The Celtics annihilated the Clippers, pulling away within the second half of Saturday’s afternoon sport in Los Angeles for a 145-108 victory.
Listed below are the takeaways.
1. The NBA’s schedule makers may need set the Clippers as much as fail with Saturday’s sport, for the reason that Clippers performed a street back-to-back towards the Dallas Mavericks and Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder on Wednesday and Thursday, adopted by a break day however a sport towards the league-leading Celtics at 12:30 p.m. native time on Saturday. The Clippers have been additionally with out Kawhi Leonard, who fell awkwardly on his hip towards the Mavericks and missed the final two contests.
Then again, you’ll pardon the Celtics in the event that they don’t cry a lot for the Clippers contemplating their schedule. Certain, they have been well-rested on Saturday after two days off in California following their dominant win over the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday, however previous to that, they rattled off 5 wins in a row at house together with a back-to-back towards the Cavaliers and Magic, adopted by a day sport lower than 48 hours later towards the Magic as soon as once more.
That stretch didn’t embrace as a lot journey because the Clippers endured, however the Celtics nonetheless impressed underneath equally making an attempt circumstances, and on Saturday, they impressed towards a workforce with a re-invigorated James Harden, in addition to Paul George and loads of different expertise.
2. After injuring his ankle towards the Warriors early within the first quarter by stepping on Brandin Podziemski’s foot, Jayson Tatum had a scary second within the first half of Saturday’s sport when Clippers ahead Kobe Brown closed out too near the Celtics star and undercut his touchdown. Tatum twisted the identical ankle he damage towards the Warriors and wanted a couple of minutes earlier than he stood again up.
Brown was whistled for a flagrant foul, penalty one.
Tatum was off to an enormous begin: He completed the primary half with 21 factors on 5-for-8 taking pictures from 3-point vary, and he transformed the four-point play. He returned for the second half, and whereas his efficiency was barely extra muted (9 factors, 2-for-5 taking pictures, 0-for-2 from three), he drew six free throws on two extra 3-point makes an attempt, one in every of which was a flagrant as properly (the Clippers, it appears, may actually use Derrick White’s recommendation on tips on how to shut out).
The NBA shall be hoping Tatum’s ankle heals rapidly: The Celtics are a part of the league’s marquee Christmas Day matchup after they tackle the Los Angeles Lakers and LeBron James, and Tatum — who completed with a game-high 30 factors on Saturday — is among the new faces of the league. The Celtics, nonetheless, could be clever to do what they will to persuade Tatum to take a seat. They confirmed how good they are often towards a playoff opponent with out him after they beat the Kings on Wednesday, and this can be a roster constructed for Could/June, not late December.
3. Derrick White stayed within the sport longer than the remainder of the Celtics’ starters and was rewarded with 10 fourth-quarter factors when the sport was already determined, pushing his counting stats to 18 factors, three rebounds, three assists, and three blocks. One can’t however marvel if White was left within the sport partially to proceed piling up stats and construct an All-Star case.
Whether or not or not White makes an All-Star workforce — for the document, our stance is that he’s deserving, however the All-Star numbers crunch at guard would possibly make Kristaps Porzingis extra prone to be the Celtics’ third consultant — he continues to make a powerful case for First Workforce All-Protection. For the fourth consecutive sport, White blocked three pictures, making him the primary Celtics participant since Robert Williams in 2021 to attain that stat, and he’s simply the second guard in NBA historical past to tug it off.
4. The Celtics generated, hoisted, and made a ton of 3-pointers. They completed 25-for-53, a wholesome 47.5 p.c, and their new excessive for the season in makes.
The Clippers, in the meantime, made 11-of-34 from deep (32.4 p.c). In different phrases, the Celtics outscored them by 42 from behind the arc. That type of margin will inevitably be a blowout.
5. Jaylen Brown performed a superb offensive sport as soon as once more, ending with 24 environment friendly factors on 9-for-17 taking pictures. He attacked the Clippers with a few good turnaround jumpers, in addition to 3-for-6 taking pictures from deep and a pleasant pick-and-roll end the place he snaked the display screen, received James Harden on his hip, and tossed in a cushty floater.
Brown continues to raise his sport this season, taking part in underneath management and throughout the circulation of the offense. He seems to have taken an unlimited step as a mature no-questions-asked star.
6. The Neemias Queta subplot has a number of too many chapters to be an accident at this level. On Saturday, he recorded one other double-double with 14 factors and 11 rebounds, in addition to three assists. Queta pads his rebounding numbers a bit by grabbing his personal misses, however Celtics followers ought to forgive that because the premium paid for his hustle.
Luke Kornet has carried out completely nothing to lose his spot within the rotation apart from get injured, and he nonetheless is the favourite to stay within the rotation when he returns from his adductor pressure, nevertheless it appears very doubtless Queta — who’s on a two-way deal — will find yourself with a assured roster spot earlier than the postseason rolls round.
7. Bolstered by Queta’s refusal to let any of his missed layups go quietly into that good evening, the Celtics outscored the Clippers 23-8 on second-chance factors, grabbing 15 offensive rebounds to the Clippers’ 9.
8. Oshae Brissett shot 3-for-4 from 3-point vary, which — for the Celtics — was a pleasant reminder that there are a number of competent gamers at the moment waving a towel enthusiastically on the sideline. Brissett’s taking pictures additionally — for the Clippers — should have felt like an absolute kick within the tooth, given the harm being carried out all over the place else.
9. The Celtics’ latest two-way participant Drew Peterson scored his first NBA basket and recorded his first NBA help on back-to-back possessions late within the fourth quarter. Peterson drilled a 3-pointer with 1:12 remaining, then shoveled a pleasant go to Lamar Stevens in transition for a two-handed slam with lower than a minute remaining.
10. The Celtics can now take pleasure in Christmas Eve in Los Angeles earlier than they tackle the Lakers at 5 p.m. Japanese Time on Christmas Day. That sport shall be on ABC.