As the days and weeks pass, an end to the Warriors’ historic start seems imminent. Yet despite losing starters Harrison Barnes and Klay Thompson to ankle injuries, the team invents new ways to maintain their unprecedented production.
Facing the 13–9 Boston Celtics on the road Friday, one of the more difficult opponents they’ve seen during the streak, the Warriors held strong. Behind Draymond Green’s 24 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists, five steals and a season-high five blocks, Golden State prevailed 124–119 in double overtime to improve to 24–0 on the season and extend its winning streak to 28 games. Golden State has now passed the 2012–13 Miami Heat for the second-longest streak in league history.
Without Thompson, the offensive contributions of Green went from gravy to potatoes, as the Warriors struggled to find a consistent scoring option outside of he and Stephen Curry. The team fought through two taxing extra sessions, withstanding shot after shot, and was still on its feet after 58 minutes.
The Warriors led 57–54 at the half, then began to pull away in the third by as many as 10, before Curry picked up a controversial fourth foul with 3:21 remaining in the quarter.
Boston took full advantage.
Former Warriors forward David Lee scored a pair of baskets shortly after. Kelly Olynyk began to score outside and in. Suddenly, the Celtics had taken a three-point lead with 8:52 to play in the fourth. Interim head coach Luke Walton was forced to go back to Curry, and the show began.
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Curry converted shot attempts that wouldn’t be passable for the other 99.99% of mankind. Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley answered back with big buckets. Green picked up his fifth foul. The Celtics trailed for just 19 seconds from the 8:52 mark to 0:46 left, when a deep Curry three gave the Warriors a two-point lead. A Thomas layup tied the game on the next trip down the floor, and four scoreless possessions followed to take the game into overtime.
From there, the action didn’t slow down.
Shaun Livingston and Green helped the Warriors jump out to a three-point edge late into overtime, all the while Evan Turner single-handedly kept Boston afloat with seven straight points. Eventually, Boston had no more shots left in its collective tank, and Golden State ended the marathon with the five-point victory.
The Warriors exhibited their immense depth, but also expunged much of its energy, and will have to turn around and face the Milwaukee Bucks at 8:30 p.m. ET on Saturday night. If they’re without Thompson for a second straight game, the outcome could hang in the balance, much like Friday night’s.