Five Takeaways: 2nd Half Run Propels Clippers in Win
Los Angeles - With just four minutes remaining in the third quarter, the Clippers (38-25) trailed the Celtics (40-24) by 13 points, and looked like they were headed to another disappointing home loss before exploding on a 43-14 run to come from behind to beat Boston.
Here are five takeaways from the Clippers’ 116-102 victory over the Celtics.
Quote of the Night
“I’ve always said that when you’re at your best in the NBA, it feels like you’re in high school because you’re not thinking and your true game comes out.” – Jamal Crawford
1) Jamal stays hot and chases history –
With Two minutes left in the third quarter Jamal Crawford had not yet scored and he and the Clippers’ offense was struggling to keep up with the high-octane Celtics. Crawford then hit a pull-up three and on The next Clippers’ possession nailed another one from deep. After that, Crawford was rolling as the ball kept ending up in His hands en route to 17 second half points, including four 3-pointers to lead the Clippers late comeback.
“There’s times when [Jamal Crawford] gets hot, that you get out of the way and let him do his thing,” said Blake Griffin.
Following a team-high 25-point game against the Chicago Bulls, Crawford once again displayed the instant offense that won him 6th-Man-of-the-Year, hitting tough shots after a trail of crossovers. Once the defense started swarming, Crawford hit open teammates, dishing out five assists.
“One of the best decisions I’ve made when I took this job, is to never tell Jamal, 'bad shot'," said Doc Rivers.
Crawford also passed Vince Carter for 6th all-time in NBA history in three pointers made, with the last One adding to his patented league-high 50th four-point play of his career.
2) Paul Pierce faces Boston for the final time -
Paul Pierce last saw action Feb.15, 2017, against the Boston Celtics, his former team of 15 seasons.
Pierce did not play against his former team tonight, but he did receive a video tribute after the first time-out, honoring his time in the league. The video included highlights spanning his time at nearby Inglewood High School through his NBA career, containing special interviews from current and former teammates such as Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, Shaquille O’Neal, and Roy Williams among others. Once the video finished, Pierce smiled and waved to a sold-out Staples Center, which was standing and cheering the future hall-of-famer.
3) Celtics launch from deep early, fade late –
The Celtics shoot the third most threes in the NBA at 33.3 per-game, trailing only the Houston Rockets and the Cleveland Cavaliers.Tonight the Celtics shot 24 threes in the first half. While they only made six, the constant barrage of shots spread out the Clippers’ defense, resulting in the Celtics grabbing six offensive rebounds and extending possessions.
In the second half, the Clippers held the Celtics to only 11 three point attempts. Though the Celtics made four, the complexion of the game changed with the Celtics shooting less from downtown.
“We just played with better energy," Rivers said. "Like I said before the game, if we just allow them to move without the ball and cut where they want to, they are going to keep getting threes, and I thought in the second half we didn’t do that."
4) Bench Mob
Every player from the Clippers’ reserve unit had a positive plus/minus for the game, but it was the energy they provided that proved a real spark in the second half.
It was the second straight game the Clippers bench helped seize a lead and hold on to it. Mo Speights provided several big plays on the defensive end, and Raymond Felton was a key contributor off the bench.
"It's huge for us when they play that way, and play that many minutes," Rivers said.
5) Struggles From The Line
The Clippers center DeAndre Jordan struggled from the free throw line vs.Boston, converting just 2-of-12 from the stripe in a foul-plagued first half
Celtics’ Head Coach Brad Stevens implemented the “Hack-a-DJ” often, intentionally fouling Jordan in the second and third quarters.
Jordan returned to action in the 3rd quarter and helped power the Clippers comeback, playing as the lone starter with Crawford, Felton, Austin Rivers and Wesley Johnson. Jordan combined with Crawford and Felton for several big dunks and Alley-oops that helped push the lead out.
What’s next? - The Clippers play the first game of a back-to-back series Wednesday against the Timberwolves in Minnesota.