Clippers crush Celtics, 106-77

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Clippers crush Celtics, 106-77

LOS ANGELES Prior to Thursday's game, Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers joked about a conversation he had recently with Los Angeles Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro about the Clippers' depth.
"It's really tough for all 11 of your guys to play bad," Rivers recalled telling Del Negro.
Rivers added, "When you think about that team, when you have a team where five or six guys can play poorly and you can still win by a lot of points, that means you are really deep. That's what they have."
And that's what they proved in emphatic fashion on Thursday, blowing out the C's 106-77 on to extend their winning streak to a franchise-best 15 in a row.
The high hopes that Boston (14-14) had for an upset seemed to be wiped out in a matter of minutes as the Clippers (23-6) opened the game with a blistering 16-4 run that set the blowout in motion.
But the Celtics battled back early on, even cutting the Clippers lead to 30-20 following a Kevin Garnett buzzer-beating jumper to end the first.
Boston's backups brought the C's even closer, 32-28, following a 3-pointer by Courtney Lee. But the Clippers ran off eight straight regain control of the game and from there, it was never really close again as the Clippers got contributions from an assortment of players.
Then again, that has been the Clippers way all season.
Teams that run off 15 straight wins have to do more than rely on one or two players in order to win.
The leading scorers for the Clippers on Thursday were Matt Barnes (21 points) and Jamal Crawford (17) who both come off the bench.
"They got a lot of good players," Rivers said.
When reminded that most teams have good players, Rivers replied, "Yeah, but most teams don't have 11 of them."
Indeed, the Clippers depth allowed the starters to bolt out to a double-digit lead that the second unit was able to maintain.
It was the kind of performance that fans were anticipating the Celtics and their deep-on-paper bench would deliver this season.
But that has not been the case.
Not even close.
It was for the most part an exercise in futility with the C's showing that whatever growth they have made in recent weeks, they still have a ways to go before they can compete with elite teams like the Clippers.
Elite team. Clippers. Same sentence.
Yeah, it sounds weird for sure.
But it is the reality of the NBA right now, just like the Celtics being a mediocre team is indeed the true state of where the C's are currently.

Friday, Jan. 20: Canes’ Bickell tries to carry on after MS diagnosis

Friday, Jan. 20: Canes’ Bickell tries to carry on after MS diagnosis

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while simply skating my lane today.

*A terrific piece on Carolina Hurricanes forward Bryan Bickell getting on with his life after an MS diagnosis, and pushing to see if he can return to the ice.

*If the New York Islanders botch the hirings for people guiding the franchise, then John Tavares could be one of the next figures gone from Brooklyn.

*It’s been a rough go of it for St. Louis Blues goaltender Jake Allen over the past few weeks and that continued on Thursday night.

*Top NHL Draft prospect Nolan Patrick’s value comes from his two-way play, and that’s what teams are focused on rather than the injury issues.

*Mike Babcock talks a wide range of subjects with James Duthie during a 1-on-1 with the Toronto Maple Leafs head coach.

*In his never-ending odyssey on the fringes of the NHL, Seth Griffith has been claimed by the Maple Leafs on waivers for the second time.

*Veteran forward Clarke MacArthur won’t be playing this season for the Ottawa Senators amid his concussion issues.

*For something completely different: Bill Belichick just being Bill Belichick at his press conference on Friday and that’s something we can all be reassured about.

 

Patriots have perfect attendance at final practice of AFC Championship week

Patriots have perfect attendance at final practice of AFC Championship week

FOXBORO -- The Patriots had perfect attendance at Friday's practice, meaning they had all 53 players on their active roster present and accounted for at all three practices this week. 

Contrast that with how things have gone for the Steelers this week, and there is a stark difference. Star running back Le'Veon Bell missed each of his team's first two on-the-field workouts this week, and several Steelers players are dealing with a bug that seems to have circulated the locker room. 

The Patriots could have an interesting game-day roster decision to make should Chris Hogan (thigh), Malcolm Mitchell (knee) and Danny Amendola (ankle) both be healthy enough to play on Sunday. They have not entered a game with five receivers in uniform this season but could potentially dress Mitchell, Amendola, Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan and Michael Floyd.

Other players listed as limited participants in practice this week are Brandon Bolden (knee), Martellus Bennett (knee), Dont'a Hightower (shoulder) and Jabaal Sheard (knee).