Celtics Can’t Handle DeAndre Jordan As Clippers Hold On For Matinee Win


January 19, 2015

The Boston Celtics whittled a 23-point deficit to three Monday afternoon, but an improbable victory ultimately eluded them in a 102-93 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center.

The Celtics could get nothing done offensively in the first half, hitting just one of their first 12 shots and never elevating their shooting percentage above 30 percent through the first two quarters. They carried a 29.2 percent clip into halftime but trailed by just 10 (47-37) thanks to a big second quarter by Jared Sullinger (nine points, six rebounds).

The C’s entered the break without a scorer in double figures, though, thanks in large part to a 4-for-17 shooting performance from all starters not named Sullinger.

Boston simply had no answer for Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, who racked up 19 points, 12 rebounds and six blocks. Jordan was strong on the offensive end (he didn’t miss a shot until late in the third quarter), and he continuously stonewalled Tyler Zeller, Brandon Bass and the rest of the Celtics at the rim. The big man’s terrible free-throw shooting did allow the Celtics to successfully employ a Hack-a-Jordan strategy late in the fourth, but it was too little, too late.

Blake Griffin also came close to notching a triple-double with a game-high 22 points, nine boards and six assists.

Jordan’s impact was obvious, as Bass had a much easier time driving to the basket when backup center Spencer Hawes was on the floor. The biggest knock on this Clippers team is the drop-off from its starters to its reserves, which brings us to …

The Celtics’ bench came on strong in the second half, with Bass (team-high 17 points), Kelly Olynyk (11), Marcus Thornton (15) and Marcus Smart (14) all scoring in double figures to keep the game competitive into the fourth quarter. Smart was especially pivotal during this late surge, hitting on four of his seven 3-point attempts while the rest of his team went a combined 8-for-22 from deep.

Boston’s bench outscored its L.A. counterpart 59-33, as sixth man Jamal Crawford (16 points) was the only Clippers bench body to make a notable impact.

Tayshaun Prince also made his Celtics debut in the loss, finishing with just two points — on a layup in garbage time — but playing some key minutes down the stretch. The team’s other newcomer, Shavlik Randolph, did not see playing time.

Up next: The Celtics will have a two-day break before kicking off a grueling four games-in-five days stretch Thursday night against the Portland Trail Blazers.

Thumbnail photo via Robert Hanashiro/USA TODAY Sports Images

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