The Golden State Warriors ended their final extended road trip of the season in style on Wednesday night.
Klay Thompson had 18 points and three steals and David Lee had 18 points and 10 rebounds to help the Warriors end a five-game losing streak at the TD Garden by blowing out the Boston Celtics 108-88.
Golden State finished 4-2 on their six-game trip and improved to 20-14. Only the San Antonio Spurs (23) and the Oklahoma City Thunder (20) have 20 or more road wins. The Warriors have won 14 of 19 away from Oracle and won four or more games on a road trip for the second time this season. Both are franchise firsts.
Warriors coach Mark Jackson credits the defense for the impressive road accomplishments.
“For the 22nd time, we’ve held a team under 40 percent shooting,” said Jackson. “That’s what allows us to be an effective road team because the pride we take on the defensive end and the habits that we’ve established.”
Boston shot just 32 percent in the first three quarters and finished at 39.5 percent. Kelly Olynyk scored a team-high 19 points for the Celtics. Rajon Rondo had 14 points and seven assists. Brandon Bass and Jared Sullinger added 11 points.
Golden State scored the game’s first six points, led 17-6 and settled for a 30-22 lead after one quarter.
The Warriors prevented any letdown from a big win over the Indiana Pacers the night before by attacking inside early and often. After Lee made a mid-range jumper to opened the scoring, the next eight baskets for the visitors were all layups or dunks. Out of 14 made field goals for Golden State in the first quarter, there were eight layups and four dunks. The Warriors shot 56 percent from the field and scored 24 points in the paint.
“I thought they did a great job of attacking on the offensive end, not settling,” said Jackson. “We did a great job of scoring in the paint and pushing the basketball.”
Jackson played the reserves to open the second quarter and they extended the lead to 15. It was an 11-point game when the starters went back in with six minutes to go in the half. With Curry and company well rested, Golden State ended the first half on a 19-9 run to take a 20-point lead at halftime.
The Celtics were held to 29 percent shooting in the second quarter and also committed eight turnovers for 11 Golden State points. The Warriors cooled down to 43 percent, but committed no turnovers.
The Warriors never let up and the lead ballooned to 31 in the third quarter. The Celtics never led in the game.
“I thought we did a great job against a team that, in all honesty, we are better than,” said Jackson. “It was a type of game where you can overlook them. They compete. They are well coached. Fortunately we came in here and took care of business.”
The Warriors never allowed a letdown to creep in and improved to a season-best 14 games over .500.
“Fortunately we did not fall in love with what we did in Indy and we came in and we took care of business,” said Jackson.
“This win validates last night and we wanted to finish strong,” said Thompson. “We had a lot of reasons not to as far as back to back and playing a hard fought game last night. But we responded the best way we could. Especially on the defensive end.”
Golden State (38-24) remains sixth in the Western Conference, two games ahead of both the Phoenix Suns and the Dallas Mavericks. The Warriors are second in the Pacific Division, four games behind the Los Angeles Clippers.
“If you want to climb up the rankings in the playoff seeding, you have to treat every game like it’s your last,” said Thompson. “The West is a dogfight and going into Atlanta feels great.”
Golden State opens a three-game homestand on Friday against the Atlanta Hawks.
There are 20 games left on the schedule for the Warriors, 13 at home and seven on the road. They will leave the Pacific time zone only twice for the rest of the season and the longest road trip will be just two games.