Warriors Observations

What we learned as Warriors suffer humiliating blowout vs. Celtics

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The Warriors missed a chance to complete a perfect road trip and knock off the NBA’s best team at the same time against the Boston Celtics on Sunday at TD garden. Instead, Golden State suffered a complete and thorough 140-88 thrashing Sunday that was ugly from the start and never really got better.

It was so bad that coach Steve Kerr opted not to play Stephen Curry or Draymond Green in the second half. They watched from the bench as the Warriors’ eight-game road winning streak ended with a thud.

Klay Thompson also missed the second half with a hamstring injury, but not before he became the seventh player in NBA history to make 2,400 career 3-pointers. But on a day when the Warriors were easily and handily throttled, Thompson’s milestone moment was about the only thing that went right for the Dubs.

Lester Quinones came off the bench and paced Golden State while matching his career-high of 17 points. Moses Moody, making his fourth consecutive start in place of Andrew Wiggins, scored 11.

Curry, who was questionable because of a sore right knee, struggled through another rough shooting afternoon after appearing to get back on track in the Warriors’ previous two games. The two-time NBA MVP had four points on 2-of-13 shooting and was a minus-29.

Thompson, starting again while Brandin Podziemski was held out, scored six points. Jonathan Kuminga had just six points and two rebounds, finishing minus-30.

The Warriors (33-30) fell behind by 22 early and never recovered against the Celtics (48-12), who have won 11 straight and own the NBA’s best home record at 29-3.

Golden State, which lost for just the fourth time in its last 17 games, looked absolutely nothing like the team that rallied late and beat Boston 132-126 in OT at Chase Center on Dec. 19, 2023. They tried to stick close early, but the Celtics closed out the first quarter on a 23-1 run and never looked back.

The Warriors will get a much-needed two-day break before hosting the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday at Chase Center.

Here are the takeaways from Sunday’s game:

First-half blues

Had this happened a few days earlier when the team plane was delayed six hours getting into Toronto, the Warriors might have had a reasonable excuse for how flat they came out against the Celtics.

Granted, Golden State was missing a pair of starters, but that’s just an asterisk when looking at the overall big picture of the game.

Boston came out of the gates rolling and never let up for the first 24 minutes, racing to a ridiculous 82-38 halftime lead after holding the Warriors to just 16 points in the second quarter.

It was the fewest points scored by the Warriors in any half this season and the most that they’ve allowed in any half this season.

The 44-point lead also was the largest halftime advantage that the Celtics have had in their franchise history.

3-point throwdown

Boston set the tone early with its 3-point shooting, not a complete surprise because the Celtics have been living on the perimeter ever since Joe Mazzulla took over as head coach during the 2022-23 NBA season.

The Celtics averaged an NBA-leading 16.2 makes beyond the arc going into the game and nearly surpassed that in the first half against the Warriors. Boston put up 10 threes in the first quarter and finished 25 of 49 for the game, with nine players getting at least one. Four players made four or more threes for the Celtics.

On the other hand, Golden State, which was second in the NBA with 15.2 made threes, really struggled shooting from deep. The Warriors missed 15 of their first 18 shots behind the arc, including a pair of airballs from Curry.

The 3-point king suffered through one of his worst shooting nights of the season, whiffing on his first nine attempts from deep before ending the afternoon 0 of 9 beyond the arc, the third time during the 2023-24 season that he hasn’t made at least one 3-pointer.

Overall, Golden State shot a miserable 7 of 41 (17.1 percent) from deep.

Off and running

In addition to their shooting prowess from the perimeter, the Celtics were clearly the more athletic of the two teams and had plenty of success when they got out running.

Boston held a 42-12 advantage in fastbreak points. That type of dominance forced the Warriors onto their heels, which in turn helped opened up the perimeter for the Celtics’ shooters.

Making matters worse, Golden State committed 17 turnovers that made it easier for Boston to get its break going. The Warriors’ turnovers led to 15 points overall.

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