Two nights ago the Los Angeles Clippers played a pretty well-rounded game without Chris Paul. Tonight, they were going to need a similar performance with the Boston Celtics coming into town. In a game that most figured the Clippers would win, even without Chris Paul, the Celtics had other ideas. While the Celtics aren't a good team by any stretch of the imagination, they're still a feisty bunch that usually plays hard for 48 minutes. That definitely was the case tonight. The first quarter really couldn't have gone a whole lot better for the Clippers, outside of possibly outscoring the Celtics by more. Either way, they held the Celtics to just 34.6% shooting while putting up 63.2% themselves. They enjoyed a 9-point lead after the opening frame which was due in part to an 18-0 run that turned a 2-point deficit into a 16-point lead. Granted, the Celtics did shave 7 points off of that lead in the final 3 minutes but you won't find much fault with a near double-digit lead after the first 12 minutes. The second quarter was basically the reverse of the first quarter. While they couldn't miss shots in the first frame, the good guys had a tough time making shots in the second frame (34.8%) whereas Boston went off for 32 points on 57.1%. In the frame, the Clippers actually got outscored 16-4 by the Celtics in the paint. This is by a Celtics team that averages just 38.1 paint points per game, which ranks 22nd in the entire NBA. So to give up 16 paint points in one quarter is utterly atrocious. Despite the poor second stanza for the Clippers, they still held a 59-55 lead going into halftime. When the second half started, it appeared like the Clippers might start to pull away from Boston considering the Celtics were on the second night of a back-to-back. That was not the case. The two teams basically played to a stalemate with the Clippers winning the quarter 29-27. However, the quarter was not without its hiccups. Halfway through the quarter the Clippers actually trailed by 1 point. It happened twice. And then IT happened. If you watched the game, you know what "IT" was. With 4 minutes to go in the third quarter and the Clippers clinging to a 74-72 lead, Blake Griffin hammered down a dunk on Kris Humphries that was the likes of only which a few players are capable of. Griffin not only dunked it but got the foul on the play and hit the free throw. Kris Humphries, who is no stranger to criticism based on his personal choices and past flings, was visibly perturbed about getting dunked on. I guess you can't blame the guy. But it was a sensational dunk that sent shockwaves through the arena. It seemed to fire the team up, as well.
Clippers posterize Celtics, 111-105
Clips Nation | Jan 9