The Boston Celtics got railroaded in the second half of last nights matchup with the Clippers in Los Angeles. It was the third game in their current West coast road trip, and although the Celtics led for much of the game a ridiculous Clippers run that started late in the 3rd quarter swallowed a 13-point C's lead and was too much for the green team to overcome:
Clippers have outscored Celtics 41-14 in last 10 minutes.— Brian Robb (@CelticsHub) March 7, 2017
After the game Isaiah Thomas took exception to Celtics coach Brad Stevens' unique lineup combinations that we'd yet to see this year:
One of those lineups consisted of Terry Rozier, Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, James Young, and Jordan Mickey. Although you can question the size of this lineup against the massive Clippers front-line I think the bigger issue was the inexperience on the floor. Jamal Crawford got hot and ate them alive from behind the three-point line and they surrendered the Celtics lead for good at the end of the 3rd. This was the first time this lineup had seen the floor all season:
After scanning through lineups on NBA dot com, I believe Rozier-Smart-Brown-Young-Mickey had not played together before the third quarter.— Jay King (@ByJayKing) March 7, 2017
The Celtics were without Al Horford (elbow) and Jonas Jerebko (flu) last night and Amir Johnson was on the sidelines with 4 fouls at the time so that might explain Stevens choice to go small with Mickey at the 5. The size wasn't really an issue at this point, as it was Crawford who rallied the Clips himself at the end of the 3rd quarter.
Early in the 4th Stevens decided again to go to another unique lineup that led to disastrous results. With the Celtics trailing 86-80 Stevens rolled out 3 guards and 2 forwards with Jae Crowder at the center spot. The Clips responded with 8-straight points as DeAndre Jordan was an unstoppable force against the Celtics small lineup:
The Celtics have Jae Crowder at center right now against DeAndre Jordan and Jordan is feasting.— Jay King (@ByJayKing) March 7, 2017
Maybe going to a lineup of 3 guards and 2 small forwards in a stretch when the Clippers couldn't miss was a bad idea.— CelticsLife.com (@CelticsLife) March 7, 2017
Brad Stevens noted after the game that the small and unique lineups were more out of necessity than anything else, but that he thought his players could have played better in those situations. Via Jay King of MassLive:
"Obviously we want to stretch them out on one end, but at the same time, we wanted to be able to keep them in front and switch a little bit and those type of things," Stevens said. "DeAndre's a tremendous roller and rebounder, but we felt like if Jae Crowder is behind him we can guard him in the post and those type of things. But that probably hurt us more from a transition matchup thing than anything. But, yeah, we're going to be better when we're full go, but we're not. So no excuses there. You've got to play."
Thomas also noted after the game that there was plenty of blame to go around last night but he's not concerned going forward:
"I'm not concerned," Thomas said. "It's just the way we lost tonight was unacceptable. We lost the game in the last 15 minutes of the game. We played a really good game up until the last 15 minutes. And that's the players' fault, the coaches' fault, that's everybody in this locker room's fault. We could have done a lot better."
While I can certainly appreciate Thomas holding people accountable when he thinks they've made a mistake, last night night marks the second game in row where he was quick to throw somebody else under the bus after a tough loss. Those kind of comments seem better suited for a private conversation than for venting in the media moments after the game, but Thomas is known for telling it how he sees it after a game so it's nothing out of the ordinary. Although I wasn't a fan of Stevens small lineup choices against such a massive opposing team he certainly was missing some the key big pieces in his arsenal last night.
Photo Credit - Mark J. Terrill/Asoociated Press
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Mark Allison 3/07/2017 11:58:00 AM Tweet Edit