The Celtics did not play their most crisp game of this season, but against the Warriors it did not really matter, as they hit enough 3-pointers and grabbed enough rebounds to roll to a 119-104 victory anyway.
Gordon Hayward scored 25 points, Marcus Smart had 21, and Jayson Tatum had 20 on the night he was named an All-Star for the first time.
The Celtics won despite committing 22 turnovers. They out-rebounded Golden State, 51-30, and made 15 of 35 3-pointers.
Observations from the game:
■ The Celtics franchise always handles difficult situations with class, and Thursday’s tribute to Kobe Bryant was no different. The team skipped starting lineup introductions and instead held a 24-second moment of silence for Bryant before playing a video that showed several of his career highlights and matchups against Boston. There were plenty of fans in the crowd wearing Bryant jerseys or Lakers gear, and this was an instance in which they were all welcomed with open arms by Celtics fans.
■ It was an emotional ceremony, and even though five days have passed since Bryant’s death, it felt a little odd to go right into a basketball game after the video played. The crowd was understandably a bit muted. But it did not take long for the game to start feeling normal again.
■ Warriors forward Draymond Green probably misses having his other former All-Stars around, and maybe he was thinking about them when he had a bit of a brain hiccup midway through the first quarter. Green was inbounding the ball from the sideline when he inexplicably stepped inbounds and started dribbling the ball, as if he had been the one to receive the inbounds pass. The referee called the violation, and it even got a smile out of Warriors coach Steve Kerr.
■ Grant Williams provided some more evidence that he could become a dependable option off the bench when the playoffs arrive. He was active and engaged during his first-half stint, registering 4 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists. His best play came near the start of the second quarter, when he came up with a steal under the Warriors basket and fired a perfect full-court outlet pass to Tatum for a slam.
■ This is a lost season for the Warriors, but it’s wild to think that they could be just a season away from becoming a title contender again. In addition to welcoming back superstars Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, they will be in position to have a top-five draft pick in this June’s draft.
■ With 2:27 left in the third quarter Jaylen Brown picked up his fifth foul when he was called for making contact with Warriors forward Omari Spellman on a fast-break. In real time it looked like Brown may have undercut Spellman a bit as he soared in for a layup. Then the replay showed that there might not have been any contact. But Celtics coach Brad Stevens used his only challenge of the game earlier in the period on a Kemba Walker foul call — he lost — so there was nothing he could do about this one.
■ The Celtics made 7 of 13 3-pointers in the third quarter, including three by Marcus Smart. If they hadn’t caught fire from beyond the arc, this game actually could have become a bit tense, as Boston led, 91-79, at the start of the fourth. Smart was 8 for 30 from 3-point range in the five games since his historic 11 for 22 night against the Suns. He was 0 for 4 in the first half on Thursday but connected on 5 of 6 tries in the second half.
■ Hayward is in the best offensive stretch of the season, averaging 24.8 points and 9.1 rebounds over the last four games. He attempted six more free throws Thursday. He has reached that mark just four times all year, but two of them came in the last two games.