NBA: Boston Celtics at Golden State Warriors

Boston Celtics guard Kemba Walker, left, celebrates with forward Daniel Theis, center, and forward Jayson Tatum in front of Golden State Warriors forward Eric Paschall during the fourth quarter of Boston’s 105-100 win over Golden State on Friday night at Chase Center in San Francisco.

IF YOU stayed up late Friday night, you saw the surging Celtics win the type of game you have to win to be serious about to win in any league.

Playing against the team formerly known as the Warriors, the Celtics had to scratch and claw their way to their 10th straight win and a 10-1 start to the post-Kyrie Irving era.

Once again, Kemba Walker was right there in the middle of the late stuff needed to pull out tight games — to the tune of 5-for-8 and 14 points in the fourth quarter — to turn the opener of the five-game western trip into another win.

Walker was 1-for-11 entering the fourth quarter, and 1-for-8 from 3-point range (he was 2-for-4 from deep in the fourth).

“That’s the true definition of a leader,” Marcus Smart said after the game.

After suffering through a miserable opening game, Walker has scored at least 20 points in nine of the last 10 games and is averaging 25 over the last four.

“Kemba makes you feel like you’ve always got a chance because he makes such big baskets,” said head coach Brad Stevens.

With Irving and his having to have the ball all the time now residing in Brooklyn, Walker has picked up much of the slack but others are thriving — namely Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart.

Stat maven Dick Lipe tells us Brown has 20-plus points in four straight games for the first time in his career. And remember when Smart couldn’t shoot? He was 5-for-9 from behind the arc Friday night and is shooting 41 percent from 3-point range — after coming into the season at 31 percent.

“Every time I let it go, I feel like it’s going in,” Smart said after the game.

More from Lipe:

Daniel Theis is 13-0 as an NBA starter.

Kemba’s longest winning streak during his time in Charlotte was seven ... and in his first NBA season, he only played in seven wins during a strike-shortened 66-game season.

Walker’s 44 3-pointers in the first 10 games is the most ever by a Celtic through 10 games. Paul Pierce had the previous mark, with 35 in 2001-02. …

The Celtics are 4-1 in their last five games on the Warriors’ two home floors — giving them a better winning percentage (.800) in Oakland/SF than the Warriors (.789) over that span.

Streak snapped

Earlier Friday night, the Bruins, starting a back-to-back that finished with the Caps Saturday night at TD Garden, ended their four-game losing streak (0-2-2) with their win in Toronto.

They did it a night short of the two-year anniversary of their last such streak. B’s TV voice Jack Edwards pointed out the team followed the last four-game with a 17-3-2 run.

Late in the afternoon, Barry Melrose, appearing on the NHL Network, called the Bruins “the second best team in the NHL.” Clearly, though, they needed to win – and if you saw the third period you saw them form a real defensive shell around Tuukka Rask, who had struggled through a tough three-game stretch that contributed to the losing streak.

Flying into Philly

The Patriots visit Philadelphia Sunday — and we told you the other day about Tom Brady‘s feeling of “emotional scar tissue” left from losing a Super Bowl to the Eagles. Asked Friday if that provides extra motivation for this game, Brady said, “It’s a different team. It’s a big challenge for us to go in there and play a great football team, so there’s nothing about that game that’s going to — you know, that’s not going to impact the outcome of this one.

“We want to win; they want to win. It’s a big game, it’s a tough game. They play well at home and they’ve got a really good team and they’re tough to beat. They’re good in all three phases and they’ve been a championship-level team the last couple years. So, it’s going to be a great test for us.”

Notes and quotes

• Jacob Hollister, who just might help the Patriots these days, has three touchdowns in the last two games after recording none in his first 26. …

• If you want the latest example of how pitchers, seemingly especially left-handers, can rise and fall (and vice versa), consider Drew Pomeranz, now a sought-after lefty after what he did last season in Milwaukee. …

• Brian Scalabrine says some interesting stuff on the Celtics broadcasts. Friday, while talking about winners like LeBron James, Tom Brady, etc., he stood up for James, but started with the words, “You know I’m not a huge fan of LeBron.” He also called Kemba Walker “Kyrie.”

• I’m not here to argue whether or not new Giants skipper Gabe Kapler deserves as a second chance at managing, but weeks after he got fired in Philadelphia? …

• OK, that ugly fight that ended Thursday night’s NFL game. Yes, what Myles Garrett did WAS disgusting and he deserves a lengthy suspension. But please take a look at the replay and you’ll see what looks like Mason Rudolph trying to rip Garrett’s helmet off while on the ground and then charging at Garrett, who was already being mauled by two Steelers before he hit Rudolph over the head with his own helmet. For what it’s worth, good on the NFL for acting quickly – and on Baker Mayfield for speaking out against a teammate, saying, “I didn’t see why it started, but it’s inexcusable. I don’t care, rivalry or not, we can’t do that. That’s kind of the history of what’s been going on here lately, hurting yourself. That’s endangering the other team. That’s inexcusable. He knows that. Well, I hope he does now.” …

If you saw the start of the Bruins game Friday night you saw the new Hockey Hall of Fame inductees introduce on the night they got their rings. BC coach Jerry York was not there, electing instead to coach his team at UVM. York was set to arrive Sunday in advance of the Monday induction. York was slammed by some in Canadian media but this, in a sense, was what the ever-classy York is all about — coaching his hockey team. …

We can argue the winners of the two MVP awards all we want, but how was D.J. LeMahieu not in the top three in the American League? Heck, ESPN’s Jeff Passan had the Yankee seventh, behind, among others, Mookie Betts. Really? …

