This one was a thrill ride. The Garden shook with a playoff atmosphere in honor of Paul Pierce and Doc Rivers' return to Boston. In the end, the Celtics outlasted the Clippers 139-134 in OT and hung onto 3rd place in the East with a gritty win against the 4th team in the West.
Isaiah Thomas had a productive pit stop in Boston en route to the All-Star Game in Toronto, leading the Celtics with 36 points and 11 assists. No two points were bigger than a fadeaway over Deandre Jordan to knot the game up at 122 a piece and force the extra session.
With Marcus Smart (17 points) and Jae Crowder (19 points) fouled out, Thomas and Evan Turner (14 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists) led the way in OT after the Celtics spotted the Clippers a quick 6 point lead. Each took the ball into the paint against Jordan, hitting difficult shots in traffic and helping the Celtics put up 17 points in the 5 minute overtime.
The Celtics led by 7 at the break, but fell down by as many as 8 in the second half as the offense went cold early in the fourth quarter. Several clutch drives by IT and a timely three by Jared Sullinger (21 points, 11 rebounds, 7 assists) kept the C's in it until Thomas could tie it up to force OT.
Referees called this one close, as the teams combined to shoot 87 FTs. The Celtics shot 87% from the line in this one, and the Clippers took 50 shots from the charity stripe.
Paul Pierce had 6 points in 22 minutes for the Clippers, who were paced by Chris Paul's 35 points and 13 assists in 48 minutes.
The Celtics lost Kelly Olynyk to a bruised shoulder in the first half and Amir Johnson was suffering from a bad back. The All-Star break could not have come at a better time for the Celtics, who are off until February 19th against the Jazz.
Photo Credit Charles Krupa/AP Paul Colahan 2/10/2016 11:22:00 PM Tweet Edit