Last-second heroics by Davis lift Warriors past CelticsFeb 21, 2008 - 8:31 AM By Ryan Leong PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
OAKLAND, California (Ticker) - The Golden State Warriors rebounded from an ugly loss against the Utah Jazz by beating the best team in the Eastern Conference.
Baron Davis led five players in double figures scoring 29 points including the game winning shot as the Warriors came back from a 12-point third quarter deficit to beat the Boston Celtics, 119-117, on Wednesday night.
"Well what a game, what a game," Warriors coach Don Nelson said. "We battled back from a terrible start in Utah and looking back it was probably wise to pull the plug on that one a little early in the third quarter when I didn't think we had much of a chance, so we saved them for tonight.
"Call it what you will but it really was a good game, I suppose, to be in and compete in and I think I've said this about five times, but win or lose it was a joy to be in against such a great team and we had to play well over our heads to win it."
For the Celtics, they have lost two straight against Western Conference opponents after going 16-0 against the West in the first half of the season.
"Every loss is tough," Celtics forward Paul Pierce said. "You just got to learn from it and understand what we're doing wrong and clean it up. We still have three more games on this Western Conference trip. We had our chances tonight but the Golden State Warriors, they really pressed the issue and were the aggressor tonight. It paid off for them in the end."
Both teams were playing on back-to-back nights. The Celtics lost at Denver on Tuesday night.
"It's got to be better no doubt about it," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said about his team's defense. "We didn't lose on the last shot, we lost when their (center) is rolling down the middle of the paint and no one is picking him up six times during the game. That's where you lose the game. We've got to get back to doing our job full-time (on defense), not doing it a quarter here and a quarter there and picking and choosing."
Ray Allen scored 14 of his 32 points in the third quarter for the Celtics who lost consecutive games for only the second time this season.
"We could've still won the game but from a defensive perspective, these teams out West are going to score points, they're going to get the ball up and down the floor," Allen said. "We knew it in both games but we have to recognize and get back and build up from inside out. I think right now, these two games kind of slapped us in the face and the third game (against Phoenix) is not going to be any easier."
The Warriors were behind only two points at the start of the fourth quarter and they took the lead with a 9-2 run to take a five-point lead with 9:42 remaining. The lead was short-lived as the Celtics went ahead on a jumper by Kevin Garnett.
Golden State surged ahead and down by four points, the Celtics got a clutch 3-pointer by Pierce with 1:38 remaining.
Harrington made a step-back jumper for a 114-111 Warriors lead with 1:19 to play. Rajon Rondo answered with a bank shot but Monta Ellis made a fade-away jumper for a three-point edge with less than a minute to go.
Baron Davis was fouled by Rondo and Davis made only one free throw and a four point Golden State lead with 34 seconds left.
Pierce made two critical free throws with 28 seconds to go. The Warriors had the ball and ran the clock down to 12 seconds when Matt Barnes made an ill-advised drive to the lane only to lose the ball. On the ensuing Celtics possession, Pierce drove into the lane and Harrington was called for a blocking foul putting Pierce at the line.
Pierce made both from the line and it was tied 117-117 with 6.5 seconds left and the Warriors called a 20-second timeout.
Davis had the ball for the final attempt and made a 20 foot fadeaway for the win.
"I was shooting that one, that was going up," Davis said. "I knew where I needed to get to on the floor. A nice mid-range jumper. That's what I wanted. I knew I could get a shot up with 6.5 seconds on the clock. I just wanted to get my feet underneath me and get that ball up in the air."
The Celtics would take the lead for most of the second quarter going on a 7-1 run just before the break. The Warriors were only 5-of-18 from the field and trailed 57-50 at halftime.
The Celtics scored the first nine points of the game but the Warriors would come back to trail by five points with 3:41 to play in the first quarter after a fast break slam dunk by Mickael Pietrus.
The Warriors would tie the game at 24-24 on a 3-pointer by Pietrus with 2:42 remaining in the period. Ellis ran the floor and scored a beautiful finger-roll layup as Golden State led 32-29 after one quarter.
Warriors swingman Stephen Jackson did not dress for the game. He left Tuesday night's game at Utah in the third quarter with a sprained left ankle. Jackson had tweaked his ankle against Sacramento on February 9 but did not miss any playing time.
"We're at the point where we can have guys miss games and feel that we have enough guys that can pull their weight and step up to get big wins," Harrington said. "We weren't concerned at all. We believed we can win and that showed in our play."
GOLDEN STATE 119 FINAL
Feb 21 1:18 AM
GOLDEN STATE 82 END, 3RD QTR
Feb 21 12:25 AM
GOLDEN STATE 50 HALFTIME
Feb 20 11:40 PM
GOLDEN STATE 32 END, 1ST QTR
Feb 20 11:06 PM
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