Playing back to back in the Staples Center against the Lakers and Clippers once gave a visiting team a better than 50-50 chance of taking one of those two games.
Now that the Clippers have added Chris Paul and turned into “Lob City” those chances have dwindled dramatically.
The Celtics entered their contest against the Clippers harboring ill feelings about the previous day’s loss to the Lakers and I suspect about the city of L.A. in general.
In a highly emotional and physical game the Celtics defeated the Clippers 94-85 led by Paul Pierce who had 25 points and 7 assists.
Kevin Garnett continued his outstanding and inspired play at center finishing with 21 points and 8 rebounds for the Celtics.
Boston attempted to intimidate the younger Clippers with physical play but found the Clippers tougher than their age would indicate. Entering into a grappling match with a squad that has Blake Griffin, Reggie Evans, and Kenyon Martin does not seem like the brightest of ideas but the physical play kept “Lob City” pretty much grounded. As a result the Clippers shot just 37% on the night led by Blake Griffin’s 24 points and 9 rebounds.
Chris Paul flopped, acted, and struggled to get 14 points, 5 assists, and 4 rebounds on just 3-12 shooting. Rajon Rondo’s ability to stay in front of Paul kept the Clippers offense relatively contained despite a few extended L.A. runs. Mo Williams torched Ray Allen for 21 points but fortunately Allen was able to answer with 15 points of his own using his size advantage in the post.
It is not often the term size advantage can be used for the Celtics but compared to the Clippers backcourt, team green is Shrek like.
Despite the win there is a lot wrong in Boston right now.
The Celtics are allergic to rebounds regularly getting abused on the glass (45-31 in this game). Mikael Pietrus hasn’t hit a shot in what seems like 3 weeks and is part of a bench that right now provides nothing more than rest for the starters. The team has no idea how to hold on to a lead late either. The Celtics took a 10 point lead with just under 9 minutes left to play before giving up a 17-3 run and then eventually regaining control of the game.
Then there are the injuries.
The Celtics fear that Chris Wilcox and Jermaine O’neal may both be lost for the remainder of the season. GM Danny Ainge is flying back to Beantown to obtain the latest medical updates and prepare for the upcoming trade deadline. Boston’s lack of size is on constant display and while Ainge played coy with reporters before the game the Celtics have to do something.
“We need another big body at some point,” Ainge said. “Depending on the (medical) results, if Chris and Jermaine can play, that changes things, then we don’t need any more bigs.”
When pressed Ainge continued on to say “I don’t feel like we have to do anything, other than we eventually have to get another big body, But I don’t think you have to make a trade at all.”
I understand not wanting to tip your hand but the contradictions are running deep. Ainge might have confused himself with double talk but he is absolutely coo coo if he thinks this team can go on without another big body added to the roster. Admittedly obtaining a big is not like going to the grocery store and picking out fresh fruit but Ainge has to work the phones to see what is available.
Boston will head to Golden State for game 3 of their season long 8 game road trip on Wednesday. With the trade deadline concluding the following day it could be the last game this current Celtics roster plays together.
Or not. But maybe so.
About the Author
Written by Warren Shaw
I am an avid Basketball fan who has worked for the New York Knicks, Alonzo Mourning Charities and various other sports organizations. Having covered many NBA and various professional sporting events has given me the opportunity to provide insight with an unbiased but flavor driven view. I look forward to providing NBA content and interacting with knowledgeable fans and readers. Follow me on Twitter @shawsports or Email your questions to me at Warrenshaw@prosportsblogging.com