• It was 44 years late, but Bill Russell finally got his Hall of Fame ring in a private ceremony in Seattle. Russell refused to attend his induction because he was the first black player voted in and felt others like Chuck Cooper, who just got in, should have gone before him. Bill Walton, Alonzo Mourning and Ann Meyers joined Russell and his wife for the ceremony. …

• The Twins’ Jake Odorizzi read the market and decided to accept his $17.8 qualifying offer instead of trying to get a new job with a draft pick attached to his signing. A second straight good year allows him to enter next winter’s market sans draft pick. “I didn’t want to be sitting on my couch in February” as teams worried about losing draft pick to sign him, he said. “I see myself at the top of (of next year’s) class.” …

• Brady on the Thursday night melee: “Coach (Bill) Belichick tries to use it as teaching moments — talks about not throwing punches, not touching the referees and staying on the sidelines.” He added, “It’s an emotional game, so, I think I got a penalty in 2002, I think I only got one penalty for an unsportsmanlike conduct and I kind of pushed someone back against Chicago. That might be my only unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Probably deserved a few more, but that was the only one that I got called for.”

• Hall of Famer Jayson Stark, appearing on the MLB Network, points out there were 42,823 strikeouts this past season, 5,377 more than in 2014 and that Ks have gone up 14 straight years. He also noted there were 18,890 shifts against right-handed hitters in 2019, 7,317 more than in 2018. In 2011, there were “under a hundred.” …

• Ray Allen says he would have thought about coming back to the Celtics if Kevin Durant decided to come to Boston in 2016. “I had a conversation with (Celtics boss Danny Ainge) and I told him this was my last-ditch effort. I would’ve went back,” Allen told WEEI. “This was when Kevin Durant was a free agent. He was thinking about going to Boston. And I said, ‘Hey, if you guys land Kevin, I would certainly look at lacing them back up one more time and try to make something good happen here in Boston.’” …

• Alex Ovechkin clobbered Montreal’s Jonathan Drouin with a major hit Friday night, later saying, “It’s hockey, it’s not a ballet … like I said, it’s a hockey play,” Ovechkin added. “He didn’t see me. It’s a clear hit. Nothing to say.” …

• The Maine Red Claws’ home games will be televised by NBCSports Boston, which gives local fans the chance to watch Tacko Fall. The big guy is already a legend in Maine. Fall told the Boston Globe: “People in Maine, I noticed they’re a little more, like, I don’t know — a lady wanted to take a picture and she just sat on my lap the other day. They’re just very friendly.” …

• Brady and LeBron have a fake Twitter thing going on. “We’ve been friends a long time and I’ve always admired him,” Brady says. On Twitter, James says, “Me and Tom Brady are one and the same. We’re going to play until we can’t walk anymore.” …

• Here’s an ominous thought: agent Scott Boras doesn’t see Gerrit Cole signing anywhere anytime soon, as baseball continues to have trouble staying relevant during free agent time. …

• Brown, to The Athletic’s Jay King on what he went through: “I was really tested. My confidence had never been challenged in that manner. Last year brought a lot of anxiety and stuff like that. I’d never been challenged to that degree so I had to respond.” …

• From column pal Chris Smith of MassLive: “The Southwest flight attendant in Baltimore where I’m changing planes just made a Deflategate joke. The jealously for the Patriots across the nation is unbelievable. That would be like someone making an AstrosCameraGate joke in five years. Stop holding on to things.” …

• Boras on J.D. Martinez opting in with the Red Sox for 2020: “J.D. wanted assurance of competition at a high level and the fact that he played so well in Boston, we looked at it and with those two things in mind, we wanted to make sure that was the focus and for that reason he decided to opt in. The contract we structured allowed him choices after each season so it was something that, in this year at this time, we felt really that was the best decision.” …

• This was the week that saw Jayson Tatum and Kristaps Porzingis combine to go 2-for-29 from the floor, 1-for-7 from 3-point range, in an NBA game. Tatum, 1-for-18 (0-for-3), celebrated by going to the Celtics’ practice facility for late-night shooting. Celts radio voice Sean Grande pointed out, “Just the third in the last 40 years. Chris Bosh — 2011 (1-18); Robert Covington — 2018 (1-18); Jayson Tatum — Tonight (1-18).” …

• The opinions on Don Cherry and his ouster from Canadian TV over insensitive remarks about immigrants continue to pile in. Most have been negative but the great Bobby Orr, who has avoided any kind of political statement like the plague through his brilliant life, stood up for Grapes. “I know Grapes better than anybody. He’s not a bigot and he’s not a racist,” Orr said on WEEI. “This guy is the most generous caring guy that I know. What they’ve done to him up there is disgraceful, it really is.” …

• Meriden’s own Ben Cherington deserves another chance and he now has one as the new Pirates GM. …

• Belichick on Thursday’s brawl: “Every situation’s different. There’s no two that are the same. We can go back and look at 50 of these through the years, some type of fighting or ejections or whatever. They’re all a little bit different. I wouldn’t say that it’s — like offside penalties, there’s a lot of — different things happen, different situations, so forth and so on. But yeah, fundamentally, I tell players what we should do in those situations, how we should handle them, and I think they’ve done a good job of it.” …

• Finally, Eduardo Rodriguez, the Red Sox’ best pitcher in 2019, finished sixth in the Cy Young voting. “He knew he was at the point where he could do this,” agent Scott Pucino told the Boston Globe. “His goal was actually to win the Cy Young. Although he placed, it’s his goal to win one and to win a world championship again. He worked really hard in the offseason and he’s doing the same this year.”

Mike Shalin covers Boston pro sports for the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News. His email address is shalinmike@yahoo.com. Follow him on Twitter @mscotshay.