The Boston Celtics had their best first half of the season Saturday night at TD Garden, as they scored a season-best 74 points before the break and jumped out to a 28-point lead over the Los Angeles Clippers.
Unfortunately, Boston, which lost leading-scorer Kyrie Irving during the second quarter to a right knee sprain, followed its phenomenal half with its worst third quarter of the season. It scored just 12 points during the first 12 minutes after the break, all while coughing up the majority of its massive lead.
The final 7:54 of the third frame was when LA did most of its damage. During that time period, it outscored the C's 20-6 while allowing only two field goals. By the end of the run, the Clippers found themselves trailing by only five points, as they entered the fourth quarter facing a slim, 86-81 disadvantage.
LA then went on an absolute tear during the fourth quarter, outscoring Boston 42-26 to close out the game. It was all thanks to the momentum shift in the third frame that allowed the Clippers to set sail and cruise to a 123-112 victory.
Saturday night was great night for Boston's bench, and for Gordon Hayward in particular.
The ninth-year wing poured in a team-high 19 points on 6-of-11 shooting to lead a 59-point, second-unit effort for the C's. He also chipped in five rebounds, three assists and a steal during 27 minutes of action.
Hayward made his impact felt most during crunch time, scoring seven points on a perfect 3-for-3 fourth-quarter effort to try to help keep his Celtics alive. Unfortunately, the Clippers' offense was hot as well, as it sunk Boston's defense with 42 points during the frame.
Box Score Nuggets
- Montrezl Harrell (21 points) was the game's only 20-point scorer.
- Gordon Hayward led the C's with 19 points off the bench.
- Boston's reserves tallied 59 points, including 23 during the first quarter.
- Danilo Gallinari logged the game's only double-double, tallying 19 points and 10 rebounds.
- Boston committed 29 personal fouls, leading to 40 free-throw attempts for LA.
- The Celtics turned the ball over 11 times during the second half, after doing so just once during the first half.
- Jayson Tatum fouled out for the first time in his career with 18 seconds left in the game.
- Boston's 74-point first half represented its highest-scoring half of the season.
- Boston's 12-point third quarter represented its lowest-scoring third quarter of the season.
- Kyrie Irving scored 14 points in 14 minutes before leaving the game in the second quarter with a sprained right knee.
Quote of the Night
Whatever the case may be, there's an answer out there and we just have to find it.
Brad Stevens on the C's coughing up their second 20-point lead in a row.