Wednesday, January 8, 2014
Rapid Reaction: Clippers 111, Celtics 105
By Arash Markazi
LOS ANGELES -- When the Los Angeles Clippers heard that Chris Paul had suffered a separated right shoulder during the third quarter of their game last week against the Dallas Mavericks, it would have been easy to expect the worst.
They were trailing Dallas at the time, had to travel to San Antonio that night and were possibly looking at playing a stretch of six weeks without Paul.
Well, they're about a week into life without Paul and it's not as bad as expected. The Clippers came back to beat Dallas, lost to San Antonio as expected, and have now beaten the Orlando Magic and Boston Celtics.
Wednesday's 111-105 win over the Celtics was the Clippers' second straight win and third in their past four games sans Paul.
It won't always be this easy without CP3, but the Clippers so far have navigated the rough waters of life without their captain better that most expected.
How it happened: The Clippers jumped out to a 26-10 lead and looked as if they would cruise. But they took their foot off the gas, allowing the Celtics to not only come back, but take a two-point lead in the third quarter. The Clippers finally buckled down in the fourth quarter despite a late collapse and were able to secure the win.
What it means: The Clippers have won two in a row and three of four without Paul. The Clippers are still leading the Pacific Division and have a top-four seed in the West, a position they'd like to hold on to even without Paul.
Hits: The Clippers' starters came to play Wednesday, scoring about 90 percent of the team's points. They were led by Blake Griffin's 29 points, six rebounds and eight assists. DeAndre Jordan had 11 points and 13 rebounds, and Jared Dudley had 18 points, including four 3-pointers.
Misses: The bench was basically missing Wednesday. Only two players on L.A.'s bench scored, as Willie Green had seven points and Matt Barnes had five. That was all the Clippers really got from their nonexistent bench against Boston, and was a big reason the Clippers' 16-point lead quickly evaporated before halftime.
Stat of the game: The Clippers also outscored the Celtics, 24-5, in fast-break points and put on a dunk show in the first quarter when they took a 16-point lead.
Up next: The Clippers will play the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday in a rematch of their season opener when the Lakers defeated the Clippers 116-103. That was perhaps the high water mark of the Lakers' season as they are now 14-22 and have lost nine of their past 10 games.