum scored only 18 points while going 6-for-21 overall and 2-for-9 from 3-point range. While he stuffed the box score Thursday night, Tatum again was far from efficient.

RELATED: Warriors reportedly will “nibble” at NBA trade deadline

He scored 34 points with 19 rebounds, six assists and three steals. Tatum scored 12 of his points on free throws. His shot was off all night, going 9-for-27 from the field and 4-for-13 on 3-pointers. As the Warriors face more stars in the future, Tatum will be one to study.

Wiggins’ shot isn’t back yet. But his two-way ability is rounding into form.

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