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OAKLAND — Reflecting on this particularly sadistic portion of his team’s schedule before Wednesday night’s game, Warriors coach Steve Kerr said this tilt against the Boston Celtics — sandwiched between road trips — was more like a road game than a home date. He laughed. The reporters laughed.

But as the night wore on, the Warriors looked more and more like a road team. Their intensity waned. They began to throw lazy passes and to dribble the ball off their feet. And the Celtics took advantage, using a 21-5 run starting the fourth quarter to hand Golden State a damning 99-86 loss at Oracle Arena, with an appreciable number of Boston fans in the seats.

It was the Warriors’ lowest scoring output of the season.

“The travel on the last trip, just all the miles in the air, probably doesn’t help,” Kerr said afterward. “Let’s be honest.”

While we’re being honest, we can add that the Warriors got to the foul line just nine times Wednesday. And after giving away just nine turnovers in the first three quarters, they lost the ball eight times in the fourth. Oh, and this: Golden State clearly misses the scoring punch of Kevin Durant, who is out four to six weeks with a knee injury.

Making everything seem more urgent, the San Antonio Spurs rallied from 28 points down to beat the Kings on Wednesday. The Spurs are now just one game behind the Warriors in the loss column as they battle for the best record in the Western Conference, and home-field advantage in a potential West final series.

The two frontrunners play in San Antonio on Saturday, and the run-up couldn’t be any more daunting for the Warriors. Their current schedule is like a frantic round of errands, with a quick trip home in the middle when you realize you left the oven on. They visited Philadelphia on Feb. 27, Washington on Feb. 28, Chicago on March 2, New York on Sunday and Atlanta on Monday. Oakland will seem like just another stretch of airport tarmac when the team heads to Minnesota for a game Friday, then to San Antonio on a back-to-back.

Kerr will now have to balance two opposing needs: getting his veterans some much-needed rest, and hanging on to that top seed.

“We still want the No. 1 seed,” the coach said. “I’m not gonna run guys ragged to get it.”

“I know every guy in that locker room wants to play,” point guard Stephen Curry added. “At the end of the day, that’s our mentality.”

In a back-and-forth game, the Warriors twice seemed to steady themselves with quarter-closing statements. They regained a lead just before halftime when Draymond Green took off running after coming out to the 3-point line to defend, and caught a football pass from Curry for a layup that put the home team up 48-46. Golden state finished the half on a 10-1 run and led 50-46.

It didn’t take, as the Celtics started the second half with a 5-0 run, leading to an immediate timeout by Kerr.

Later, at the end of the third quarter, Curry got Jaylen Brown in the air at the arc and beat the buzzer with a 3-pointer that gave Golden State a 74-72 lead. Curry even taunted the rookie a little for his mistake.

Again, the Warriors couldn’t sustain it. They were up 79-78 with 7:19 left in the game after Green dunked a gorgeous bounce pass from Andre Iguodala. And just like that, the Celtics put together a 15-0 run to take control of the game. The Warriors turned it over four times during that freefall, including a play on which Curry simply dribbled the ball off his foot.

“They had 15 points off turnovers,” Curry said. “Pretty sure seven, eight, nine of them were right there in the fourth quarter.”

The coup de grace came with just under 3 minutes left when Golden State forced two 3-point misses by Jae Crowder, only to see the Celtics grab a pair of offensive rebounds. Avery Bradley finished the sequence with a jump shot to make it 95-84, and Boston had taken more than a minute off the clock.

“That was a terrible possession for us,” Klay Thompson said.

It was the Warriors’ first loss to an Atlantic Division team this season after eight consecutive wins, and the first at home to any Eastern Conference team after 10 victories.

Thompson led the Warriors with 25 points and Curry added 23, but they didn’t get a lot of help. The bench was especially anemic. Two days after keying a win at Atlanta, the reserves combined for 17 points in about 86 minutes of action. Matt Barnes (13 minutes, 18 seconds) and David West (11:53) both were scoreless.

Isaiah Thomas led Boston with 25 points.

Before the game, Durant addressed the media for the first time since spraining the MCL and bruising the patella in his left knee at Washington on Feb. 28. He walked with only a slight limp in the locker room before donning a brace and walking to the interview room on crutches. The eight-time All-Star said his spirits are high, but declined to put any timetable on his return, adding that for a short time after the injury, he and the team feared the damage was worse.

The Warriors entered the game with at least 10 steals in 11 consecutive games, but saw the streak come to an end as they got only eight against Boston. It was the longest streak in the NBA since the Celtics also had 11 in 1998.

Thompson hit his 200th 3-pointer this season 2 minutes into the first quarter. He joined Curry as the only players in NBA history to hit at least 200 treys in five consecutive seasons.

You can reach staff writer Phil Barber at 707-521-5263 or phil.barber@pressdemocrat.com. Follow him on Twitter: @Skinny_Post.