Celtics fall to Clippers 102-93, lose 23rd in a row on road against Western Conference
While they play well for stretches, the Celtics just do not have enough talent to hang with elite teams, and that showed again during their MLK day matinee with the Clippers, as they lost 102-93. The Celtics were led by their four man bench wrecking crew of Marcus Smart, Marcus Thornton, Brandon Bass and Kelly Olynyk, who combined for 57 points. The Clippers were led by Blake Griffin (22-9-6) and DeAndre Jordan (8-9 FG, 19 points, 12 rebounds, 6 blocks).
Lifeless. Bored. Going through the motions. Those are some of the words I'd use to describe the Los Angeles Clippers early in this game against the Celtics this afternoon..and they're the ones who won. As for the Celtics, they were all of those same things -- only they were also working with the disadvantage of being a lot less talented than their LA counterparts.
The Celtics started terribly, and then mounted a few mini-runs to keep the score reasonable at the half (47-37). And then the Clippers came out hard after the break and the Celtics were blown right out of the water to start the second half. LA's starters outscored the Celtics 24-11 to start the third quarter, with Jordan sitting underneath the hoop waiting for lobs, and Griffin knocking down every mid-range jumper the Celtics gave him.
The Cs trailed by as many as 23 before a monster run by their bench -- led by Smart, Bass and Thornton -- cut the deficit all the way down to three points. Bass and Thornton are not long-term pieces, but Smart's continued red hot shooting (4-7 3 PT in this one) and great defense was awesome to see. The Celtics were +11 with Smart on the floor in this one, compared to -16 with starting point guard Evan Turner. For the season the Celtics are +8 with Smart, and a woeful -112 with Turner (to his credit, Turner played decent in this one).
At the end of the day, the Celts run came up short (honestly, how many times have we typed that over the last few seasons?), and they lost for the 12th time in 16 games since the Rajon Rondo trade.
The runs in this game told the story -- the Clippers have one of the best starting fives in the league, but a well below average bench. The Celtics on the other hand have depth, but their starting five cannot even begin to hang with a team like the Clippers. While the depth is nice, at the end of the day elite talent wins out (sizzling hot take right there I know).
The loss dropped the Celtics to 13-26, and (for the moment) slid them up to #5 in lottery positioning. They will try to snap their 23-game losing streak on the road against the Western Conference on Thursday night in Portland.