OFFSEASON

Celtics fall to youthful Clippers, 108-103

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Celtics fall to youthful Clippers, 108-103

By A.Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

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

OFFSEASON

Tanguay: Celtics should steer clear of Al Horford

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Tanguay: Celtics should steer clear of Al Horford

The Celtics reportedly are taking a look at free agent Al Horford.

Ah, why?

Wait. Make that WHY?

If you're going with someone like Jaylen Brown, you don't pursue a Grade B free agent like Horford. Or even think about making a deal for Kevin Love. When the Celtics decided not to deal the third pick for an Okafor, Noel or Butler, and instead went for a player who'll need several years to fully develop, the course for this offseason was set.

Now, if the Celtics wow the daylights out of Kevin Durant and land him, Horford would be a nice addition for a less-than-max deal. But, despite my fanboy optimism in regard to a Durant signing, the chances are slim that KD will land in Boston.

I really liked Al Horford. Notice the use of the past tense. He's 30 years old and will get a max deal from somebody stupid enough to give him one. The guy averaged 15.2 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game last season and went MIA for Games 3, 4 and 5 in the playoffs against Boston. He's on the downside of his career, and I'd rather the Celtics enter next season with the roster they have now than add Horford.

I feel the same way about Love. If your top draft pick has one year of college experience and needs to greatly improve his basketball skills -- hello there, Jaylen Brown -- why bother with Love?

Horford and Love would be pieces to add if Durant comes here. Period. And please don't tell me that adding both, or either, would make the Celtics more attractive to KD. Nope.

I feel the Celtics have made their bed. It's Kevin Durant or nothing at all.