Warriors 110, Celtics 100
Despite injuries and a tough schedule, the Warriors have been awfully hard-nosed lately—and that’s one reason they’re back above .500.
Andris Biedrins scored 20 points and matched his career high with 17 rebounds for the Warriors, who improved to 16-15 and never trailed in the final 46 minutes of their fifth straight home victory.
Playing without injured regulars Monta Ellis and Murphy, the Warriors basically used a seven-man rotation and still earned their second gritty victory over Boston in 10 days.
Coach Don Nelson’s message of hard work—and his zone defenses and inventive offenses—have put the Warriors in position to win in tough circumstances, even if they’re not looking their best behind clear plastic.
“It’s not about proving I’m sexy,” laughed Pietrus, who has a broken nose. “Everybody is getting going for us, and that’s what we need. Everybody is happy when we move it around and take turns. Everybody has a smile on the bench, and that’s what it means to be successful.”
The Warriors maintained a steady lead throughout the first three quarters, and they lost no ground when Davis went to the bench with his fifth foul with 9:13 to play. Biedrins provided his usual smooth inside play, and Pietrus hit three 3-pointers to keep Golden State ahead.
Even without Ellis and Murphy, Davis doesn’t have to carry the Warriors, and that thrills the point guard.
“We stuck to it,” Davis said. “We grinded, made sure we stayed on top, played our defense like we’re supposed to. We’re getting better, and that’s the good part. We’ve got some injuries, but we’re weathering the storm.”
Tony Allen had 20 points and seven rebounds in the Celtics’ fifth straight loss following a five-game winning streak. Al Jefferson and Delonte West scored 18 points apiece, but the Celtics never got closer than eight points in the fourth quarter of their third stop in a five-game West Coast road trip.
Paul Pierce has missed the Celtics’ last four games since aggravating his left foot injury during the Warriors’ 96-95 victory in Boston last week. Pierce had 27 points in that game, but scored just two in the fourth quarter—and failed to get off a shot under tight Warriors defense in the final seconds.
Boston has endured four straight double-digit losses since.
“We keep our spirits up at all times, because if we lose one game, we need to start thinking about the next one,” Allen said. “We’re short-handed right now, and we know that when we get our guys back, we’re going to be one heck of a team. We just have to grind it out and keep our heads up.”
The sellout crowd repeatedly chanted “We want Powe!” in the fourth quarter, calling for Oakland native and former Cal star Leon Powe. Coach Doc Rivers finally played the Celtics’ rookie forward with 2:49 to play, and Powe quickly scored five points and grabbed four rebounds with fans cheering his every move.
“I was going to try and get me one for the crowd,” Powe said. “I do a lot of things around this city. This is my home, where I grew up, played high-school ball. It’s all about love for me here. The crowd showed me some love, and I show them love.”
With their top scorer and floor leader sidelined back home in Los Angeles, a few Celtics played hurt to pick up the slack. West played aggressively after missing Boston’s last game with back spasms, while Wally Szczerbiak also played just his second game since returning from a sprained ankle—though Szczerbiak went 3-for-17.
Murphy missed his 10th straight game with a sore left foot, but could return for Saturday night’s game at Sacramento. Ellis missed his second straight game with a bruised right shoulder after a hard fall in Miami last week.
The Warriors had just their third sellout of the season at Oracle Arena, drawing 19,596 fans. … Celtics C Michael Olowokandi was back on the inactive list after finally returning from a five-week absence with a torn abdominal muscle in Wednesday night’s loss to the Clippers. … Davis didn’t make a turnover in 39 minutes. Jefferson made six for Boston.