Some feared a let down after Friday night's epic win against the Warriors and there was a little of that. Avery Bradley sat this one out due to "personal reasons"--rumor is AB is expecting a baby very soon--and Evan Turner started in his place. After building a 17-point lead late in the second quarter, the Celtics went cold from outside in the third and the teams exchanged leads several times until the final frame. In the fourth quarter, Brad Stevens got quality minutes from Evan Turner, Marcus Smart, and Tyler Zeller when the team finally pulled away.
Some takeaways from this game as the Celtics finish up the west coast trip 3-2: 1) Evan Turner's eye: at the end of the game, ET took a Julius Randle finger or fist to his eye and he quickly raced to the locker room with trainer Ed Lacerte. Early reports are that his eye is red and badly swollen shut. Hopefully, it's nothing too serious. 2) Just like in the win against the Warriors, Marcus Smart found ways to affect the game without a lot of scoring, particularly in the clutch. He finished with only 7 points and 6 assists, but he had a key steal and a corner 3 at the end of the game that helped seal the W. 3) Terry Rozier is taking a page out of Smart's playbook. He played 21 quality minutes tonight and finished a +10. His speed and athleticism allows him to grab rebounds over bigger players and push the ball for easy buckets in transition. It's nice to see Boston's top pick from last year's draft show out this late in the season. 4) With the win, the Celtics have clinched a playoff spot and are now the #4 seed with a 45-32 record (tied with the Hawks). They'll head home for two games against the lottery bound Pelicans and Bucks, but they'll close out the season with a game in Atlanta followed by two at TD vs. the Hornets and the Heat.