Celtics beat Warriors in OT, win NBA Finals rematch 121-118

Celtics beat Warriors in OT, win NBA Finals rematch 121-118

BOSTON (AP) — Ean, 7, of Al Horford, sat front row at the postgame press conference, wearing a hat from last season’s NBA Finals.

On the podium, his father needed no reminder of what Thursday night’s game against the Golden State Warriors meant for the Celtics and their fans.

“Yeah, it’s a big game,” the Boston big man said after scoring 20 points with 10 rebounds and three blocked shots, making a key 3-pointer in overtime to help the Celtics beat the Warriors 121-118 in of a rematch in the final.

“You know, I wanted to come here and I wanted to win. I really wanted to win,” Horford said. “It’s a regular season. It’s just one game. It’s over. But it’s an important game.”

Jayson Tatum scored 34 points with a career-high 19 rebounds after Horford 3 overtime with one of his own to put Boston up seven with 1:30 left. Jaylen Brown added 16 points, making a 3-pointer with 19 seconds left in regulation time to send the game into overtime.

The win ended a four-game losing streak against Golden State — the final three games in the Finals and the first rematch of the regular season, which the Warriors won in San Francisco in December.

“The fact is that we lost. We lost the championship,” Tatum said. “Nobody wins – we can’t bring that back. We can’t go back in time and change that.

“So we didn’t see it as a rematch of the final,” he said. “It’s just a game.”

Stephen Curry scored 29 points, Jordan Poole had 24 and Klay Thompson also had 24 before fouling the Warriors in overtime. The defending champions have fallen to 5-18 on the road this season.

“I’m disappointed we didn’t close the game, but I know we can do it,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “Better now than in the playoffs.”

Boston led up to 10 points in the first half, but trailed for the entire second half before Brown’s 3-pointer tied it. The Celtics scored the first four points of overtime but Draymond Green hit a pair of free throws and Curry sank a 3 to give the Warriors a 111-110 lead.

Brown floated to regain the lead, then Horford hit a 3-pointer and Tatum made his own to give the Celtics a 118-111 lead with 1:26 to play. Boston was sloppy in the stretch to give Golden State a buzzer chance, but Poole’s half-court shot wasn’t close.

The Warriors won the Game 6 Finals in Boston and then won the first rematch of the regular season in San Francisco. Although the Celtics had the NBA’s best record this season, losses to Golden State still trouble them.

Tatum struggled against the Warriors in June and scored 18 points on 6-for-21 shooting at Golden State on Dec. 10. But he credited Horford, who had 10 points, five rebounds and a blocked shot on the chase in the first period, with a strong start for Boston at home.

“Al came out and looked like he was 25 today,” Tatum said. “He came out and set the tone, he really did. And we all kind of followed that the rest of the night.


Curry wowed the Boston crowd late in the first half with an officially listed buzzer-beater from 50 feet.

The Warriors had the ball with time running out, but Malcolm Brogdon stole it from Thompson and passed it to Tatum. Curry took it away from him and lined up a 3-pointer on the other side of the half-court circle.

He crossed the net, giving the Warriors a 55-54 lead.


The Warriors led by a whopping 11, 85-74, with two minutes left in the third, but Boston came back and tied Brown’s 3. The Warriors opted not to call a timeout, and Curry dribbled past the clock before throwing a 3-point attempt that hit the front of the rim. (The Celtics managed to get a timeout with 0.5 seconds left, but couldn’t shoot.)


Brown was back for Boston after missing three games with a groin injury. Celtics center Robert Williams III missed the Dec. 10 game between the teams and sat out the first 29 games of the season recovering from left knee surgery.

With Curry returning Jan. 10 after an 11-game absence (partially dislocated left shoulder) and Wiggins returning earlier in the month after missing 15 games (strained right leg muscle; non-COVID illness), both teams were relatively healthy. good health .


Warriors: Thompson committed his fifth foul and went to the bench with eight minutes left in the fourth. … Wiggins scored 20 points. Green had 11 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists.

Celtics: Observed a minute’s silence for Chris Ford, the former player and coach who died this week at the age of 74. … Williams had 14 points and 11 rebounds. Smart scored 18. … The Celtics shot 73% from the free throw line and less than 40% from the field.


Warriors: Visit Cleveland on Friday.

Celtics: Visit Toronto on Saturday.


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