Associated Press

Warriors fall at home to Celtics again: Boston wins 99-86

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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The Boston Celtics had their way in Golden State’s typically imposing building again. Last April, it was wrecking the Warriors’ record 54-game home winning streak.

This time, they spoiled Golden State’s lone appearance at Oracle Arena in a nearly three-week span.

Isaiah Thomas scored 25 points, Kelly Olynyk added 17 points, five rebounds and five assists off the bench and Boston beat the sloppy Warriors 99-86 on Wednesday night,

Splash Brothers Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson combined to shoot just 4 for 17 from 3-point range as Golden State went just 6 for 30 from long range and struggled again without injured star Kevin Durant, who spoke before the game wearing a bulky brace on his injured left knee and using crutches.

“They did a good job of guarding the 3,” Thompson said. “Teams know we can kill them from 3.”

Curry had 23 points, five rebounds and six assists, and Thompson scored 25 points as the Warriors’ 10-game home winning streak was snapped – nearly a year after Boston last stunned Golden State here.

It was the Warriors’ first home defeat against the Eastern Conference this season and fifth in all out of 26 matchups.

“We’re in a tough spot in the schedule and with KD’s injury. Everybody goes through this at some point in the season,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “You just make your way through and you let everybody else freak out and panic. You just keep your nose down, keep working and things work out.”

Golden State took a 74-72 lead into the fourth quarter when Curry knocked down a buzzer-beating 3 to end the third over rookie Jaylen Brown, with the two-time reigning MVP pointing and celebrating at the young forward.

“I didn’t say anything to anyone to be honest,” Brown said. “I think my defense was doing the talking, I was playing good D until he beat me on that head fake.”

Golden State trailed 76-74 with 8:41 remaining before Draymond Green came slashing through the key for a pair of one-handed slams in just more than a minute. Boston, which handed Golden State one of its two home losses last season with that 109-106 victory on April 1, kept answering every big play.

Jae Crowder knocked down a 3 for the Celtics and Golden State then committed two straight turnovers that led to four more points as Boston built its cushion to 90-79.

Green made a steal in his career-best 23rd straight game, the longest by a Warriors player since Curry did so in 33 consecutive outings in 2015-16.

TIP-INS

Celtics: G/F James Young was out with a bruised tailbone. He tried to go through shootaround to no avail. … The Celtics are 4-7 against Golden State since 2010-11.

Warriors: Curry (12,656) is 14 points from tying his father, Dell, for 210th place on the NBA career scoring list with 12,670. … Matt Barnes received a rousing standing ovation when he checked into the game at the 3:41 mark of the first quarter in his Oracle Arena debut after re-joining the team 10 years after his first stint. … Golden State’s streak of 11 straight games with at least 10 steals ended. … Thompson reached 200 3-pointers, joining Curry as the only players in NBA history with 200 3s in five straight seasons.

ROAD TRIPPIN’

With just more than one day at home, Golden State considered this game almost like a road test given the Warriors are playing eight times in 13 days and already went East, then home for one before a back-to-back Friday at Minnesota and Saturday at San Antonio.

“We’re still on the road trip, that’s the way we look at it,” Kerr said. “This is Game 6 of an eight-game road trip, they just happened to send us to Oakland in between Atlanta and Minnesota. I’m still trying to figure that out.”

Kerr will consider resting players as needed this weekend after checking with the training staff. Of leaving town again, he said, “it seems kind of crazy but here we go.”

“I know every guy in that locker room wants to play,” Curry said.

A NEW CAR

Evan Meredith of Oakland hit four 3-pointers during a third-quarter timeout to win a new KIA car.

 

Magic sending Raptors draft pick as compensation for hiring Jeff Weltman

AP Photo/John Raoux
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The Raptors promoted Jeff Weltman, still working under Masai Ujiri, to general manager last year.

That paid off for Toronto when the Magic hired Weltman as their new president.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

The Magic have their own and the Lakers’ second-round picks next year. Even the lower of those two selections could be somewhat value.

In other words, Weltman’s already-difficult job is getting even harder simply by Orlando hiring him.

LeBron James still striving to surpass Michael Jordan

AP Photo/Chuck Burton
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LeBron James has discussed chasing Michael Jordan’s “ghost,” motivating himself by trying surpass Jordan as the greatest player in NBA history.

Just 27 points behind Jordan for the all-time playoff scoring lead – a record he could break in Cavaliers-Celtics Game 5 tonight – LeBron is again discussing that pursuit.

LeBron, via Dave McMenamin of ESPN:

“It’s just a personal goal of mine,” James said Thursday before Cavs shootaround in preparation of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Boston Celtics. “It has nothing to do with passing the rings, passing the points, passing MVPs. It’s just my personal goal to keep me motivated — that’s all.”

“You guys are going to have the conversations about who is greatest of all time and things of that nature,” James said. “It doesn’t matter to me. At the end of the day, it’s so funny that the conversation is always talked about in the NBA about who is the greatest but it’s never talked about in the NFL about who is the greatest quarterback. It’s just like: [Dan] Marino, [John] Elway, [Peyton] Manning and [Tom] Brady. All great quarterbacks, you know — and it should be the same for us.

Jordan or LeBron? Save your hot takes. LeBron just burnt them all.

The greatest quarterback of all time is never debated? Claiming that is now the hottest take in the entire realm of the Jordan-LeBron debate.

Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue: Kyrie Irving feeling ‘good’ after ankle injury

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BOSTON (AP) — Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue says that Kyrie Irving‘s left ankle is feeling “good” in advance of Cleveland’s Game 5 matchup Thursday night with the Celtics.

Irving was moving around and putting up shots during the Cavs’ morning shootaround.

The All-Star rolled his ankle in the third quarter of Game 4 when he stepped on Terry Rozier‘s foot. Irving was able to stay on the floor and finish the game, scoring a career playoff-high 42 points.

Cleveland leads Boston 3-1 and can wrap up its third straight Eastern Conference title Thursday night.

Several Celtics are also fighting injuries as they try to stave off elimination.

Jaylen Brown is listed as questionable with a right hip pointer. Jae Crowder is probable with a left groin strain, and Amir Johnson is probable with a right shoulder sprain.

Danny Ainge: Lonzo Ball declined to work out for Celtics, who hold No. 1 pick

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LaVar Ball said his son, highly touted draft prospect Lonzo Ball, would work out for only the Lakers.

You thought he was bluffing?

Celtics president Danny Ainge, whose team holds the No. 1 pick, on 98.5 the Sports Hub:

We just tried to get him in for a workout, and they politely said no.

It’s not ideal.

Listen, we’ve drafted guys that wouldn’t come in for workouts before. I mean, it’s not the end of the world. We’ve watched them play a ton. We have a lot of information on them.

Good for Ball. Professional sports teams already hold inordinate power over players entering the workforce. In no other industry are top young employees assigned to a particular company, the worst-performing companies typically getting priority, with no ability to bargain with competitors.

Ball wants to play for the Lakers, who offer proximity to his family and hold the No. 2 pick. He can’t force Boston to pass on him or Los Angeles to pick him. But he can influence decision-making.

It seemed likely the Celtics would draft Markelle Fultz, and though they could still pick Ball, him declining a workout with Boston makes that only less likely. The Lakers will probably draft Ball, but this plan carries risk. If they pass, he could fall once he gets to teams less familiar with him.

Still, Ball deserves to decide for himself how to manage his career – especially in such a closed job market. Not working out for the Celtics is probably his best path to getting where he wans to go.