Post Game Analysis
After the recent disasters on the road, the grumbling for the head of Mike Dunleavy were becoming more and more audible with each loss. With hostile and negative expectations coming into this game, the Clippers turn one of their most even performances all year as they play reasonably well all game and are able to beat one of the top teams in the NBA.
In typical Clipper news we get another dose of mixed news. Marcus Camby's MRI on his knee were negative but he would miss tonight's game. DeAndre Jordan starts at PF in his place to counter the Celtics obvious length on the front court. Apparently the injury bug extends outside the locker room as Don MacLean is announcing in place of Mike Smith who is home sick. Personally I think Mike Smith was ducking this game...
As for the game itself, Clippers come out hot as they are able to get decent looks even against a very good Celtics team that contends every shot as if it was for the game. In the first quarter Kaman makes some nice moves, either scoring or drawing fouls early on.
DJ makes his presence felt immediately as Baron delivers a beautiful alley oop pass to DJ for onehanded slam, things were looking pretty promising. But then we are reminded why we were a 12-17 to begin with as Rondo's quick hands causes a few turnovers and Baron picks up his 2nd foul. Without Baron in the game the Clippers look lost, fortunately the Celtics miss some relatively open shots that allow us to keep the game close.
Rondo controls the game from the outset, able to get where he wants to on the court and also dropping a unstoppable floater numerous times. EJ appears to have lost some confidence with his shot and is making more of an effort to get to the basket. Despite having a few calls go uncalled, EJ stays aggressive and eventually starts to get to the foul line.
Both teams struggle offensively after getting off to a hot start. At the close of the quarter the Celtics are up 23-22 at the end of the quarter.
After missing badly on a couple of three point field attempts in the 1st quarter, Rasheed Wallace goes to work in the post. The Clippers let Brian Skinner defend him without the benefit of a double team and unfortunately Skinner has nothing to offer Rasheed defensively. MDsr is forced to sub DJ back in for Skinner and after making one more shot against DJ it seems to stop the Celtics from going back to Rasheed in the post for the rest of the game.
After Sheed's clinic in the post, the Celtics extend their lead to 38-30 and the nation grows worried about another blowout. Fortunately the Clips respond positively for once go on 12-0 run of their own and take a 4 point lead briefly. After trading some baskets the Celtics end up with a 2 point lead going into the half (Celtics 48, Clippers 46). According to Ralph, there were 8 lead changes in the 1st half. so it was obvious a evenly played game at the half way point.
After the break, Don and Ralph are discussing the length of the nets. Turns out one net is much shorter than the other. Anyways, the Celtics come out tough, as KG hits some wide open jumpers, Perkins makes a nice turn a move in the post and all of a sudden that 2 point deficit is quickly up to 10.
Lots of back and forth action trading baskets as the Clips are unable to cut into the lead through most of the 3rd period when finally with about a minute to go the Clips are able to string together a few stops with nice offensive possessions to cut to the lead to 2. Celtics are able to make it a 4 pt game after a awkward looking hook shot from Big Baby Davis to end the period with a 4 point lead (Celtics 73, Clippers 69).
It's great to have pre-season Rasual Butler back again as he hits a three on the Clippers first offensive possession to start the 4th to cut the deficit to 1. Neither team is able to gain any separation as the Celtics are never able to surmount more than a 5 point lead for the entire quarter.
The Clippers are able to keep it close to the final couple of minutes when down by three Baron is able to get into the lane and find Rasual Butler wide open in the corner for a trey to tie it with 8.5 seconds On the next play Rondo gets by Baron who is forced to Rondo rather than giving up the would be game winning lay up. Clearly affected by the pressure of making the free throws, Rondo clanks both and the Clips are able to rebound and call a timeout with 1.0 seconds left. Capitalizing on Rondo's failure, Baron gets the ball at the top of the key and is able to drain a amazingly difficult turn around jump shot for the buzzer beating win.
Player of the Game
The award has to go to Baron Davis who tallied 24 points to go along with 13 assists and 3 steals. All of which came from an efficient 7-11 shooting from the field. Honorable mention has to go to Chris Kaman who finished with 27 points and 12 rebounds on a impressive 12-21 from the field.