The Boston Celtics couldn’t pull off the California sweep, as hopes of a 4-0 West Coast trip were dashed in a 140-115 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night.
Boston simply had no answers for the Clippers’ hot shooters, who shot 61 percent from the floor. The Celtics led after the opening basket, then trailed for the rest of the night.
Lou Williams led the Clippers off the bench with 34 points in just 23 minutes. Danilo Gallinari followed with 25 and Montrezl Harrell had 20. The Celtics were paced by Terry Rozier who finished with 26. Jaylen Brown (22), Kyrie Irving (18), Marcus Morris (11) and Al Horford (10) also finished in double figures.
With the loss, the Celtics drop to 41-27. The win moves the Clippers to 39-29.
Here’s how it all went down:
PG: Kyrie Irving
SG: Marcus Smart
SF: Jaylen Brown
PF: Marcus Morris Sr.
C: Al Horford
CLIPPERS GAIN EDGE
A wicked opening quarter from Gallinari gave the Clippers a 25-19 lead after one.
The teams largely were inseparable for the opening minutes of the first quarter, with Irving and Horford finding an early connection.
Gallinari got off to a scorching start for the hosts, scoring 13 points in the first eight minutes as the Clippers led 17-14 with 3:30 to play.
LA closed the quarter on a 10-5 run.
HOSTS ARE HOT
The hosts continued to shoot the lights out at Staples Center, converting 63.9 percent from the floor to take a 62-49 lead over the Celtics at halftime.
The Clippers jumped out to a 12-point lead when Williams drained a trey to make it 34-22 with 9:55 left in the half.
Rozier was the first Celtic to double digits, starting 4-for-4 from the floor and hitting a 3-pointers to make it 36-29 with 8:43 left.
Morris brought the C’s within four with a trey, but the hosts responded with a 9-0 run to take a 55-42 lead with 2:13 to play in the half. Harrell capped a three-point play in the final minute to give the hosts a 13-point lead at the break.
Irving led all Celtics at the half with 14.
CLIPPERS CAN’T MISS
Los Angeles remained sizzling shooting 63 percent through three quarters, including 53 percent from deep, taking a 101-85 lead over the C’s.
Boston upped the intensity in the opening minutes of the second half, with Marcus Smart draining a trey in transition then making a beautiful defensive play to set up Brown for the Euro step lay-in.
Brown got hot from deep, hitting three straight in the quarter, but the Celtics were unable to climb within double digits with Gallinari matching Brown blow-for-blow, sustaining a double-digit lead.
A 7-0 Clippers run gave the hosts their biggest advantage, leading 99-80 with 56.4 seconds to go in the third following a Patrick Beverley trey.
Rozier hit a fadeaway three in the closing seconds to make 101-85 heading into the fourth.
WARM UP THE PLANE
Williams took over in the opening minutes of the fourth and stuck a dagger through any Celtics comeback hopes as LA capped the blowout.
The Clippers’ lead grew to 20 points early in the fourth quarter when Williams drained a trey to make it 106-85 with 10:57 to play.
Williams continued his tear in the fourth, scoring 13 points in the fourth quarter despite being subbed out with 7:06 to play, and effectively put the game out of reach.
PLAY OF THE GAME
Two defenders? No problem for Kyrie.
The Celtics return home for a tilt against the Sacramento Kings on Thursday. Tipoff from TD Garden is set for 7:30 p.m ET.
Thumbnail photo via Richard Mackson/USA TODAY Sports Images