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News » Warriors accomplish rare feat with victory over Celtics

Warriors accomplish rare feat with victory over Celtics

Warriors accomplish rare feat with victory over Celtics
OAKLAND The Elias Sports Bureau, experts on sports research, added some context to the Warriors' upset of the Boston Celtics on Friday.

Not only was it a boost to a downtrodden team, but it was a historical accomplishment. It was only the second time in NBA history that a team with a winning percentage over .900 (after at least 25 games) lost to a team with a winning percentage below .300.

With the milestone victory in tow, the question begs: Can the Warriors do it again?

Tonight at the Staples Center, they take on another NBA Goliath in the Los Angeles Lakers. They don't quite have Boston's winning percentage, but the Lakers do boast the best record in the Western Conference and are 15-1 at home.

So, what's it going to take for an encore?

First and foremost, the Warriors are going to have to at least match the defensive intensity from Friday.

Especially down the stretch, the Warriors had the Celtics out of sync and desperate, led by the energy of big man Ronny Turiaf.

Golden State pressured the ball, challenged every shot, crashed the boards and forced turnovers. Whether the Warriors can do it again is a huge question mark.

"The way we played last night," swingman Stephen Jackson said, "that was the best way we've competed and played on defense all year. It's hard to say we can do that consistently when we've only done that one time all year at that level. The biggest thing is to see if we can play somewhat close to that against the Lakers and see if it can be contagious."

Certainly, the Warriors can use a player or two getting hot in the fourth quarter, as Jackson was Friday.

The Warriors put up 99 points on 45.8 percent shooting on the Celtics defense, which came in allowing an average of 91.4 points per game on 42.1 percent shooting.

The Lakers defense isn't as stout as Boston's, but it's hardly a slouch.

The Lakers keep opponents under triple digits on average, and their field goal percentage defense (43.8) was sixth best in the NBA through Friday.

Certainly, the Warriors won't get away with 30-something percent shooting. The reason they avoided that Friday was because they excelled especially at the right time in ball movement and shot making.

The Warriors notched 20 assists for the first time in four games and shot 45 percent or better for the first time since winning at Charlotte on Dec. 20.

"Offensively, we were good until the fourth quarter," coach Don Nelson said after Friday's game. "And then we were great."

A few things are working against the Warriors. They won't have the aid of Oracle Arena, which players said was a huge boost Friday. They won't have the benefit of an emotionally drained team, as the Celtics were after their Christmas Day loss at the Lakers. Then, they'll have to contain the best closer in the game in Lakers guard Kobe Bryant.

But after the history the Warriors pulled off Friday, writing them off isn't so easy.

Notes: Swingman Corey Maggette (strained right hamstring) and guard Monta Ellis (left ankle surgery) traveled with the Warriors for tonight's game. It's the first road game all season for Ellis, and Maggette's first since Dec. 8 at Oklahoma City. Maggette played three-on-three with the young players after the Warriors' light practice in Oakland on Saturday. It was his third consecutive day working out on the court, and the first time he'd tried to play. He said all went well and that he might be ready to participate in a full practice. "It's a step in the right direction," Maggette said. "I'm just happy to be back on the court." Ellis continues to progress with his on-court work, according to a Warriors official. He was shooting 3-pointers at practice Saturday and has started jumping rope. There is still no official timetable on his return. He declined to talk to the media after practice.

Contact Marcus Thompson II at

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: December 29, 2008


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