Celtics down Warriors in NBA Finals rematch, Bulls shine in Paris

Celtics down Warriors in NBA Finals rematch, Bulls shine in Paris
Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum drives past Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (23) and guard Stephen Curry (30) in the second half of an NBA basketball game in Boston. (AP)
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Updated 20 January 2023

Celtics down Warriors in NBA Finals rematch, Bulls shine in Paris

Celtics down Warriors in NBA Finals rematch, Bulls shine in Paris
  • The day tipped off at the Accor Arena in Paris, where DeMar DeRozan returned from injury to help Chicago Bulls beat Detroit Pistons 

PARIS: The Celtics put Boston in the NBA spotlight on Thursday with a gritty 121-118 overtime win over reigning champions Golden State Warriors as the league polished its global credentials with a glitzy game in Paris.

Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown came alive late for the Celtics, whose eighth straight win — this one against the team that bested them in last season’s NBA Finals — pushed their league-leading record to 34-12.

Even as Tatum and Brown struggled to make shots early, the Celtics built a 10-point lead midway through the second quarter.

But the Warriors chipped away, and grabbed a 55-54 on Stephen Curry’s shot from the halfcourt logo at the halftime buzzer.

It looked like the Warriors, who dominated Boston in a December victory in San Francisco, had the Celtics’ number again as they pulled away to lead by as many as 11 in the third quarter.

They were up by nine early in the fourth, but Tatum’s running dunk pulled Boston within two with two minutes remaining. Al Horford came up with a three-pointer and a big block and Brown’s three-pointer tied it at 106-106 with 18.6 seconds left in regulation.

Marcus Smart’s opening basket of overtime gave the Celtics their first lead since the first half.

After a three-pointer from Curry put the Warriors up by one, Brown drove for a layup that put the Celtics back on top for good with 2:23 remaining.

“It was a crazy game,” Tatum, who scored 34 points with a career-high 19 rebounds, told broadcaster TNT, insisting the contest wasn’t about revenge.

“The fact of the matter is they beat us in the championship, there’s nothing we can do about that,” Tatum said. “This was a regular-season game against a great team that’s really well coached, and it’s just two tough-minded teams playing against each other.”

Brown, returning from a three-game absence because of groin tightness, finished with 16 points — including 12 in the fourth quarter and overtime.

Curry paced the Warriors with 29 points. Klay Thompson and Jordan Poole added 24 apiece.

But the defeat was another road blow for the Warriors, who fell to 22-23 overall and 5-18 on the road. They have yet to beat a team with a winning record on the road this season.

The day tipped off at the Accor Arena in Paris, where DeMar DeRozan returned from injury to help the Chicago Bulls beat the Detroit Pistons 126-108.

DeRozan, who missed three games with a thigh injury, scored 26 points.

Bulls guard Zach LaVine led all scorers with 30 as the French capital hosted its second regular-season game after debuting on the NBA calendar in 2020.

Victor Wembanyama, the 19-year-old French prodigy who is expected to be the first overall pick in this year’s NBA draft — which could belong to the Pistons – was seated courtside.

So were past NBA greats including Magic Johnson and France’s Tony Parker, as well as celebrity spectators like rapper Lil Baby and music producer Pharrell Williams.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said before tip-off it was likely another game will be held in Paris in 2024.

“Man, it was amazing,” DeRozan said. “Tonight is one of those games, I know for me, I’m going to look back years and years down the line and realize how great of a moment this was.

“It definitely was a beautiful atmosphere and a privilege to be part of this whole thing.”

Pistons guard Killian Hayes, who grew up in France, received a thunderous ovation when the starters were introduced, but Chicago started quickly.

Bojan Bogdanovic led Detroit with 25 points and Jalen Duren had a double-double. Duren, the NBA’s youngest player at 19 years old, was late arriving in France after misplacing his passport.

But it was a difficult night for Hayes as the 21-year-old dished out eight assists but was limited to four points with as many fouls.

Elsewhere, D’Angelo Russell scored 16 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter to help the Minnesota Timberwolves rally for a 128-126 home victory over the Toronto Raptors.

Russell’s two free throws with less than 10 seconds remaining sealed the win. Anthony Edwards added 23 points and Kyle Anderson scored 20 for the Timberwolves, who were without Rudy Gobert and Austin Rivers.