The Boston Celtics’ second go-around at Staples Center went much better than the first.
After falling to the lowly Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday, the Celtics responded Wednesday with a hard-fought, 113-102 road victory over the Los Angeles Clippers.
The C’s snapped a four-game losing streak thanks to a well-balanced scoring effort. Kyrie Irving led the way with 20 points, but he was just one of five players to score in double figures alongside Jayson Tatum (18), Terry Rozier (15), Marcus Morris (15) and Aron Baynes (12).
With the win, the Celtics improve to 35-14, while the Clippers fall to 23-24.
Here’s how it all went down:
PG: Kyrie Irving
SG: Jaylen Brown
SF: Jayson Tatum
PF: Marcus Morris
C: Aron Baynes
The Celtics were without two key players Wednesday night. Al Horford was out of action for precautionary reasons, as Boston wanted to make sure the star forward did not have a concussion after getting hit in the head Tuesday. Marcus Smart also was inactive after receiving stitches for a laceration on his hand sustained at the team hotel.
Neither team was at its best to kick things off, as the Celtics held a narrow 25-22 lead after the opening 12 minutes. Boston suffered early shooting woes in the first frame, especially from deep, only connecting on three of 11 shots from beyond the arc. Irving led all scorers with seven first-quarter points, while Baynes tallied six to go along with four rebounds. Both the Clips and C’s were fairly lazy with the basketball, as well, combining for nine turnovers in the first frame.
The pace of the game was stalled in the second quarter, as both clubs spent significant time at the charity stripe. The Clippers attempted a whopping 19 free throws in the period, while the Celtics got to the line seven times. Boston, however, finished the first half with a 62-55 lead thanks in large part to the difference in free throws made. The C’s converted on all nine of their first-half attempts, while the Clippers posted a below-average 17-of-26 mark.
Boston continued to favor the 3-pointer, hoisting 11 shots from beyond the arc for a second consecutive quarter. The second frame was much kinder to the C’s than the first, as six of their 3-point attempts fell. Irving led all scorers at the break with 13 points, while Tatum and Morris contributed 12 apiece. Boston had some trouble containing DeAndre Jordan, who posted 11 points and seven rebounds through two quarters.
A strong finish to the third quarter allowed the Celtics to create some distance from the Clippers. Boston limited L.A. to 22 points in the period and held a 91-77 advantage heading into the final quarter. Rozier came up big for the C’s in the third with seven points, while Brown chipped in five. Carelessness with the basketball plagued L.A. once again, as the home team committed six turnovers in the quarter.
NO TURNING BACK
The Clippers entered the final frame in striking distance, but Boston quickly eliminated their chance of making a comeback. Thanks to a strong effort from the Celtics’ role players, the green maintained their double-digit lead throughout the quarter and cruised to victory. With the considerable lead, the C’s were able to grant their starters extended rest, which surely is welcomed on a West Coast road trip.
PLAY OF THE GAME
A no-look dime from Irving takes the cake.
The Celtics return to action Saturday night for a highly anticipated matchup with the Golden State Warriors. Tip-off from Oracle Arena is set for 8:30 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Richard Mackson/USA TODAY Sports
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