LOS ANGELES -- It was a night of history for the Celtics at Staples Center on Monday night, and none of it was of the good variety for the visitors. Boston ran into a Clippers squad that was firing on all cylinders on the offensive end and watched the game get away from them quarter by quarter in the 25-point defeat. The hosts scored the most points by a Celtic opponent in 21 years (140) and shot 60.9 percent from the field, the highest mark by a Boston opponent since 2014.
Needless to say, Boston’s defense was a step slow all night. They haven’t had the personnel to slow down speedy guards like Lou Williams (game-high 34 points) all year long and that showed all night long yet again. They couldn’t slow down pick-and-rolls as Montrezl Harrell (20 points) and Ivica Zubac (14 points) feasted in the paint regularly. Guys overhelped, Marcus Morris got burned repeatedly and bounces didn’t go their way as the C’s watched an offensive performance for the ages by a Clippers team that has been on a roll for weeks now.
“Obviously they played great,” Brad Stevens acknowledged. “It’s probably a combination of our defense abandoned us and they just played terrific. We couldn’t get stops. We talked about trying to guard different ways. We probably should have just said, ‘Let’s do better what we do.’ But we tried zone three times and Harrell got the rebound on all three shots. So, ultimately we have to be better than we were, but credit them. They played great. And we’ll move on.”
Moving on was a constant theme after this one. A previous version of this Celtics squad would have overreacted to this dud. However, this group appeared determined not to let one stinker ruin the vibes of an otherwise successful road trip.
Kyrie Irving was at the forefront of that mentality in the wake of the 140-115 defeat, choosing to look at the bigger picture rather than dwell on one of 82.