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Celtics 111 - Clippers 100

That was one weird game.

I must admit, I haven't watched the Celtics that much this year.  But the conventional wisdom going into the season was that they had no bench.  Yet, without KG in the first unit, it was the Celtics second unit that killed the Clippers tonight.  The start of the second quarter and the start of the fourth quarter, the Clippers were completely shackled by Eddie House, Tony Allen, James Posey, Glenn Davis and Leon Powe.  When I first saw the team they had on the floor in the second, I thought the Clippers would feast on them.  I'm still not sure how they actually scored with that group.  But they did.  Looking at the plus/minus numbers for this game, Ray Allen is the only Celtic not in the positive range.  Go figure.

But the game was strange beyond that.  For one thing, there were some wacky bounces all game.  Quinton Ross made a running 40 footer to close the first period.  Late in the third, after the Clippers had closed to three, the ball deflected about 5 times before ending up in Allen's hands after which he was fouled by Q.  And in the final two minutes, after Josh Powell had just missed Kaman wide open on a cut to the basket, the Clippers played great defense for 22 seconds before a loose ball ended up in House's hands 25 feet from the basket, and he made a three falling out of bounds.  Not that the Clippers were likely to win this game, but they did end up cutting the lead to 7, and those two plays were a 5 point swing right there.

Other weird stuff:

  • Cat Mobley 3 for 5 on threes, 0 for 10 on twos.
  • Sam Cassell ejected for trying to take Rajon Rondo's head off.  (Sam was clearly mad that he'd been knocked down by Rondo on the other end twice in a row with no whistle, but obviously that's the ref's fault, not Rondo's fault).
  • Rondo scoring 18 first half points on his way to a career high 24.
  • The Clippers leading by 4 in the first quarter despite a 9-0 run in the opening 150 seconds, with all the points coming from Paul Pierce - and Pierce finished the game with 15.
  • Kaman looking lethargic and indecisive on offense (6 shot attempts, 5 turnovers) - but energetic on defense, blocking 6 shots.  6 shots, 6 blocks, 5 turnovers, 5 fouls.
It was a strange game.  The Clippers had no right to be in it, on the road against the team with the best record in the NBA, with or without Garnett.  Kaman was a cipher on offense, and saddled with foul trouble to boot.  Cassell was ejected.  Tim Thomas didn't play at all with back spasms.  Rookie Al Thornton had one of his intermittent horrible games (-20 in 20 minutes played - ouch).  For long stretches of the game, Knight and Ross and Powell were on the floor at the same time out of necessity.  It makes it tough to score.

Somehow they hung in there, thanks mainly to forced turnovers (another strange thing - not really a Clipper strength), free throws and Corey Maggette.  Maggette finished the game with 33 points on 11 for 18 shooting, 8 rebounds and 5 steals.  

But it wasn't enough.  

By the way, I'm not sure that Sam Cassell made any friends in his quest to become the Celtics backup point guard by trying to behead the starter.  I'd like to see what happens the first time those two meet in practice if Sam does somehow end up in green.