The Boston Celtics gave up a 41-14 scoring run in the second half of their 116-102 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. The Celts watched a double-digit lead disintegrate in the matter of minutes, and LA never looked back. Isaiah Thomas had 32 in the losing effort.
The Clippers tried to exploit Boston's small-ball starting lineup of Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Jaylen Brown, Jae Crowder, and Amir Johnson all night long but found very little success in the first quarter. The C's limited DeAndre Jordan, Blake Griffin, and the rest of the Clips to a mere four points in the paint and one offensive rebound through 12 minutes:
Just one offensive rebound for the Clips so far even though the Celtics started Crowder at the 4. Cs out here grimy tonight.— Jay King (@ByJayKing) March 7, 2017
Isaiah picked up his second foul just 3 minutes into the game, but Brad Stevens elected to keep his All-Star on the court so he could proceed to drop 10 first quarter points on 4/7 shooting.
Marcus Smart provided an instant jolt off the bench with a quick five points, rebound, and assist to help Boston finish off the quarter on a 8-3 run:
The Celtics are on top of the Clippers 25-22 after the first quarter after Isaiah Thomas dropped 10 points on 4-for-7 shooting.— Boston Celtics (@celtics) March 7, 2017
The combination of poor shooting and solid defense continued into the second quarter. The main differences were ball-movement and offensive rebounding. The Celts were able to use fluid passing to create better opportunities compared to LAC's slow movement. Also, Kelly Olynyk led a strong Boston presence on the offensive boards, grabbing four more by himself than the whole Clippers team:
Kelly Olynyk has 4 offensive rebounds halfway through the second quarter.— Mark Van Deusen (@LucidSportsFan) March 7, 2017
The Clippers continued attacking their undersized matchups, and Boston kept holding their ground. Meanwhile, the Celtics were attempting to take advantage of their size (or lack thereof) by launching tons of threes...and there's a reason I said "attempting to" -- they only hit six of the 24 threes they threw up in the first half (25%). The Clippers only took six from downtown.
A slow-paced 24 minutes (courtesy of the referees review, DeAndre Jordan, and 13 missed LAC free-throws) was a defensive batte that found the good guys clinging to a slim lead:
It's halftime in LA, and the Celtics are leading the Clips 46-43 despite shooting only 36 percent from the field. IT each Smart have 12 pts. pic.twitter.com/XoqJeTjkm0— Boston Celtics (@celtics) March 7, 2017
For those of you who couldn't hang with the late WestCoast tip-off time, here are some halftime highlights:
Tight D makes for an easy 2 pic.twitter.com/Ld203hmcC6— Boston Celtics (@celtics) March 7, 2017
Here comes Rozier 💪 pic.twitter.com/bDkBjxPsa9— Boston Celtics (@celtics) March 7, 2017
The Celtics shied away from the three-ball in the second half, instead relying on a well-balanced attack to get points on the board. Avery Bradley knows what I'm talking about:
I guess that hammy isn't doing too bad! Not only did these types of plays add a healthy mixture on offense for Boston, but they created better shots for when they did rely on the three. This all sparked effective Celtics offense that put them up by 11 halfway through the third.
There was no way Chris Paul was going to let Boston build a lead, though. The LA point guard led the Clippers on an 8-0 run with a pull-up three and a mid-range jumper to cut Boston's lead right back down to six.
Paul exited the game, and the ageless Jamal Crawford decided to keep the run going. The 36-year-old dropped nine points in a minute and a half with three tough bombs from donwtown. These capped off an LAC 22-5 run to close the quarter on top:
LA finishes the 3Q on an 8-0 run to take a 75-71 lead into the final quarter. Isaiah Thomas (22 pts) & Marcus Smart (14) are leading the C's— Boston Celtics (@celtics) March 7, 2017
The end of the third brought a major swing in momentum for the Clippers. Boston's small-ball lineup finally imploded when DeAndre Jordan had three easy buckets in a row at the rim. Crawford and the Los Angeles bench were firing on all cylinders, connecting on 17 of their 19 attempted field goals at one point. The Celtics, Isaiah included, were shut down on offense and quickly found themselves in a huge hole after once owning a double-digit lead:
Clippers have outscored Celtics 41-14 in last 10 minutes.— Brian Robb (@CelticsHub) March 7, 2017
The shooting was contagious for the Clips bench, as no one could seem to miss a shot. The complete opposite could be said for the away team:
Besides Smart and Thomas, rest of #Celtics are 18-for-52 FG.— gary washburn (@GwashburnGlobe) March 7, 2017
Late in the contest, Isaiah tried to play a little hero-ball to get back in the game. He hit some driving layups and this three-pointer to play his part in a potential comeback:
Don't let him get hot 🔥 pic.twitter.com/rRYH1Ntrkq— Boston Celtics (@celtics) March 7, 2017
However, a classic four-point play via Jamal Crawford, followed by a Raymond Felton block and Griffin slam, quickly added a cushion onto their lead and ultimately sealed a Clippers victory.
The Celts will have to work hard to snap their two-game skid seeing that they will be traveling up the coast of California to play the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday.
Follow Erik Johnson on Twitter: @erikjohnson32
Photo by @Celtics
Erik Johnson 3/07/2017 01:31:00 AM Tweet Edit