The red-hot Boston Celtics gave their fans more reasons to celebrate, edging reigning NBA champions the Golden State Warriors for their 14th successive victory.
Boston rallied past Golden State to extend their winning streak thanks to a 92-88 triumph on Thursday.
The Warriors led by as many as 17 points, but a fearless second-half run led the Celtics back into contention.
Building off an emphatic home atmosphere, the Celtics ground out another win despite struggling to shoot from the field.
WARRIORS ARE STILL OPERATING IN FIRST GEAR
The Warriors know they are going to make the playoffs, but they looked like a team sleep-walking, almost going through the motions. Boston's defense has been tough, and two-time MVP Stephen Curry was ice-cold most of the game, yet Golden State's energy level still seemed down.
Too often, the Warriors settled for tough outside shots or contested shots around the rim. Their normal quick-pass offense was replaced by isolation and blindly chucking up three-pointers. The Warriors turned in a lazy display offensively, which is something they would not do in the in the postseason.
CELTICS KEEP FINDING NEW WAYS TO WIN
While the Celtics sometimes fail to pass the eye test, they have now won 14 straight games. Stifling defense and late-game offensive efficiency have been their keys to victory, and on Thursday, they held the Warriors to just 41 second-half points.
Boston closed out the third quarter on a 19-2 run even though the Warriors had been dominating teams in the penultimate period. All five Celtics starters scored in double figures, making key shots and free throws in the second half. Kyrie Irving, while hearing "MVP" chants late in the fourth quarter, scored 16 points with six assists.
Shooting is a concern for the Celtics. They shot just 32.9 per cent from the field, and an ugly 21.9 per cent from three-point range. Gordon Hayward's presence has been missed, but the Celtics cannot be stopped right now.
BROWN COULD BE CELTICS' X-FACTOR
Jaylen Brown scored 22 points on three of eight shooting from beyond the arc. The third overall in last year's draft, Brown has flashed dynamic athleticism getting to the basket. Though not known as a pure shooter, Brown has worked on his shot, leading to a more fluid stroke and more complete offensive game overall.
Brown's energy and versatility helped lead the Celtics back into the game during their third-quarter run. If he can become a more consistent offensive threat, by working on his outside shooting, he could emerge as Boston's third offensive star.
BROWN LEADS THE WAY
The 21-yeard-old forward helped the Celtics to a 19-2 run in the third quarter.
|Mainz 0 Borussia Dortmund 2: Stoger´s tenure begins with much-needed victory|
|Need to wrap a golf club for Christmas? Don´t ask Dustin Johnson for help|
|Ten Cate: Al Jazira will park three buses against Real Madrid|
|Gremio 1 Pachuca 0 (after extra time): Everton stunner sends Brazilians into final|
|Zidane focused on Club World Cup despite looming Clasico|
|Ibrahimovic brands Guardiola ´immature´ over Barcelona row|
|Gayle´s 18 sixes a new T20 record|
|Pogba has no regrets over rejecting Real Madrid|
|Gattuso denies contract rift with AC Milan goalkeeper Donnarumma|
|Where you at? Cleared Fury calls out Joshua|
|Pochettino: Alderweireld out until February|
|Wydad Casablanca 2 Urawa Red Diamonds 3: Marvellous Mauricio double proves decisive|
|Cardona given five-match ban for ´discriminatory´ gesture against South Korea|
|Fury clears comeback hurdle as UKAD proceedings resolved|
|Knee injury rules Wales´ Faletau out of Six Nations|
|James still settling at Bayern, says Heynckes|
|Pistorius bruised in alleged prison assault|
|Manchester City captain Kompany out for ´a short time´|
|Klopp: Liverpool need Lallana ahead of busy period|
|Spurs list Leonard as probable for season debut|
|It was diversity in education – Mourinho addresses derby fracas|
|I encourage City to celebrate - Guardiola defends players after Old Trafford controversy|
|I´m no actor – No regrets for Klopp over heated interview|
|Anderson: Duckett incident a non-event|
|Shingler commits to Scarlets|
|Everton were like United at Liverpool - Allardyce defends Anfield approach|
|Paulo Bento hired as Chongqing Lifan head coach|
|Wolfpack and Toulouse to make Magic Weekend history|
|Ramsey hamstring injury ´not a big one´|
|Watford´s Zeegelaar gets three-match ban as appeal is rejected|
|Struggling Northampton sack Mallinder|
|Matthaus raves about Spurs star Kane|
|Cook: England must improve damaged reputation|
|´Several clubs´ discussing Arda move as Barca exit nears|
|No ultimatum as Arsenal´s Ozil and Sanchez talks rumble on|
|Su-Mourinho? Wenger offers advice to City and United|
|Bayern planning ´serious talks´ with Robben, Ribery|
|Titans lure Roosters veteran Gordon|
|Hazlewood welcomes Johnson advice and eyes Root scalp|
|Pereira replaces Villas-Boas at Shanghai SIPG|
|Van Gaal rejected Leverkusen to hold out for a ´big club´|
|Cook dismisses retirement talk heading into 150th Test|
|Williamson lauds record-equalling Taylor as Kiwis celebrate series win|
|Dolphins stun Brady and Patriots|
|Inzaghi and Lazio left feeling ´defrauded´ after Torino defeat|
|Marsh confident and ready to heap misery on England|
|New Zealand sweep Windies with 240-run victory|
|Man United more boring under Mourinho, claims Van Gaal|
|Rodgers return a medical decision for Packers|
|Stanton rips ´unprofessional´ and ´circus times´ with Marlins|
|Zidane: Real Madrid want to win Club World Cup|
|Worker to open batting as Guptill misses ODI series|
|Stanton excited to step into ´winning environment´ with Yankees|
|Morata ruled out of Huddersfield trip due to ´impossible´ workload|
|Valverde singles out Hazard & Morata as chief Chelsea threats|
|Irving to miss Bulls game with quad injury|
|Lazio 1 Torino 3: Inzaghi´s men lose ground as Immobile sees red|
|Reading 2 Cardiff City 2: Late comeback makes light of Warnock dismissal|
|Jets QB McCown´s season over with broken hand|
|Wagner received no contact over Borussia Dortmund job|
|From the ridiculous to the sublime - Clermont overcome ´absurd´ episode to thump Saracens|
|A Mourinho myth? Man United booked for simulation more than any Premier League side|
|Eagles QB Wentz out for season with torn ACL|
|Brook to face Rabchenko in light-middleweight bow|
|Yankees confirm Stanton deal|
|Clermont irked by ´absurd´ Saracens saga|
|Bairstow wants England to regain trust|
|Ronaldo´s ego is his biggest motivator - Valdano|
|Bayern threaten legal action over Leno transfer rumours|
|Thompson welcomes golf´s change in policy over viewer call-ins|