Riddle me this Celtic Nation: What do an official scorer's mistake that awarded the Clips 2 phantom points, shot clocks being reset on air balls and a massive free throw discrepancy equal?
Answer: Well, for the Celtics, it somehow equaled a 2 Over-Time WIN!?!?!?!
Let me start by saying that I'm so angry with the poor officiating that I can't even enjoy this one. I'm going to sum it up quickly and move on: (Sorry Jeff, but it's got to be said) WE GOT SCREWED BY THE REFS TONIGHT. I'm sure the PC Police are going to complain, but I stand by what I've said in the past: that Violet Palmer is the worst referee in the NBA and her 2 cohorts tonight were just as guilty. This one was attrocious.
Let's start with the score miraculously going from 10-4 to 10-8 on a 2 pt FG. I expected this to be corrected at the end of the 1st, when I thought the book was supposed to be verified against the clock, then again at the half, when I'm sure it's supposed to be verified. At no point in the game was this mistake accounted for. I want readers to keep this in mind, because this game should have ended in regulation, according to what I saw occur early in the 1st quarter.
We went to Blount right off in the post and he took it right at Brand for a score. Ok, things might be ok.
However, our perimeter defense was less than stellar in the first half and guys like Simmons and Maggette made a living off of us. Simmons gave LA thier first lead with 4:05 left in the 1st with a 3 pt that made it 17-16 Clips.
Both teams were penetrating well, but there was a distinct difference: The Clips were getting the benefit of tic-tac calls and the C's were getting nada.
The C's didn't help themselves with plenty of careless passes. Waltah hit a 3 before the end of the quarter and at the end of 1, it was 32-26 Clips.
Fox Sports West 2 was nice enough to spend the first .30 secs of the 2nd with an interview with ALCS hero Dave Roberts, formerly of the Dodgers.
At this point, I want to comment on our defense, which collapsed too much and when it didn't, consisted of "paratroopers" (those who bite on first ball fakes and fly through the air with the greatest of ease).
Let's visit the Mark Blount "stone hands" saga: At the 5:20 mark, he managed to bumble a pass, recover it near mid court, throw a bad pass that was easily intercepted by Wilcox, which turned into a dunk that Posters are made out of.
To put it mildly, Paul Pierce was our only bright spot in the first half. He kept us in this game, PERIOD.
The C's had seemingly finally had enough of the refs calling the tic-tac fouls only one way and at the 3:05 mark, Raef LaFrentz finally hammered Corey Maggette on a foul. IT'S ABOUT DAMN TIME.....
Don't believe me? At the 2:19 mark left in the half, the FT's were as such:
Boston: 7/7 LAC: 21/22
Kendrick Perkins saw time at the 1:15 mark and just before the half (.5 secs) threw a nice, long outlet to GP, which he missed the layup on. Tony Allen was fouled on the rebound.
At the Half: Clippers 62 - Celtics 52
The Clips opened the half with 2 quick scores to make the lead 66 - 52 with 10:48 left in the 3rd.
Elton Brand had a double-double by the 10:30 mark in the 3rd. Paul Pierce continued to be hot and reduced the lead down to 8 pts by the 8:34 mark (66-58).
Jiri took a nice charge and then PP continued to keep pace with the Clips, reducing the lead further to 4 pts, 66-62 at the 7:20 mark.
Of course the Referees continued to rear thier ugly heads as PP got called for an absolutely horrible 5th foul and went to the bench late in the 3rd.
Mysteriously, with 2:10 left on the clock and a Clippers possession, the shot clock reset on an AIRBALL and the Clips scored in the extra posssession.
At the end of 3: Clippers 85 - Celtics 77
Al Jefferson opened the 4th with a short hook from the baseline, but Former Celtic Rick Brunson quickly scored on the ensuing possession and the score was 87 - 79.
Ricky Davis hit a 3 pointer and then on the following turn down the court, Paul Pierce reported back into the game at the 7:31 mark. Shortly after, Ricky Davis his another 3 pter.
Pierce went right back at Maggette and at the 6:39 mark, the C's had cut the lead to 98 - 90.
