Posted on January 25, 2018, by Travis Pulver
There was one thing fans of the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Clippers knew would happen Wednesday night. Someone’s losing streak was going to come to an end. For the Clippers, it had only been two games. But the Celtics were riding a four-game losing streak. Someone would have to come out ahead on the scoreboard at the end of the night– so their streak would come to an end.
At first, it looked like the game could go either way.
During the first quarter, the Celtics were able to get out to a six-point lead. But the Clippers closed the gap to three, 25-22, by the time the quarter ended. Boston used a 10-3 run about midway through the second to stretch the lead out to ten, 45-35. Los Angeles got within three, but heading into halftime they were down seven, 62-55.
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With the game still relatively close, the Clippers just needed to find some consistency on offense to get back in the game. Maybe, just maybe, they could even take it over. But, instead, it was Boston that ended up taking over the game in the third quarter.
The Clippers were able to keep it close for much of the third. But a 17-6 by the Celtics effectively put the game out of reach for Los Angeles. The Clippers simply didn’t have enough offense to overcome the Celtics defense.
Clippers forward Sam Dekker’s dunk closed out the scoring with 48 seconds to play and made the final 113-102, Boston.
“They do a good job defending, but we got some good shots, some wide-open shots, and just missed,” Clippers forward Blake Griffin said after the game (ESPN).
Blake Griffin led all scorers with 23 points but did not have a good night from the floor (8-21) and especially three-point range (1-7). Kyrie Irving led the way for the Celtics with 20 points followed by Jayson Tatum with 18.
What seemed to make the biggest difference was three-point shooting and free throws. The Celtics hit 14 of 40 three-point attempts next to five of 21 for the Clippers. Boston was much better from the free throw line as well (21-22 net to 27-39 for the Clippers).
The four-game losing streak likely had Celtics head coach Brad Stevens concerned, but he appears to have been taking it in stride. After the game, he had this to say:
“This is a hard league,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said (ESPN). “You’re going to have your ups and downs. We were really fortunate to win 16 games in a row earlier this year. We could have lost about 11 of them. Sometimes things go your way, sometimes they don’t.”
With the win, Boston’s record improved to 35-14 and keeps them a game and a half in front of the Toronto Raptors for the top spot in the East. The loss drops the Clippers record to 23-24 and a game behind the Denver Nuggets for the No. 8 seed in the West.
His Celtics will have a much tougher test Saturday night when they face the Golden State Warriors. The Clippers will try to get back on the right side of the scoreboard when they face the Memphis Grizzlies Friday night.