The Boston Celtics will be heading into the NBA All-Star break with a bad taste in their mouth.
The C’s dropped their third straight game as they fell to the visiting Los Angeles Clippers 129-119 at TD Garden on Wednesday night.
Kyrie Irving scored a game-high 33 points and was one of six Celtics in double figures. DeAndre Jordan was one of seven Clippers that scored in double digits, posting a career- and team-high 30 points.
The Celtics fall to 40-19 with the loss, while the Clippers climb to 30-26.
Here’s how it all went down:
PG: Kyrie Irving
SG: Jaylen Brown
SF: Jayson Tatum
PF: Al Horford
C: Aron Baynes
Los Angeles used a 6-0 run over 35 seconds near the midway point of the first to build a small cushion in what was an underwhelming period for the Celtics. And though Boston kept things close, the Clippers opened up a 12-0 run over 2:39 to give themselves a 28-15 lead with just over two minutes to play.
However, the Celtics chipped away at the 13-point advantage to end the period down 34-25.
UGLY, THEN BETTER
The Celtics’ offense to begin the game was nothing short of downright dreadful. They shot 10-for-35 from the field through the first 15 minutes of the game, but slowly started to cut into the lead after that.
They pulled within as few as six on a couple occasions, but each time the Clippers answered and opened the lead back up. The Celtics finally broke through a bit when they pulled within four thanks to a quick 6-0 run over 1:27, which forced the Clippers into a timeout with 5:17 to play.
The Clippers went back up by 14 on the other side of the timeout, but the Celtics went into the half with a bang.
Having cut the lead to 10 with 53 seconds to play, the Celtics cashed in on a two-for-one. Irving nailed a 3-pointer with 33 seconds left, then Horford came up with a block on the other end, followed by Terry Rozier hitting a buzzer-beating trey as he fell to the floor. The quick six points capped off a 12-2 run to end the half, putting the Celtics down just 61-57 at the break.
Irving and Jordan each had a game-high 14 first-half points.
After a largely underwhelming first half, the Celtics tied the game for the first time just 44 seconds into the third quarter and proceeded to take their first lead at 10:22.
From then on both sides spent the quarter trading chances, with neither team building a lead any bigger than five throughout. After a first half where the Celtics never found themselves tied nor leading, the third quarter alone featured six ties and 12 lead changes.
Behind Irving’s 15 points, the Celts outscored the Clippers 34-32 and went into the final quarter down just 93-91.
CLIPS CLOSE THE DOOR
Within the first two minutes of the final quarter the Celtics built a four-point lead — their biggest of the game — but the Clippers had plenty of fight left.
Over the ensuing 2:40, the Clips went on a 12-2 run to go up 108-101 with seven minutes to play. From there, L.A. continued to maintain the lead and keep the Celtics from pulling within striking distance.
L.A. buried the Celtics late, sealing the deal by outscoring Boston 36-28 in the final quarter and in turn earning the 129-119 win.
HIGHLIGHT OF THE NIGHT
Right in Avery Bradley’s face.
The Celtics will have some time to rest up over the All-Star break before they return to action Friday, Feb. 23 on the road against the Detroit Pistons. Tip from Little Caesars Arena is set for 7 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images
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