Ford Keys to the Game: Clippers 108, Celtics 103
Clippers 108, Celtics 103
It was fitting on a Wednesday, the proverbial Hump Day of the work week, that the Celtics were able to put together a dramatic comeback tonight but weren’t able to get over the hump against the Los Angeles Clippers.
After trailing by as many as 23 points in the second half and by 16 with 10:27 remaining in regulation, Boston rallied back to cut the deficit down to three with 5:38 left on the clock. The Celtics’ 15-2 spurt, which took less than five minutes of playing time to complete, was highlighted by six points from Nenad Krstic and was capped with a 17-foot jumper by Kevin Garnett.
With the this one cut down to a one-possession game and the Garden rocking in enjoyment of the comeback, it looked like the Celtics were destined to pull off their most impressive come-from-behind victory of the season. That thought was quickly put to rest, though, when the Clippers showed that they’ve got much more ice in their veins than many thought.
Mo Williams, who scored a game-high 28 points, came right back at Boston at the other end of the floor and trusted his instincts in firing up a 3-pointer just 15 seconds after Garnett’s jumper had fallen through the hoop. Had that shot missed, the C’s would have had an opportunity to either tie the game or cut the lead down to one on their next possession. If the shot went in, Los Angeles’ lead would have been doubled up to six.
Interestingly enough, neither of those results occurred, as Rajon Rondo was whistled for his most ill-advised foul of the season. Williams was awarded three free throws as a result of the foul and he dropped all of them through the net to bump the Clippers’ lead back up to six with 5:23 remaining.
With plenty of time remaining on the clock, that play certainly didn’t end the game. Boston continued to fight back and keep it close, but consecutive 3-pointers from Ryan Gomes and Williams on two of Los Angeles’ next three possessions halted all of the momentum Boston temporarily possessed.
Key Box Score Line
Doc Rivers said tonight that his new starting center – at least for the time being – has surprised him in what he brings to the table. Nenad Krstic is playing phenomenal basketball for the Celtics, and he has landed in this section for the second consecutive game.
Krstic scored 20 points tonight on 7-of-10 shooting from the floor and fell just one rebound shy of notching his first double-double as a Celtic. His nine boards were the highest total he has grabbed since joining Boston. Krstic also shot very well from the free-throw line, where he made six of his seven attempts.
As he said after the game, he took it upon himself to be more aggressive offensively and on the glass.
“I was just more aggressive in the second half, just to get a couple offensive rebounds, and trying to run the floor,” said Krstic.
If he keeps delivering with stat lines like this, the Celtics may want to tell him to fall into that mindset more often.
Box Score Nuggets
- Four of Boston's five starters grabbed at least six rebounds, but none reached double-figures.
- In comparison, only two Clippers grabbed more than five rebounds.
- Nenad Krstic notched 20 points and tight for the game-high with nine rebounds.
- Mo Williams scored a game-high 28 points, including five 3-pointers.
- Los Angeles' largest lead was 23, while Boston's was just one point.
- There were eight lead changes in the game, yet the Celtics' largest lead was only one point.
- Each team shot great from the free-throw line, with Boston shooting 23-of-27 (85.2 percent) and Los Angeles shooting 21-of-26 (80.8 percent).
- The Celtics were outscored despite attempting nine more shots (84) than the Clippers (75).
- Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Krstic played nearly the exact amount of time tonight, as they all notched between 37:22 and 37:44 of playing time.
- Allen scored a team-high 23 points for Boston.
- No player in the game made more than nine field goals.
- All of Boston's starters made at least five field goals, but none made more than nine.
- The Celtics outscored the Clippers in points in the paint (48-40), second-chance points (20-12) and fast break points (12-8) but still lost.
- Los Angeles scored 30 or more points in three of the four quarters.
- Eight players blocked a shot in the game, as each accounted for one of the eight total blocks on the night.
- The Celtics finished with 21 assists in both contests against the Clippers this season.
- Paul Pierce scored 19 points for the Celtics.
- DeAndre Jordan finished the game with 21 points on 9-of-10 shooting and tied for the game-high with nine boards.
- Boston's nine turnovers led to 11 Los Angeles points, while the Clippers' 16 turnovers led to only seven points for the Celtics.
- Boston grabbed 10 steals in the game.
- Randy Foye dished out a game-high 12 assists.
- Williams committed six turnovers for the Clippers.
- Avery Bradley logged just one second of playing time in the game.
Quote of the Night
DeAndre Jordan after being asked if he had ever hit two bigger free throws than his two makes with 15.6 seconds remaining in tonight's game, which put the Clippers back on top by five: "No, never, my entire life.”