The Boston Celtics have played with a decided lack of joy in recent weeks. Every game had become a slog. In Oakland, there was plenty of joyful noise, as the Celtics rolled over the Golden State Warriors 128-95. This was the Warriors worst home loss under Steve Kerr.
Gordon Hayward was the best player on the floor. Go ahead, rub the sleep out of your eyes and read it again, but it’s true. Hayward finished with 30 points on 12-of-16 from the field. He was aggressive from the moment he hit the floor. This effort came after a string of poor games and following an anonymous Warriors player saying after the game in Boston that “Hayward is a liability for the Celtics”.
Beyond Hayward’s strong performance, it was a connected effort from the jump for the Celtics. They started the game on an 11-0 run. The defense was executing at the high-level we’ve come to expect to when Boston is at their best. And the offense was moving and sharing the ball, as they finished with 38 assists on 49 baskets.
Kyrie Irving was one of five Celtics in double-figure scoring for the night, with 19 points. He also had 11 assists and five rebounds. Late in the third quarter, Irving took a charge and came up all smiles. The very next play, he found Hayward in the corner and was grinning and woofing at the Warriors before Hayward even let the shot go. It was easily the happiest Irving has looked on the court in a long time.
Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum took advantage of the Warriors switching DeMarcus Cousins on them to score 18 and 17 points respectively. Overall, the Celtics shot 51 percent from the floor as a team.
Golden State made a brief run in the third quarter on the back of 12 fast break points Many of them came from players leaking out on jumpers taken by Boston. Brad Stevens called a timeout, got his team settled down, and the Celtics closed the quarter on a 12-0 run to push the lead to 29 points.
The win got a four-game West Coast swing off to a great start for Boston. The Celtics will look to keep the good times going tomorrow night at the Sacramento Kings.
GAME RECAP FROM ORACLE ARENA: