Kyrie Irving dropped 33 points and added 8 assists while Marcus Morris had his second double-double of the season with 13 points and 11 rebounds, all off of the bench. Unfortunately, DeAndre Jordan and the Clippers offense had their way with Boston and handed them their third straight defeat on their home court.
The Celtics D has now let up a season-high in points in back-to-back games. Boston has dropped two in a row and now falls two games behind the 1st Place Raptors in the Eastern Conference Standings. They’ll use the All-Star break to regroup and hopefully come back better then ever.
Final Score: 129-119.
The Game Flow
The skid brought about a familiar trend for this team. By now we know when their shooting is off, the shooting turns ALL THE WAY OFF. Tonight they made just one out of every three shots in the first quarter. That’s right, the Celtics shot 33% from the field to begin the game; and although you may think I should be crediting the Clippers defense, you’ll have to trust me on this. It was the hometown team missing open shots left and right and it was beyond frustrating. If this were a random occurence, sure- that’d be one thing. But the Celtics have turned in far too many clunkers at the end of a quarter recently, and it’s going to require higher energy from the Cetlics players in order to turn this around.
Boston went almost an entire half-quarter waiting for another person to score besides Brown, Baynes, and Horford. All the while DeAndre Jordan was eating the weak Celtics D (which was what they have been lately: weak) despite Brad getting Theis and Monroe in to try something different and play together early. The Celtics went into Q2 down 34-25. If it weren’t for the Celtics bench, which outscored their counterpart 11-3 during the quarter and provided the spark early and often through out the night, the score would have been downright out-of-hand already.
The Celtics were wise enough to put Jaylen in the post whenever he was guarded by smaller players such as Austin Rivers or Milo Teodosic, which often resulted in a successful free throw attempt for Brown as they overcompensated with physical play. Staying on a positive note for a moment: it was a thing of beauty watching Kyrie, Terry, Al, and Jaylen run the floor after a missed attempt by the Clippers. The group shared the ball until eventually finding Al underneath for the easy two, but the whole transition was the true highlight for any hoophead.
The Celtics starters found their legs in the second, led by Kyrie Irving, who scored 11 of his 14 points for the half while giving a taste of what’s to come for the rest of the night. But Boston’s bench remained the true catalyst for the team, though, as they were led by Microwave Morris (9 points, 5 rebounds) and Tough-Time Terry (7 points, 4 assists) through out half. In fact, the biggest shot of the first half came from the Celtics bench bulldog, as Terry awkwardly drilled a 3 with a defender in his face (he got fouled but no call was made) as time expired.
The Celtics have yet to lead in the game, but they did come back down from as many as 14 points to make it just a 4 point defecit heading into the second half, 61-57. The Clippers were led by DeAndre Jordan (14 points, 6/8 from the field, 7 rebounds), and D. Gallinari (13 points, 6 rebounds) ,while Kyrie Irving (14 points, 4 assists) and Al Horford (8 points, 2 blocks) led Boston.
Baynes got the start tonight but quickly earned three fouls chasing around Gallinari and Harris, who then went a combined 9 for 9 from the line during the first half. When he returned in the lineup to begin the second half Baynes immediately made his presence felt by tipping home his first missed attempt, feeding Jaylen as he cut down the lane for an easy 2, and banging his turnaround hook shot.
The Celtics took the lead ever so briefly shortly thereafter, but it never felt as though Boston had control of this game. The offense wasn’t the problem for Boston, though. Terry Rozier came down and matched Kyrie’s deep ball to make the Celtics now 9 of 16 from the field through 10 minutes in the third quarter. The defense, however, remained non-existent and allowed the Clippers to basically score at will. Kyrie added another three pointer to give himself 29 in the game, but the Celtics still found themselves trailing 93-91 at the end of Q3.
The only Clippers player the Celtics seemed to have an answer for so far also happened to lead the League in fourth quarter scoring this year. So while Lou Williams had been stifled thus far, shooting a surprisingly putrid 1 of 8 from the field through three quarters, we knew this wouldn’t last much longer. Sure enough, Williams came out firing in Q4 and seemed as though he were on a mission to put the Celtics away for good. Lou shot 5 of 10 during the fourth quarter and finished with 19 points and 6 assists.
Jaylen Brown demonstrated a drive to win this quarter, hustling for loose ball rebounds and ensuring that he finished every opportunity he had with points scored during crunch time. Jayson Tatum, likewise, made a defender look silly and finised at the rim plus the foul while the Celtics were trailing late in the game. Although the Celtics have a lot to learn from this game, it was great to see the two young guys with their heads still in the game despite an otherwise forgettable start for the pair. Unfortunately, like so many games we’ve seen from this team recently, the Celtics D couldn’t get the stops when they needed to. Or think about it this way: after Terry Rozier’s three pointer gave the Celtics a four point lead with just under 10 minutes to go, Boston was outscored 34-20 the remainder of the game. DeAndre Jordan scored a career high 30 points with 10 rebounds and shot an even more impressive 8 of 9 from the free throw line. The Celtics, meanwhile, have Kyrie as their main fourth quarter threat, but he scored just 4 more points in the final frame to finish with 33 points on the night. No other Celtics had more than Al Horford (20points), which is less than ideal when your team’s defensive strategy is to give up a million points.
Final Score: 129-119
Who’s Hot and Who’s Not
Hot: Coming Soon
The Celtics bench was actually outscored by the Clippers bench by a score of 38-36 thanks to Lou Williams 16 point outburst during the 4th quarter (he’d finish with 19). Marcus Morris and Terry Rozier did their part with 13 points each, though. Here are 3 of Morris’:
One of the few highlights tonight where the Celtics were in the lead. If you didn’t watch the game, just savor this moment and enjoy the All-Star break. You know there’s no use in watching the replay when this is a main highlight.
At least this was pretty? Also, it should be noted that Tatum was lucky to reach double digits in points tonight (10), as his final three was in garbage time as the Clippers weren’t playing D; but Lou-Will did the same thing, so oh well.
What The Hell?
DeAndre Jordan is historic. He is the NBA’s All-Time Leader in FG% with 67.4%, but he simultaneously has the NBA’s Third Worst All-Time FT% at 43.9%. Chew on that for a while and come back in a moment for video highlights.
View the full post at Red's Army: Recap: Celtics Lack of Defense Leads to Second Straight Loss