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Having lost their previous four games entering their tilt against the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center, the Boston Celtics knew they'd be at quite the disadvantage having Al Horford and Marcus Smart ruled out of the game.

Coming off the heels of a disappointing performance where the C's came up just short vs. the Los Angeles Lakers, 108-107, Brad Stevens' team hoped it would have better luck their second night in a row in downtown Los Angeles. Putting up a few shots beforehand during the pregame, Gordon Hayward may just have been their good luck charm as the Celtics finally snapped their losing-streak and an earned a solid 113-102 win.



The Green started out the first quarter looking a little more aggressive, especially our young studs, which was nice to see. Jayson Tatum seemed a lot more engaged offensively and Jaylen Brown had his nose in a lot of plays early. MVP candidate and team-scoring leader, Kyrie Irving, was up to his usual act as well connecting a few times early from the floor.

Coming off a pretty solid outing the night before with 13 points and 7 boards, Marcus Morris also was involved a lot early replacing Horford in the lineup. He connected on a three in the last-second of a great defensive possession that definitely hurt LA's confidence.



Asked about his team's play through the first period by ESPN reporter, Cassidy Hubbarth, during the intermission, coach Brad Stevens' said, "I just think we have to play really well on both ends. We played pretty focused. I thought our offense was good. And besides a few transition baskets, I thought our defense was good."

Entering the second quarter up 25-22, the Celtics looked to put a much bigger dent in that lead before the half as their bench came out pretty hot. Terry Rozier looked like he was back up to his old ways and had a really nice drive to the bucket for a score. Morris continued to be a factor getting his hands dirty drawing a few fouls (although one may have been questionable) and finished the half with 12 points.



The rather, extensive use of the whistle continued on against the C's as they ended up drawing 18 fouls (EIGHTEEN FOULS) in total the first half, even coach Stevens got hit with a technical himself. The Clippers ended up finishing with 17 points from the line total at the end of the half on 26 free throws. TWENTY-SIX.

Uncle Drew wouldn't let this get the best of the Green though as he continued his scoring march these last few games by putting up 13 points and also dishing out four assists. While it was nice to Kyrie keep up his act, one of the nicer parts of the first half had to be Jayson Tatum.

Finishing with 12 points, four boards and three assists, the Celtic rookie took 10 shots the first half too. Ten!!!! Tatum gave Boston fans a taste of exactly what they've been waiting for with that amount of offensive input. Although most of it was probably due to Horford's absence, this should be something we look to see Stevens continue to work in.



Entering the third quarter, the Green looked to stop Los Angeles dominance in the paint the first half which totaled in 30 points. Play by play announcer and Celtic legend (let's call the goat what he is), Brian Scalabrine, said he looked for more of a "bar-fight" the second half referencing an interview old teammate Kevin Garnett had with the late-great Craig Sager.

The Celtics definitely took task and even made use of first-year Celtic, Aron Baynes, down low scoring a quick couple of buckets out of the break. The Celtics continued their three point barrage but early in the third it wasn't in their fortune as they missed their first four shots from deep in the half.

Tatum adjusted pretty quickly and made use of a solid mid-range jumper over Clipper point guard Milos Teodosic. Kyrie also adjusted by putting on a passing exhibition setting up Jaylen Brown for a nice jam.




However despite the Celtics offense clicking a lot more on their second night in a row at the Staples Center, the Clippers continued their aggressive play from the first half and kept themselves in the game. Going up 16 points on Los Angeles at one point, the Green still lost their big lead as the score tightened to 72-69 with a little over five minutes left in the period.

The C's eventually got back into their groove though as they we're winning a lot of the hustle plays down the stretch in the third. They ended up finishing the third up with a fourteen point lead, 91-77, over Clippers coachDoc Rivers' squad.



Rivers' successor Brad Stevens used his bench throughout much of the last quarter of the game and for good reason. Taking their lead just shy of 20 points about halfway through the period after Terry knocked down free throws, Boston pretty much had the game in hand well before the clock ran out.

This was a nice change of pace overall for C's fans I think as these past two weeks (or 13 days to be exact) haven't been to kind to them or their team not winning a single game throughout, albeit only playing four times. Who knows, maybe the change of pace back to nightly games is what the Celtics like? Many of us complained about the amount of back-to-backs and how difficult the schedule was but in the last few weeks when the team only played sparingly, they struggled.



In the end, the final score of 113-102 was pretty indicative of how most of the second half went in the game. The Celtics offense continued to flow pretty well and although the defense didn't have it's best performance, a lot of that could be credited to the amount of free throws and early production by Los Angeles. They did put up 55 points in the first half after all.

Irving finished the night with a near triple-double performance posting 20 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists. Tatum finished with 18 points, six boards and also hit half his shots from deep (2/4). The rookie said that it felt great to get the monkey off his back laughing it was good "just to get back on track and stop losing."

The bench had a phenomenal outing tonight. Rozier had a hell of a game as well off the bench with 15 points, three boards and four assists for the Green as he stepped up pretty big in Smart's absence. Daniel Theis and Semi Ojeleye both had eight points a piece and speaking of absences, Morris stepped off the bench into the starting role helping a lot too putting up 15 points himself (although he did only hit five of 13 shots).

All in all, it was nice to see Brad Stevens team get back in the win column as the Celtics' tweet above notes. A mixture of aggressive play, efficient offense, and pretty tough defense led them to a relatively easy win. They have a tough game coming up against the Golden State Warriors so they'll need all the same in their game on Saturday.



Follow Brendan on Twitter for more Celtics/NBA info at @brendan_ronan_



Photo via NBA Twitter

Brendan Ronan 1/25/2018 01:13:00 AM Edit
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