Warriors Celtics Basketball

Celtics guard Jaylen Brown celebrates while Warriors forward Tracye Jackson-Davis walks away on Sunday in Boston. Brown scored 29 points in the Celtics’ 140-88 win. Steven Senne/Associated Press

Warriors Coach Steve Kerr knows what a championship team looks like. After all, he won five as a player and has won four more as a coach.

And when he watches the Celtics, he’s confident that a championship is coming to Boston soon.

“I mean, they’ve been on the brink for six, seven years,” Kerr said. “Great organization, always been really well-coached, continuity, they have everything that it takes. I think in this league, it always requires some luck to win a championship. Sometimes things break your way, sometimes they don’t, but the idea is to give yourself a chance as many times in a row as you can and they’ve done a great job of that.

“I think it’s just a matter of time before they break through, and this is I think the best version that we’ve seen of this team.”

The Celtics certainly showed that in their 140-88 destruction of the Warriors on Sunday afternoon that was over by halftime, when Kerr pulled his starters. The difference between this group and the one that lost to the Warriors in the 2022 NBA Finals can be seen in their growth and maturation. For Kerr, their personnel makes them even more dangerous.

“Jrue (Holiday) and Kristaps (Porzingis),” Kerr said of the difference between the two groups. “That’s two really high-level players added to what was already a great team. I think Jrue replaces a lot of what Marcus Smart gave Boston defensively and an additional ball-handler, playmaker. I think Kristaps changes everything just with his floor spacing and overall offensive game, so I mean, they’re lethal.”


Warriors star Stephen Curry chalked up Sunday’s performance to a “perfect storm” of everything going Boston’s way, but when he looks at these Celtics, their identity sticks out to him.

“The way they’ve been playing, they seem very sure of themselves and their identity and who they are,” Curry said. “It’s just mostly connected to both sides of the ball, they obviously play a physical style and then they know how to space and which shots they’re trying to create.

“It seems like they have confidence with who has the ball in their hands, so like I said, it’s an identity and confidence in how you play every night. You can feel it with certain teams and certain teams don’t have it, and obviously you don’t win 11 in a row by accident. They’re tough.”

THE WARRIORS’ DEFENSIVE strategy to dare Jaylen Brown to shoot was certainly an interesting one. And while Brown made them pay by drilling five 3-pointers in the first quarter, they didn’t have any regrets.

“It worked, he just made the shots,” Warriors forward Draymond Green said. “It’s OK.”

Green said the Warriors implemented the strategy 15 minutes before game time. The tactic included sagging off Brown – a 34.8 percent shooter from 3-point range – at the 3-point line and giving him wide-open looks.


“They’ve been playing at a high level and you want, with a team with that many threats, try to find some weak spot to see if it will throw them off a little bit,” Brown said. “Obviously it didn’t work. And it affected our offense a little bit tonight. No regrets on how we approached it.”

The decision certainly sparked Brown, who scored 19 points in the first quarter. He made three consecutive 3-pointers during one stretch and the Celtics never looked back.

“First time it’s ever happened to me. Honestly I was a bit surprised,” Brown said. “Took a little bit of adjusting. We just took advantage of whatever that attempt was and made the best of it. For the most part, my job is to take it to the paint. We got enough 3-point shooters on the team. So I don’t take a lot of 3s for the most part throughout the season because we got enough of that. I get to the paint and I usually open it up for everyone else.

“But if you want to dare me to shoot, we can do that, too. I thought it was a little disrespectful. But we took advantage of it and we hit them back.”

KRISTAPS PORZINGIS missed Sunday’s game with a left quad contusion, an injury he suffered in Friday’s win over the Mavericks. It’s uncertain if he’ll return for Tuesday’s game at Cleveland. … Al Horford made some history in Sunday’s win when he became the sixth player in NBA history to record 14,000 points, 8,400 rebounds, 3,400 assists and 1,200 blocks in a career. The other players on that list are Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Pau Gasol and Dirk Nowitzki.

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