10:30 PM ET, December 28, 2009
ORACLE Arena, Oakland, CA
OAKLAND, Calif. -- For a team that has been so challenged to win this season, earning back-to-back victories is something to celebrate for the Golden State Warriors.
Especially against opponents the caliber of Phoenix and Boston.
Monta Ellis scored 37 points and converted two free throws with 2.3 seconds left, and the Warriors rallied from an early 18-point deficit to hand the Celtics just their second two-game losing streak this season with a 103-99 victory Monday night.
"It was a wonderful game for us," coach Don Nelson said. "Wins are hard to find anyway, especially against two quality teams in a row."
Anthony Randolph added 18 points and nine rebounds and scored six straight during an 8-2 run late in the third quarter to put the Warriors ahead. C.J. Watson had six of his career-high seven steals in the second quarter, matching the Warriors' record for a quarter, and also contributed 11 points and seven assists.
Rajon Rondo had 30 points and 15 assists to lead Boston, which had its nine-game road winning streak snapped in a 92-90 loss to the Clippers in Los Angeles on Sunday night. The Celtics couldn't convert on a final chance in the waning seconds this time. They haven't won in the Bay Area since Dec. 29, 2003.
Boston got the ball back with 43 seconds left after Eddie House tied up Anthony Morrow but Ray Allen missed a quick 3-pointer. Allen finished with 24 points and five rebounds and had 18 points on his first 11 shots. Kevin Garnett added 16 points and nine boards for Boston, which lost consecutive games for the first time since Nov. 13-14.
"Obviously, last night was frustrating for us and to get in basically the same situation tonight is not good," Allen said. "We have to shore it up."
Ellis shot 15 of 26 for the Warriors, who won back-to-back games for just the second time this season. They ended a seven-game losing streak with a 132-127 home win over the Suns on Saturday. Ellis posted his third straight 30-point game, fifth in six and 11th in the last 19. He's making quite a bid to become Golden State's first All-Star since Latrell Sprewell in 1997.
"I felt the energy when I first came in the gym," Ellis said. "The last two games there's been something different. When you feel that energy, you've got to give the crowd something to cheer about."
Ellis scored five straight points late in the third quarter, including a 3-pointer with 29.3 seconds left. Then Rondo knocked down a 3 at the buzzer on the other end to keep Boston within four, 80-76, heading into the final period. House started the fourth with a 3 then hit another long jumper the next time down.
Boston's skid here is its longest on the road against any opponent. The Warriors have won 13 of the last 16 at home in the series overall.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers called Oracle Arena a tough place to play and win -- especially coaching against Nelson's teams.
"You just expect everything," Rivers said. "With them, you don't know what kind of crazy lineups they're going to have out there."
Starting Golden State center Andris Biedrins returned after missing a total of 25 games, giving the Warriors a more conventional lineup with Randolph at power forward. Biedrins had been sidelined since Nov. 8 with inflammation in his right groin where it attaches to the abdomen.
He received a roaring ovation when announced before the game but was ineffective, finishing with no points and four rebounds in 13 minutes.
Boston played without injured star Paul Pierce for the third straight game. He had fluid drained from his right knee last Wednesday and was expected to miss two weeks. He could be ready when the team returns home from its six-day, four-game trip to host Toronto on Saturday.
The Celtics shot 62.5 percent (15 of 24) in the first quarter but couldn't hold a big lead.
Rondo made 7 of 9 free throws a night after missing two with 1.5 seconds left. Rivers wants Rondo to face tough free throw situations in crunch time so he becomes more mentally tough at the line. "I just want him to stay aggressive," Rivers said. "He's becoming a better free throw shooter. He's going to make a lot more than he misses, and he's going to miss a few. That's just part of being a better basketball player. ... He has to get up and make them. He will." ... Rivers isn't sure what kind of rehab, if any, Pierce might need when he's ready to return. ... Boston is 13-3 on the road, including 4-2 vs. the Western Conference. ... The Warriors improved to 3-11 in December. ... Actor Donnie Wahlberg, of former boy band New Kids on the Block, attended the game to see his Celtics. ... Oakland Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell was booed when he made his exit late in the game.
Team Stat Comparison
|FGM-FGA||40-80 (.500)||40-87 (.460)|
|3PM-3PA||5-19 (.263)||4-13 (.308)|
|FTM-FTA||14-21 (.667)||19-29 (.655)|
|Fast Break Points||21||20|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||24 (2/0)||20 (2/0)|