|Baron Davis (29 points) had the crowd behind him after hitting the winning shot. (Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)|
OAKLAND, Calif. - Baron Davis nailed a 20-foot jumper with 0.3 seconds left over Tony Allen to seal Golden State's 119-117 victory over the Celtics last night in front of a sold-out crowd of 20,711 at
"He hit a big shot," said Allen. "I couldn't get the stop, unfortunately."
Boston's only other back-to-back losses this season came against Washington Jan. 12 and 14.
Celtics guard Ray Allen had a game-high 32 points on 11-of-17 shooting, and Paul Pierce added 23 points. Kevin Garnett had a double-double of 17 points and 15 rebounds in 32 minutes.
The Celtics, however, missed 14 of 46 free throw attempts, allowed 56 points in the paint, 20 second-chance points, and 27 fast-break points. Four Warriors scored more than 20 points - Davis (29), Monta Ellis (26), reserve Al Harrington (22), and Andris Biedrins.
"We missed a lot of free throws," said Ray Allen. "Little plays here and there took us out of it."
The Western Conference is more like the wild, wild West these days. Entering yesterday, five games separated first-place New Orleans and ninth-place Golden State. The Warriors came into the game with 32 wins, and coach Don Nelson said he wouldn't be surprised if 45 weren't enough to make the playoffs.
"Sometimes you wish we were in the other conference," Nelson said.
The Celtics were 16-0 against the West before losing at Denver Tuesday night. It didn't get easier last night as the Celtics were playing the running Warriors in one of the NBA's loudest arenas.
The Warriors finished the first quarter with a 32-29 lead after shooting 63.6 percent. Ellis and Biedrins led the Warriors with 10 points each in the quarter. A day after returning from a nine-game layoff caused by an abdominal strain, Garnett had 6 points on 3-of-8 shooting and six rebounds in eight first-quarter minutes, and Pierce added 9 points. The Warriors had 22 points in the paint in the first, and after being down, 24-15, they finished the quarter with a 17-5 run.
Local product Leon Powe signed numerous autographs before the game and received a strong reception when he entered with 1:12 remaining in the first. The 6-foot-8-inch, 240-pounder received even stronger applause when he dunked on the 6-11 Biedrins with 11:10 left in the second quarter to give Boston a 33-32 lead.
"This is my city, man," said Powe before the game. "This is my town."
The Celtics took a 49-46 lead on an Eddie House 3-pointer with 3:41 left in the half. Two free throws by Ray Allen with 1:06 left gave Boston a 57-49 lead. The Celtics finished the half with a 57-50 lead after outscoring the Warriors, 28-18, in the second quarter. The Warriors shot 27.8 percent in the second and missed all four 3-point attempts.
Ray Allen had 13 points on 4-of-8 shooting, three 3-pointers, and five assists in the first half. Pierce had 11 points and three assists at the half, and Garnett had 9 points on 4-of-11 shooting, 9 rebounds, and 2 steals in 14 minutes. Ellis had 14 points at halftime.
The Celtics opened the third quarter with a 7-2 run. A Ray Allen lay-in gave Boston a 71-61 lead with 7:34 left in the third. The Warriors used a 17-7 run to tie the score at 78 with 53.3 seconds left in the quarter. Back-to-back dunks by Mickael Pietrus gave the Warriors the lead at 82-81 with 34.6 seconds left. But Pierce's 3-point play with 5.1 seconds left in the quarter put the Celtics up, 84-82.
Later, a Rajon Rondo bank shot with 1:13 left brought Boston within 1. But Ellis's jumper put Golden State back up, 116-113. Rondo missed a tying 3-pointer with 37.8 seconds remaining. After being fouled, Davis made 1 of 2 free throws to give the Warriors a 117-113 lead.
Two Pierce free throws sliced Boston's deficit to 117-115 with 28.7 seconds left. With 12.3 seconds left, James Posey passed in to Pierce. Harrington fouled Pierce on a drive, and Pierce nailed both free throws to tie the score at 117.
Davis then dribbled to his right and shot over the outstretched arm of Tony Allen for the win.
"These games are good for us, they really are," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "There are a lot of things that are going to make us better."
Marc J. Spears can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org