Pierce fouled out with 33 pts, on an offensive charge at the 3;35 mark. The score was 103-98.
Ricky answered with another 3, cutting the lead to 103-101 with 2:58 left.
Shortly afterwards, Jiri Welsch had a great drive, in which he was hammered by 3 defenders, but miraculously there was no foul called.
Ricky to Tony Allen at the 2:05 mark made it 105-103. On the ensuing trip, the celtics defense collapsed too much on a high-posted Elton Brand and a 10 ft kick out to a waiting Kerry Kittles on the baseline made the score 107-103 Clippers.
RD then drove and pulled up for a jumper with 55.4 secs left to make the game 108-105 Clippers.
Brunson dribbled off his foot and RD made him pay in the next possession by scoring on a nice driving layup, making it 108-107.
The C's fouled Kittles who only converted 1 of 2 with 18.7 secs left. Time Out Boston.
Moore sent RD to the line and RD hit them both to tie the game at 109. At this point, the C's had gone on a 19-7 run.
A huge block by Blount with .4 secs sent the game to OT.
I've got question here. The C's called a TO after a made basket, inside a minute and had to take the ball 3/4 court. The Clips called TO with less than a min and ended up with the ball at the 1/4 mark. WHY THE DISCREPANCY?
Overtime: (records - Boston 0-1, LAC 1-3)
Maggette scored 2 on a blatent travelling violation and got the foul called at the 3:19 mark to put the Clips up 113-109.
RD answered with a drive and score at 2:38 to make it 113-111. GP missed an easy finish, but then hit a 3 on the next trip and the C's had the lead at 114-113 with 1:28 left in OT.
Welsch drove and dished to TA for a score. Maggette answered with a 3 with 42 secs left and the 1st OT ended in a 116 tie.
The C's won the tip and Jiri quickly passes a nice alley-oop to a streaking RD for a quick score. Simmons answered at the other end with a jumper and it was 118 all.
TA hit a deep 2 at the 4:16 mark to put the C's ahead 120-118. GP then had a great drive and score at the 3:45 mark to make it 122-118.
Bad habits rear their head: RD tries an isolation play at the 2;20 mark and we get nothing off the possession. If we're going to persecute PP for it, let's be fair.
Maggette was then fouled on a drive, made both Ft's and the score was 122-120 with 2:01 left.
Jiri hit a huge 3pter off an RD drive and kick out at 1:47 and it was 125-120. RD committed a foul at 1:33 and those watching held thier collective breathes as he came up limping. To add insult to injury, the Refs made the foul a shooting foul, when it was clear that it was on the floor and should have been taken out of bounds by the Clippers. Maggette made both FT's and it was 125-122.
Marko Jaric managed to tip the ball off of GP's head and out of bounds, coming out of the timeout and the C's turned it over. Kittles hit a 3 to tie it at 125 with 1:08 remaining.
GP beat Jaric, who tried to flop a call (the refs didn't bite) and GP drove and got Maggette to commit Goal-Tending, putting the C's ahead 127-125.
Kittles then answered again with a short 17 fter to tie it at 127 with 44.5 left.
GP drove and score with roughly 35 secs left, making it 129-127. The Clips then committed a turnover and were forced to foul Jiri on the ensuing inbounds, which was a foul-to-give.
Simmons then fouled RD with 19.3 left and just as he had at the end of regulation, RD cooly hit both FT's to make it 131-127. There was a steal, a dish and a basket by RD again, which made it 133-127 and the Staples Center started to clear out. Some how we had, against a lot of things against us, WON THIS GAME.
Player(s) of the Game:
I don't normally like splitting this award, but tonight, I think it's right. Paul Pierce's 33 points kept us in this game, so he gets one of them. The other goes to "cool as the other side of the pillow" Ricky Davis, who had a game high 34 pts, 28 of which were in the 4th and 2 OT's.
Good Night Celtic Nation and God Bless.
(I know there are probably spelling and other errors, please forgive me, but it's after 3 Am and I'm tired. I'll fix them when I get up tomorrow.)