Rapid Reaction: Clippers 111, C's 105
January, 9, 2014
By Chris Forsberg | ESPNBoston.com
Rapid reaction after the Los Angeles Clippers defeated the Boston Celtics 111-105 on Wednesday night at the Staples Center:
THE NITTY GRITTY
The Celtics endured another loss -- their sixth straight and ninth in 10 games -- but coach Brad Stevens can sleep contently after this one. Boston wasn't always crisp and it had some maddening moments, but the Celtics showed effort and were still hounding the Clippers in the final minute trying to make one last charge. Blake Griffin scored a game-high 29 points (attempting a whopping 17 free throw attempts) to go along with eight assists and six rebounds, while DeAndre Jordan added 11 points and 13 rebounds (and was a team-best plus-16 in plus/minus) to pace the Clippers. Avery Bradley and Jordan Crawford each had a team-high 24 points for Boston, while Jeff Green kicked in a double-double (15 points, 11 rebounds).
The Celtics trailed by as much as 16 late in the first quarter and could have packed it in, but actually rallied back and briefly surged ahead early in the third quarter when a Bradley jumper had Boston out front 70-69. Boston would endure a three-minute scoring lull in which the Clippers embarked on a little 8-0 run to start pulling away again. A few minutes into the fourth quarter, Los Angeles' lead was back at 16 before Boston fought to make it interesting in the final minutes.
Jared Sullinger made contact with Griffin's head trying to defend a baseline drive in the fourth quarter and was issued another flagrant-1 foul -- this after earning two in Tuesday's loss in Denver (one of which was later downgraded upon video review). The league will have to take a look at this one as well, but Sullinger put himself in a tough spot making contact with Griffin's head. For the moment at least, Sullinger is back at five flagrant points, putting him on the cusp of a one-game suspension for his next infraction. Sullinger played only 11:46 during Wednesday's game, finishing with four points (on 1-of-6 shooting) and three rebounds.
Jordan Crawford picked up his team-high third technical foul of the season for barking at a referee late in the first half for not getting a whistle on a missed fadeaway jumper in the lane.
IT'S HUMP DAY
Kris Humphries, who missed Tuesday's game in Denver with a left ankle injury, drew his first start of the season and contributed six points, eight rebounds and four assists over 31:35. Unfortunately, he ended up on the wrong end of one of Griffin's loud poster dunks.
Keith Bogans and Vitor Faverani were both healthy DNPs for Boston, which ran with a tightened rotation. ... Newcomer Jerryd Bayless chipped in 11 points on 3-of-9 shooting with five assists, three rebounds and two steals. He nearly had a key late-game steal, but was whistled for a foul and couldn't convert a late-game drive that could have made it a one-possession game in the final seconds. ... The Clippers were 11-of-30 on 3-pointers with Jared Dudley making his first four in a big first-half outburst. ... Boston won the battle on the glass, 45-37, and held a 52-30 advantage on points in the paint. ... The Clippers had a 24-5 advantage in fast-break points. ... Boston was hurt by 19 turnovers.
WHAT IT MEANS
The Celtics (13-23) are now 0-3 on their five-game road trip. They'll take Thursday off coming off a back-to-back, then dive into another set of consecutive games with stops in Golden State and Portland to wrap up the west-coast swing.