Thomas leads Celtics past road-weary Warriors
Isaiah Thomas has made peace and the Boston Celtics were able to turn things around with another emphatic win in Oakland.
Boston standout Thomas scored 25 points as the Celtics snapped a two-game losing skid on Wednesday with a 99-86 victory over the Golden State Warriors in a battle between two NBA title contenders.
“We are fighters. We compete,” said Thomas. “We are just a bunch of competitors. We wanted to win to end the losing streak.”
The Celtics, who are fighting to hold onto the number two seed in the East, had lost two straight heading into their showdown with Golden State, the Western Conference’s top team.
To add to their difficulties, leading scorer Thomas went public with criticism of coach Brad Stevens’ coaching style after Monday’s loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.
Boston took charge after a dunk by Draymond Green that gave the Celtics an 80-79 lead in a game that featured eight lead changes and eight ties in the first 41 minutes.
Jae Crowder hit three-pointers on consecutive possessions during a 15-0 fourth-quarter surge that helped propel the Celtics to victory.
Boston improved to 41-24 on the season and won for the second time in four games on their Western trip. That allowed the Celtics to remain a game ahead of the Washington Wizards in the battle for the No 2 playoff position.
The road-weary Warriors fell to 52-12 as they lost for the third time in five games and saw their lead over red-hot San Antonio atop the West cut to 1 1/2 games.
Golden State played without Kevin Durant (sprained left knee), who tallied 23 points to lead the Warriors to a lopsided win earlier in the season at Boston.
Klay Thompson scored 25 points and Stephen Curry scored 23 for the Warriors.
Elsewhere, Paul George scored 21 points, Thaddeus Young had 18 points and eight rebounds and CJ Miles added 15 points, and the Indiana Pacers defeated the Detroit Pistons 115-98.
With the victory, Indiana avoided slipping to .500 and completed a four-game season series sweep of Detroit.
The Pacers were coming off three losses on a five-game road trip during which they lost at Miami, San Antonio and Charlotte.
Indiana now have a two-game lead over Detroit for the No 6 playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
In Miami, Dion Waiters scored 24 points and Goran Dragic added 22 points and 10 assists to lead the Miami Heat to a 108-101 win over the Charlotte Hornets at AmericanAirlines Arena.
Dragic posted his fifth doubledouble of the season as Miami continued their hot streak, winning for the 20th time in 24 games.
The Heat have won three straight, including two wins over the defending league champion Cleveland Cavaliers.
RESULTS: Boston 99 Golden State 86, Washington 123 Denver 113, San Antonio 114 Sacramento 104, Milwaukee 104 NY Knicks 93, Toronto 94 New Orleans 87, Utah 115 Houston 108, MinnesotA 107 LA Clippers 91, Indiana 115 Detroit 98, Atlanta 110 Brooklyn 105, Miami 108 Charlotte 101, Orlando 98 Chicago 91.