Five Takeaways: Clippers Beat Celtics Behind Jordan’s Career Night
BOSTON — DeAndre Jordan scored a career-high 30 points as the Clippers beat the Celtics, 129-119. LA is riding a two-game win streak heading into All-Star Weekend.
Here are five quick takeaways from the Clippers’ win.
Quote of the Night: “They were finding the hot hand tonight.” — DeAndre Jordan
1) Jordan posts a career night —
Brad Stevens and the Celtics struggled on defense. The Clippers imposed their will offensively. Stevens, searching for any option to limit LA, elected to hack DeAndre Jordan intentionally four separate times. Jordan, who has struggled in the past at free throws, resoundingly denied Stevens’ plea by going 7-of-8 at the line, even talking towards the Celtics’ bench before and after shooting free throws.
The Clippers scored 129 points on the night, and their offense worked with such efficiency because Jordan was a seismic force at the rim, grabbing lobs from way above the rim, scoring by creating shots at the rim, and making 88 percent of his free throws. Jordan finished with a career-high 30 points, while shooting 79 percent from the field. He also grabbed 13 rebounds and recorded 4 steals, a season-high.
2) Team effort —
For the second straight game, seven Clipper players scored in double figures, with Montrezl Harrell barely missing the cut, finishing with 9 points. This is the third time on the season the Clippers received such a balanced attack. Jordan led the team, and his frontcourt mates were second and third. Tobias Harris scored 21 points. Danilo Gallinari added 20 points. The size and athleticism of the Jordan-Harris-Gallinari trio was too much for the Celtics.
Off the bench, Lou Williams finished with 19 points, and Avery Bradley, Austin Rivers, and Milos Teodosic all had 10 points.
3) Irving stars —
On June 29, “Uncle Drew” will open in theatres across the country. The commercial campaign turned movie is centered around an old man with incredible basketball abilities, portrayed by Celtics’ guard Kyrie Irving. Irving’s stardom is transcending basketball, but tonight, he was as good as advertised on the court.
The guard dazzled, spinning around and shooting from angles like few in NBA can do. He scored a game-high 33 points, with most of his points coming from outside the paint, and passed for a game-high 8 assists, creating easy looks for his teammates.
All-Star Al Horford finished with 20 points for the Celtics, and Terry Rozier posted 13 points and 7 assists off the bench.
4) Back and forth second quarter —
At the end of the first quarter, the Clippers led 34-25 over the Celtics, before a series of large momentum shifts occurred over the second quarter. The Celtics began the quarter slow, then found some rhythm, closing a 13-point lead to 4 points over a four minute span thanks to Marcus Morris hitting a few three pointers. Then the Clippers lead ballooned back out, reaching 14 points. The Clippers offense swung the ball around the perimeter, finding offense from Gallinari, Teodosic and Rivers, among others. However, over the final minute and a half, Kyrie Irving scored 7 points and Terry Rozier made a Hail Mary, buzzer beating three with Avery Bradley smothering him. The Celtics entered halftime down four, 61-57.
5) New King of the Fourth —
The leading scorer for the fourth quarter in the entire NBA is Clippers guard Lou Williams. Entering the night, he averaged 7.5 points in the final quarter. Tonight, he scored 16.
Williams struggled for the first three quarters, with shot after shot bouncing off the rim. But in the fourth quarter, the guard put up 16 points on 10 shots, representing a major part of the Clippers’ push to a 10-point victory. For the 27th straight game, Williams scored 15-plus.
What’s Next? — With the All-Star break taking place this weekend, the Clippers will not take the court again until Thursday, Feb. 22 at Golden State.