Wow, just wow. The Celtics gave their best effort of the year to beat the LA Clippers in overtime, 139-134. This game had everything, and probably surpassed the excitement of the Golden State game back in December.
The key plays were made by Evan Turner in the last two minutes of OT. Turner made a 14-footer to tie the score at 132, then drove for a layup and the foul to provide a three-point lead. Chris Paul made a layup to cut it to one, but Turner hit a 10-footer to restore the lead to 137-134. The Clippers had two chances to tie, but Paul Pierce and Jamal Crawford both missed from behind the arc. Jonas Jerebko wrapped it up by grabbing a traffic rebound and hitting two FTs after being fouled.
Boston was led by Isaiah Thomas, who had 36 points on 12-21 shooting and 11-12 at the line, plus 11 assists. Jared Sullinger battled all night against the larger DeAndre Jordan, finishing with 21 points, 10-15 shooting, 11 rebounds and seven assists. Jae Crowder added 19 points, Avery Bradley 18, Marcus Smart 17 and Turner 14.
LA was led by Paul’s 35 points and 13 assists. JJ Redick had 27 points, Jordan 21 with 16 boards, and Crawford 18.
The Cs held the lead most of the game, but LA rallied and snagged the lead in the fourth. Near the end of regulation, with Boston trailing by two, Chris Paul missed a three and the Celtics rebounded and called time. Except a very late whistle put DeAndre Jordan at the line for two. The 41.8% free throw shooter missed both. At the other end, Isaiah Thomas got a switch mismatch and drove past Jordan to toss in a fadeaway that tied the score. Paul missed a jumper at the buzzer and the game went to overtime.
OT looked like doom when Redick scored six quick points: four-point play, then fouled on a three attempt, making two FTs – both fouls by Bradley. AB atoned by hitting a three, then Sully also hit from deep to cut the lead to one and set the stage for the wild finish.
Both teams began the game with hot shooting and didn’t let up. Pierce drilled two treys in the first quarter (but those were his only points of the night) for LA, while Sullinger made five of his first six shots, mostly mid-range jumpers (Jordan wouldn’t come out to guard him). The Cs trailed 37-33 at the end of the first.
In the second, Boston began to make progress when LA went to the bench unit. The Celts grabbed their first lead of the game at 42-41 when Smart drained a straight-in triple, one of three he made in the half. The Cs continued to extend their lead behind good shooting. They finished the half at 23-43, with 8-18 threes and 17-18 from the line. Smart and Thomas had 13 points each. LA kept pace, on 24-42 from the field and 6-10 from deep, but faltered slightly with 10-15 from the line. Redick and Jordan had 13 points apiece.
The Celts led at intermission, 71-64. It was the second straight home game in which they tallied more than 70 points in the first half.
Boston went small to start the second half as Smart replaced Amir Johnson. It paid off as the Cs built their lead as high as 13 points. LA came back behind a ton of free throws (10-12 for the quarter). Crowder hit a corner three and then an and-one layup, and late in the quarter Thomas dropped in a triple and a layup. Paul made a very deep trey at the buzzer and the Cs’ lead was 98-91 going to the fourth.
Tyler Zeller got his first minutes to start the fourth and provided a spark by hitting a jump shot and taking a charge. LA responded with four triples in the first five minutes to retake the lead, 109-107.
Pierce and Doc received loud ovations when lineups were introduced. Pierce is not always in the starting lineup for the Clippers, but he was tonight after sitting out (rest) in their previous game.
Team owners Wyc Grousbeck and Steve Pagliuca presented IT his All-Star jersey in a pregame ceremony.
Smart made three triples in the first half, and was also fouled once behind the arc, hitting all three FTs.
Celts committed just two turnovers in the first half.
Smart and Crowder both fouled out.
Brad tried the Hack-a-Jordan twice in the first half, and both times the big guy made both free throws. They tried it twice again in the fourth and Jordan made one of two both times.
In the first half, Kelly Olynyk upfaked and drew a foul when Jordan landed on him, but after the FTs had to leave for the night with a bruised shoulder.
Lance Stephenson hit a three in front of the Celts’ bench, turned and gave everyone crap as he moved up the sideline, and earned a technical foul for his stupidity. Cs all laughed at him.
IT not giving in to PP.
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) February 11, 2016
IT sends it to OT
Overtime in Boston. Why overtime? Because Isaiah Thomas did this: pic.twitter.com/uLNpLzqZ6c
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) February 11, 2016
- Shooting: Clippers 51.8% (44/85), Celtics 49.5% (47/95)
- Points in the Paint: Clippers 36 (18/32), Celtics 42 (21/37)
- 2nd Chance Points: Clippers 6 (3/8), Celtics 17 (5/10)
- Fast Break Points: Clippers 9 (3/4), Celtics 14 (5/7)