Celtics fall to youthful Clippers, 108-103


Celtics fall to youthful Clippers, 108-103

By A.Sherrod Blakely

BOSTON The Boston Celtics' plan was a simple one: Limit the highlight-reel plays generated by Los Angeles Clippers All-Star and rookie phenom, Blake Griffin.

There's just one problem with that.

They forgot the other four guys on the floor with him can make plays as well.

The C's know that now after the Clippers dominated the Celtics -- yes, those Clippers -- from the beginning until the bitter end of a 108-103 loss for Boston (46-16).

After struggling for three-plus quarters, Boston mounted a furious last-second rally.

Trailing 104-100 with possession of the ball and 25.3 seconds remaining, the C's called a time out.

Out of the time out, Paul Pierce took a contested 3-pointer that was off the mark. DeAndre Jordan grabbed the rebound and was immediately fouled with 15.6 seconds to play.

Jordan sank both free throws, but the Celtics weren't ready to roll over just yet.

A 3-pointer by the 3-point king, Ray Allen, made it a one-possession game with 10.5 seconds to play.

Following a Clippers time out, Randy Foye was fouled with 9.1 seconds to play. He made both of his free throws to make it a 108-103 game to secure the win.

The ending was symbolic of the kind of night it was for the Celtics. Every big play by Boston was met with an even bigger one by the Clippers.

With the loss, Boston's five-game winning streak is over, while the Clippers (25-40) continue to surge ahead by winning their fourth straight game.

So much of the attention leading up to the game was on Griffin, who had 12 points and seven rebounds to go with five assists.

But it was Griffin's less-heralded teammates that inflicted most of the damage.

DeAndre Jordan had 21 points, most of which came on Blake Griffin-esque dunks.

However, the Clippers and the Celtics are at opposite ends of the winning spectrum this season.

And in the third quarter, we saw why.

Boston, which fell behind by as many as 20 points in the first half, cut the Clippers lead to just 11 points following a 3-pointer by Pierce.

They had a chance to make it a single digit game, but Jeff Green missed a lightly contested jumper.

Still, the C's were feeling pretty confident going into the fourth down 76-66.

With more than five minutes to play, the C's were very much back in the game, but the energy Boston exerted to get back in the game started to catch up with them, as players started missing a number of the shots that they had made earlier during fourth quarter surge.

Former Celtic Ryan Gomes delivered one of the biggest shots of the night, a 3-pointer in front of the Celtics bench, with four minutes to play that gave the Clippers a 10-point lead.

That was one of many baskets made by the youthful Clippers down the stretch, as they snapped a three-game losing skid to the Celtics at the TD Garden.

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached atsblakely@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Thomas won’t play Friday night vs. Raptors

Thomas won’t play Friday night vs. Raptors

WALTHAM, Mass. – The Celtics are about to hit one of the toughest stretches of the season and they’ll have to do it for at least one more game without their leading scorer, Isaiah Thomas. 
Thomas, who suffered a right groin injury on Monday against the Houston Rockets, did not play on Wednesday against Orlando and said that he will not play in Friday night’s game against the Toronto Raptors. 
“It’s day to day. I want to play. I want to be out there but it’s the smart decision to hold out and wait until it’s 100 percent,” Thomas said during a Season of Giving event for children of the Military Friends Foundation held at the Celtics’ practice facility. “If it was a playoff game I would be out there for sure.”
However, after consulting with a number of medical personnel, Thomas decided the best thing for him and the Celtics was to sit out Friday’s game which, along with Wednesday in Orlando, will be the first two he has missed since the 2014-2015 season. 
Thomas said there’s no specific timetable for his return, but he said he is planning to travel with the team to Oklahoma City for their matchup against the Thunder on Sunday. 
“It’s eating me a live to sit, but I have to do what’s best for my body, I have to do what’s best for this team,” Thomas said. “I need to be 100 percent healthy to give this team what I can give them.”
The Celtics are hoping for similar success they had Wednesday in Orlando (a 117-87 victory) on Friday against Toronto.
“They played a hell of a game last night,” Thomas said. “They’ll be ready tomorrow.”
The fact that Thomas intends to travel with the team is a good sign that the groin injury isn’t too serious. 
If he doesn’t play at Oklahoma City, that likely means he’ll return to action on Wednesday at San Antonio. 
“I’m going to do what I can to get back out there on the court,” Thomas said. “I gotta be smart about this. I don’t want this to linger on this season.”
Replacing Smart in the lineup against Toronto will most likely be Marcus Smart. 
Smart, who has been a replacement starter at small forward and point guard this season, had 13 points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals against the Magic.