Before Wednesday’s game against the Celtics at TD Garden, Clippers head coach Doc Rivers told reporters that the last game before the All-Star break typically go one of two ways for most players: they either start their vacation early by putting up a forgettable night or they’ll piece together one of their best performances to date.
The Clippers chose the latter.
Defeating the Celtics by a 129-119 final, the Clips handed Boston their fourth loss in five tries, while the Celts allowed a season-high for points allowed this season.
Dominating out of the gate, the Clippers grabbed a 31-17 lead towards the end of the first quarter as the C’s offense couldn’t find the net. With the only consistent offensive coming from Kyrie Irving, it seemed he was the answer to keeping the Celtics afloat in the second quarter, which prevented the Clippers from grabbing a big time lead.
Saved by the 14 points Irving scored in the second quarter, including seven points in the final two minutes, Boston kicked off the second half with an 8-2 run as Irving carried over his momentum from the first half and into the third quarter.
But the Celtics had no answer for Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, who seemed to just soar over everyone in the paint, where he converted loud dunks and got himself to the charity stripe. Shockingly, Jordan was even making his free-throws.
It was that kind of night, and Jordan finished with a career-high 30 points.
However, with Irving in takeover mode, this game was far from done. The Celtics rallied behind his 15-point third quarter and headed towards the final frame only down by two.
It felt like it was going to be that kind of night for the All-Star point guard.
A night where the Celtics needed him to put them on his back and finish off the Clippers before taking a much-needed break. But Irving had to cool off before closing out game, which forced the rest of the guys to fend for themselves while their star took a breather.
With Al Horford, Marcus Morris and Terry Rozier leading the charge, they managed to put a small run together. But after Lou Williams drained one from deep to pull his team to within one, Stevens couldn’t resist, Irving came back into the game with 9:28 left.
Even with Irving back in earlier than most anticipated, the Clippers went on a 10-2 run before Stevens whistled for a timeout and entered the rest of his starting lineup.
After Boston trimmed a seven-point lead down to three and out of a Stevens timeout, the Celtics went back to their hack-a-Jordan strategy and for the second time it was the same result, as Jordan continued his hot streak with makes on both free throws.
Jordan’s unprecedented makes extended the Clipper lead back to five in the fourth quarter, and from there, the Green surrendered another 15 points in the final 4:05.
Irving’s game-high 33 points on 11-of-21 to go with his 8 assists led the C’s, while Horford chipped in 20 points. Morris and Rozier each chipped in 13 points off the bench.
Limping into the All-Star break on an ugly slump of sorts, the Celtics will take the next nine days off before traveling to Detroit to take on the Pistons next Friday night.
Full article @ Clippers 129, Celtics 119: DeAndre Jordan’s big night bests Kyrie Show
Source: GreenStreet Blog