Kyrie Irving had 11 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter, including two free throws that put Boston ahead in the closing seconds, and the Celtics beat the Golden State Warriors 92-88 on Thursday night for their 14th straight victory.
Jaylen Brown had 22 points and seven rebounds, and Al Horford added 18 points and 11 rebounds.
Kevin Durant has 24 points for Golden State. The defending champion Warriors had won seven in a row.
Playing his second game since suffering a facial fracture, Irving shed his protective mask in the second quarter. Then, with the game tied at 88, he was fouled on his layup attempt and calmly made a pair of free throws. Durant then came up empty on his jumper on the other end.
Golden State led by as many as 17, but had to lean heavily on its reserves as its trio of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Durant struggled offensively.
Curry, who returned to action after missing a game with a bruised right thigh, was the most ineffective. He was 3 of 14 from the field — 2 of 9 from the 3-point line — and had nine points.
Curry sat for a long stretch after picking up his fourth foul early in the third quarter.
Boston came in limiting opponents to just 94.5 points per game, the stingiest mark in the NBA this season. It did even better against a Warriors team that entered the night averaging an NBA-best 119.6 points per game.
The Warriors went without a point from Durant’s 20-foot pull-up with 4:49 left in the third quarter until Omri Casspi’s floater with 34.5 left tied it at 68 — a 19-2 Celtics’ run.
Curry, Durant and Thompson were just 7 of 26 combined from the field in the first half. But the Warriors were able to maintain their lead thanks to 14 fast-break points.
Durant was the only one of the three to score during a 12-0 Warriors run late in the second quarter.
Boston trailed by just 47-42 at the half, closing the quarter with a 13-2 spurt.
Warriors: Their 88 points was a season-low. Had seven turnovers in third.
Celtics: Horford registered a double-double in consecutive games for the second time this season. He failed to record back-to-back double-doubles at any point last season.
Celtics guard Gordon Hayward, who has been sidelined since suffering a broken ankle on opening night, was on hand for Thursday’s game. He sat behind the Celtics’ bench and received a loud ovation from the Garden crowd when he was shown on the jumbotron.
Draymond Green has never shied away from speaking his mind. He got to do it in front of a captive audience at Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics on Thursday afternoon.
Green was invited to speak as part of a discussion on athletes as leaders. He addressed several topics, including what drives Warriors’ players willingness to speak out on issues of the day. He also addressed Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban’s criticism of Green taking issue with his objection to the use of the term “owner” in sports. Green said he believes a term like “chairman” would be more appropriate today.
“Mark Cuban will never know or understand how it feels for me, a young, black African-American, to turn on the TV and see what happened in Charlottesville,” Green said. “He’ll never have that feeling. So when I say, ‘Hey, maybe we shouldn’t use that word,’ to be honest I really don’t expect him to understand where I’m coming from.”