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Celtics stretch winning streak to 14 games after epic comeback against Golden State

Trailing 66-49, the Celtics won last night’s clash 92-88.

NBA: Golden State Warriors at Boston Celtics Jaylen Brown drives and dunks: Brown starred for the Celtics hours after his best friend's death. Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

RALLYING FROM 17 points down, the Boston Celtics stretched their winning streak to 14 games by beating Golden State 92-88 in a showdown of the NBA’s top teams last night.

Boston improved the NBA’s best record to 14-2, having last lost in their home opener to Milwaukee on 18 October, while the Warriors, who had been top of the Western Conference, fell to 11-4 with their seven-game winning streak snapped.

Jaylen Brown led the Celtics with 22 points after learning of his best friend’s death only hours before and Kyrie Irving ditched a plastic mask protecting facial fractures to score 11 of his 16 points in the final five minutes to spark Boston’s win.

“They were just tougher and smarter,” said Warriors coach Steve Kerr, who joked before the game that “the fate of the universe rests upon the results.”

The Celtics are on their longest winning streak since taking 14 in a row in 2010 and five shy of the club record from December 2008.

Irving was supposed to don his mask for two weeks after suffering a facial fracture last Friday, but removed it in the third quarter as the Celtics, trailing 66-49, scored 19 consecutive points to set up the last-minute drama.

Klay Thompson’s three-pointer with 1:22 to play lifted Golden State ahead 88-86 but the Celtics equalized on two Irving free throws after he was fouled by Thompson.

Draymond Green missed a three-point shot and then fouled Irving, who sank two free throws with 14 seconds remaining to put the Celtics ahead to stay.

Kevin Durant missed a baseline jumper and Boston grabbed the rebound, setting up Jayson Tatum’s two free throws to produce Boston’s biggest lead and final victory margin.

After Brown learned of the Wednesday death of his best friend, Trevin Stede, he was not going to play, but a call from Stede’s mother inspired him.

“I feel like he was with me,” Brown said. “I felt like it was me and him.”

Source: ESPN/YouTube

Irving praised Brown’s inner strength and performance.

“It’s never a good thing when someone’s going through it,” Irving said. “You do your best to console them but at the end of the day it’s the strength within themselves and he showed a lot of that.

“To go out there and perform the way he did, I knew exactly where the game ball was going.”

Two-time NBA MVP Curry said the chances of a rematch with Boston in the NBA Finals were “very, very likely”.

“They are playing the best right now in the East,” Curry said. “Until they beat Cleveland — they have done it three years in a row — we’ll see.”

© – AFP 2017

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