The best performances from both sides in overtime, Stephen Curry’s buzzer-beater from half court, and a classic example of Boston’s efforts amidst the chaos, headline how the top five players fared in Thursday’s Celtics-Warriors game Expand.
Al Horford denies Jordan Poole at the rim
Boston committed 17 turnovers to give Golden State 24 points in Thursday’s overtime win over the defending champions.
The Warriors looked like they were going to add two more when Klay Thompson took off Jaylen Brown, but Al Horford came to the rescue, tracking Jordan Poole and thwarting his layup attempt.
Greatest goalscorer of all time finishes first half in style
The Top 5 Plays series primarily focuses on highlighting the best moments the Celtics have produced and analyzing why they unfolded the way they did.
The exception is when the opponent reacts too strongly to keep it out of this list, like Stephen Curry hitting a 3-pointer from half court to beat the second-quarter buzzer.
Malcolm Brogdon Job Cleanup
The play above begins with an excellent screen by Robert Williams on Jordan Poole. Kevon Looney waits for Malcolm Brogdon under the pick-and-roll, then retreats, prioritizing protecting the rim and giving up mid-range jumpers.
But the veteran Brogdon did not settle down, he took advantage of hesitation to dribble into the penalty area. That got Curry’s attention, allowing Grant Williams to vacate a three-pointer from his corner office.
The shot didn’t land, but Brogdon pushed Looney away, meaning there was no one blocking him. The basketball gods rewarded him, sending turnovers to his best position and making a putback when Looney fouled him.
Brogdon then converted it into an old-school 3-pointer. He also had a layup in the closing seconds of the third quarter, two plays that provided the spark Boston needed going into the final inning.
Jaylen Brown forces overtime
A prime example of the Celtics stepping up amidst the chaos on Thursday was when they met their last chance, if not theirs.
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After Marcus Smart let Curry pass him and tried to poke the ball behind him, leading to a layup, Smart’s teammates expressed their frustration to him.
But Brogdon didn’t have time to let them lose focus, and on the other end, simply by getting past Klay Thompson and cutting the ball, Brogdon caused a miscommunication between the Splash Brothers.
As that unfolded, Wiggins pointed to Poole taking Brown as the former waited for Jayson Tatum to cross half court. The only problem is that Poole didn’t look when Wiggins did that, he threw up his hands, not knowing what to do.
Kudos to Poole for finding a job and participating in Smart’s potential threesome competition. But Boston’s floor generals passed the ball to Brown, who, despite Wiggins’ best efforts, buried the game-tying 3-pointer, forcing him into the fifth.
Best performance from both sides in overtime
The play above is the best possession both teams have produced in overtime, and it’s not even close.
In the clutch moments of the fourth quarter and overtime, the Celtics relied heavily on the Horns, putting two players on the elbow and attacking from there.
In this case, it’s Smart and Brown. Tatum got the former’s attention and sent the entry pass to the pinch. Brown came to set up a back screen for the other half of Boston’s star duo.
The Warriors reversed course, but Brown got in the way of Wiggins and Smart made the perfect lead pass. With Draymond Green cutting to protect the rim, Brown controlled the ball, focused, and kicked the ball to Horford for an open 3.
That shot was part of an 8-0 overtime win that helped the Celtics beat Golden State in a victory that might prove Boston’s most meaningful regular season of the season.
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