Sun, Apr 03, 2016 - Page 20 News List

Warriors’ home winning streak halted by Celtics

CHASING HISTORY:The Warriors must now win five of their last six games to beat the 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls’ record of 72 wins in a regular-season campaign

AFP and Reuters

The Celtics’ Isaiah Thomas, right, fights for a loose ball against the Warriors’ Klay Thompson, center, and Stephen Curry during the second half of their NBA game in Oakland, California, on Friday.

Photo: AP

The Golden State Warriors’ record-setting home winning streak ended on Friday as the Boston Celtics defeated the reigning NBA champions 109-106.

The Warriors had won 54 straight regular-season games on their home floor in Oakland, California, a record streak dating back 14 months — to Jan. 27 last year.

“It’s a weird feeling,” Warriors star Stephen Curry said. “We’ve just got to be able to move on from it. Maybe it’s a good reminder going into the playoffs [that] we don’t want this feeling.”

The Warriors had won the last 18 home games of last season and had opened this campaign with 36 straight in front of fans in Oakland.

“We wanted to stop that,” said Boston’s Isaiah Thomas, who scored all 22 of his points in the second half. “As a team, we just settled down and got a win in a hostile environment.”

The Warriors, who suffered just their eighth defeat of the season, are still chasing regular-season history in the shape of the NBA record of 72 wins in a campaign set by the 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls.

The Warriors, now 68-8, must win five of their last six games to beat the Bulls’ record.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr had his criticisms of his players, but said after the defeat he congratulated them.

“They just won 54 home games in a row,” Kerr said. “What our guys have accomplished is incredible. I don’t know if people understand the intensity it takes and the work it takes to put together a streak like that.”

That said, Kerr said the Warriors’ execution was “bad.”

“You know, 22 turnovers that led to 27 points... We just weren’t able to get a rhythm until it was really late and then we needed to make every play and we didn’t do that.”

After Harrison Barnes drained a three-pointer to pull the Warriors within 107-106 with 10.2 seconds to play, the Celtics called a timeout and got the ball to Thomas, who snuck behind the Warriors’ defense for the game-clinching basket.

The Warriors still had two chances to tie, but Curry misfired from three-point range and although Golden State corralled the rebound Barnes was off-target with a desperation attempt.

The Celtics, who had taken the Warriors to double-overtime before losing in Boston on Dec. 11 last year, were coming off a 116-109 loss at Portland on Thursday, but kept pace with the Miami Heat in the battle for the third seed in the Eastern Conference.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens said the key was his team’s ability to hang on in the face of Golden State’s 36-point third quarter — keyed by Curry’s 21 points in the frame.

The Celtics scored 37 themselves in the period to take an 82-79 lead into the fourth.

“I thought the biggest moments to the game were us scoring consecutively when [Curry] scored,” Stevens said. “Because when he got going — that’s usually when they run away with a 10-0 or a 12-0 run.”

The Warriors maintained a four-and-a-half-game lead over the San Antonio Spurs atop the Western Conference standings.

CAVALIERS 110, HAWKS 108, OT

LeBron James and Cleveland on Friday tried to put Atlanta away in the first half, building a 21-point lead in the second quarter, but ended up needing overtime to get the job done.

James finished with 29 points, 16 rebounds and nine assists, while Kyrie Irving hit some big free throws in overtime to lead the Cavaliers past the Hawks 110-108 at the Philips Arena.

It was the sixth straight win for the Cavaliers over Atlanta, including last season’s four-game sweep in the Eastern Conference finals.

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