Gameday Report: In midst of playoff push, Clippers visit Celtics
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The Clippers (29-26) will take on the Boston Celtics (40-18) on Wednesday, in the final game of a four-game East Coast swing.
Here’s what to look out for in Wednesday’s matchup:
High note before the hiatus –
Wednesday will represent the final game for both the Clippers and Celtics before this weekend’s All-Star break, meaning both teams will look to go into the break on a high note.
LA has won four of its last five and is 2-1 on the current road trip. A 3-1 finish on a cross-country trip headed into the break would be a huge positive for the new-look Clippers, who are still incorporating forward Tobias Harris and guard Avery Bradley into their schemes.
The Clippers also need every win they can get, as the race for the Western Conference playoffs heats up. LA is currently in ninth place but tied in the loss column with Oklahoma City, Portland, Denver and New Orleans, the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth seeds in the West, respectively.
LA will be on the road until Feb. 28, when they host Houston. After Wednesday’s game in Boston, they will enjoy the All-Star break before traveling to take on Golden State, Phoenix and Denver over the next two weeks.
On the opposite side, Boston needs a win. The Celtics have lost three of their last four, including a 20-point loss in Toronto on Feb. 6 and a 22-point drubbing at the hands of Cleveland on Sunday, in a nationally-televised game on Boston’s home floor.
The wheels are slowly turning –
Aside from Saturday’s loss at Philadelphia, which came on the second night of a back-to-back, the new-look Clippers have been among the league’s best teams over the last five games.
And it looks like they are only getting better, especially on the defensive end.
Coming into Wednesday, the Clippers are seventh in points allowed per game (102.4) since their Feb. 3 tilt with Chicago (min. 5 games), which marked the debut for LA’s new additions Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley and Boban Marjanovic.
Clippers opponents are only shooting 42.3 percent from the field over the last five, the fourth lowest mark in the league since Feb. 3 (min. 5 games). In addition, LA is only allowing 39.2 points per game in the paint in the last five games, good for third best in the league since Feb. 3 (min. 5 games).
On Monday, Clippers guard Milos Teodosic returned to the lineup after missing two games with a sore right foot, further bolstering the team’s depth. LA played 11 players, nine of which played at least 10 minutes. The team shot 56.5 percent as a whole and seven players scored in double figures.
Teodosic, along with forward Montrezl Harrell and guard Lou Williams, scored a combined 42 points off the bench on 17-for-26 shooting. Harrell went a perfect 6-for-6 from the floor and scored 15 points in only 12 minutes.
Wednesday’s game will tip-off at 5 p.m. PST.