After a hot-shooting night in Miami, the Celtics struggled to knock down shots against the Los Angeles Clippers, dropping their second straight home game 115-96.
The Celtics shot 15-of-51 (4-of-23 from three) in the first two quarters. The 29% shooting was the lowest shooting first half for Boston this year.
The only player who had it going offensively was Jayson Tatum, who scored seven of Boston’s first nine points. When the team’s offense went cold, the Celtics struggled getting Tatum the ball as he finished the half with just 12 points on 5/8 shooting. Tatum did, however, reach 11,000 career points on his first make of the game.
Tatum’s first basket tonight gave him 11,000 career points. He’s the 14th Celtic to reach that mark and just the 7th NBA player to do so before his 26th birthday.— Dick Lipe (@DickLipe) January 28, 2024
Every time Boston tried to go on a run, the Clippers found a way to silence the crowd. A highlight from the first half was when Luke Kornet (with his new haircut) checked in, blocked Russell Westbrook and then beat everyone down the court and finished the sequence with an alley-oop.
It's Luke Kornet's world. We're just living in it. pic.twitter.com/WufzADDW0F— Marc D'Amico (@Marc_DAmico) January 28, 2024
The Clippers led 55-39 at halftime.
The Celtics halftime shot chart vs the Clippers tonight has more red on the floor than a Tarantino movie. pic.twitter.com/BWQY6a5br0— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) January 28, 2024
In the second half, the message was clear: get the ball to Tatum and let him work. The five-time All-Star scored seven straight points to open the quarter. However, the Clippers kept making timely plays thanks to Terrance Mann who recorded two offensive rebounds in the first three minutes of the third quarter, doing a bit of everything for the Clippers.
The Clippers led by as much as 33 (79-46) with 3:30 left in the third quarter, thanks to a 20-0 run. The Celtics didn’t score for over six minutes during the run.
Los Angeles beat Boston to every loose ball, played faster, and dictated the pace. The Celtics defense which seemed formidable all season, couldn’t get a stop all night. Kawhi Leonard got whatever he wanted, finishing with 26 points on 10/15 shooting without playing in the fourth quarter.
The Clippers held a 91-60 advantage going into the final quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Joe Mazzulla waved the white flag and pulled his starters to give minutes to the likes of Neemias Queta, Dalano Banton, Svi Mykhailiuk, Lamar Stevens, and Oshae Brissett. Jayson Tatum was the only starter to reach double figures with 21 points.
Boston finished the game shooting 35.6% from the field and 25% from three.
The Celtics will look to rebound against the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday night.