Plodding Celtics pounded by athletic, sharp shooting Warriors


Perhaps the Golden State Warriors should change their nickname to the Golden State Snipers.

Judging from the way that they nail baskets from the parking lot, it certainly would be appropriate.

Stephen Curry hit 4 of 5 from beyond the arc and scored a game-high 22 points, also dishing nine dimes in leading a Golden State three point shooting barrage that buried the visiting Boston Celtics 101- 83.

December 29, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Boston Celtics (L-R) power forward Kevin Garnett (5), point guard Rajon Rondo (9), small forward Paul Pierce (34), and shooting guard Jason Terry (4) sit on the bench during the fourth quarter against the Golden State Warriors at ORACLE Arena. The Warriors defeated the Celtics 101-83. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Warriors shot an impressive 63% from downtown, paced by Curry and forward Harrison Barnes who scored 15 points on 5 of 6 shooting, including 3-4 from the arc – and added 8 rebounds to fill out his stat sheet.  Reserve guard Jarrett Jack hit on 2 of 4 from long range while Klay Thompson hit on 3 of 6 for Golden State, now 21-10 on the season.

The Celtics were already a poor 3 point defending team to begin with, but without Rajon Rondo, who was a late scratch due to a bruised thigh, they had no chance of defending the Warriors’ outside game.

Courtney Lee started in place of Rondo and scored 18 points while dragging down 5 boards, but no assists for Boston, who saw their record dip below .500 at 14-15 as losers of 6 of their last eight games.

Paul Pierce and Jason Terry scored 13 points a piece on abysmal shooting performances, while Kevin Garnett turned in a pedestrian performance with 6 points in 23 short minutes.

“We got to keep working at this,” said Garnett, shaking his head “This is where you start to see who’s  with you. This is when you see who really wants it, who really wants to get down  and work and grind for it. We’re about to find it out.”

His words were a huge departure from just four nights ago when he sounded encouraged by the Celtics victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Christmas Day.

The Warriors went on an 11-0 run in the first quarter with Curry easily breaking the Celtics’ double teams, finding his teammates for uncontested dunks and lay ins and a 19-9 early lead, and when Boston did adapt to what they were doing offensively, Warriors’ coach Mark Jackson simply switched tactics.

The Celtics’ plodding lineup was no match for Golden State’s athletic small ball.  After the Celtics started to gain a little momentum, Jackson switched to a  three-guard lineup that sparked a 21-7 run that gave Golden State a 50-30 lead late in the second  quarter – and the game was essentially in the books.

After the game, Celtics’ captain Paul Pierce bemoaned the inconsistency of his team”We got to figure out who we want to be,” Pierce said. “Do we want to be a  defense-first team? If we’re not going to be a defensive team, we got to be a  better offensive team. It’s got to be something. We still got to find our way.”

Easier said than done.

The Celtics are mired in a slow paced, half court attack that is easily defended by most teams’  superior athleticism.  To their credit, they fight their way through the adversity and make spirited runs to climb back into games, but just are not athletic enough to keep the pace going for more than a few game minutes at a time.

Boston has very little time to lick their wounds, as they make the short trip to Sacramento from Oakland to play the 10-19 Kings tonight, a team that features the talented but divisive DeMarcus Cousins who, not surprisingly, is the subject of many trade rumors.

Maybe Cousins’ selfishness can be something that the Celtics can exploit, because there is apparently precious little else for them to fall back on until they discover a way to get more athleticism on the floor.