What seemed to be a run away victory for the Celtics early in the game turned into a very close, physical fourth quarter as the Boston Celtics defeat the Los Angeles Clippers 106-104. Paul Pierce came up huge once again for the Celtics as he hit a step back three pointer with just over two seconds left in the game. This is Boston’s fourth straight victory without their star point guard Rajon Rondo, but as the game came down to the end, Rondo’s value showed as the offense was very stagnant in the final minutes.
The Celtics started out the first three quarters like they had in the last two games. They played with an uptempo offense, scoring on the fast break, and playing tight defense, which really shocked the Clippers. L.A. had no answer for Boston as the Celtics took command of the game early, leading by as many as 19 points.
For Boston, not one player was in double figures in scoring at half, and everyone who played in the game had scored. The ball distribution was so contagious that at one point “No pass Brandon Bass” was leading the team in assists. Overall, the first half for Boston was the best they’ve played all season, from beginning to end. The second half was a different story however.
As the game progressed the Celtics started going back to the half court offense. Whether that was in reaction to Los Angeles’ halftime adjustments or force of habit, it slowed the offense down and allowed the Clippers to get back into the game. The Clippers became physical, making the Celtics work for every point and rebound they got, and that began to change the tide later in the ball game.
In the fourth quarter, L.A.’s intensity picked up and got within two points of tying the game, but Boston’s defense held every time it looked like the Clippers were going to take control. With 26 seconds remaining in the game, Avery Bradley took a charge and Boston regained possession. On a poor coaching decision, the Clippers didn’t foul Paul Pierce when the Celtics inbounded the ball which later lead to Pierce hitting the dagger three.
Out of the four wins for Boston, this afternoon’s game may have been the most impressive. The Celtics ball distribution, and getting everyone involved on offense really stood out. Jason Terry, Jeff Green, and Leandro Barbosa all finished with double-digits in scoring which was crucial in beating the Clippers. With the bench stepping up, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett were given time to rest and that really helped as the game was coming to a close.
Every win is another confidence builder for this team, and after this afternoon, they deserve the rest. The Celtics now get two days off before they head to Toronto to face the new look Raptors. Boston will look to extend their win streak to five games before they take on the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday.