Coming off of a hard-fought win over the Trail Blazers, the Clippers sought to finally get in a rhythm like they had during their seven-game win streak. However, Paul George’s last-minute absence due to a right elbow contusion took away the weapon that scored or assisted on nine of the last 12 points in the game against the Blazers. Role players and the bench needed to step up against the Jayson Tatum-led Celtics, which is exactly what they did in the 114-111 win.
Terance Mann replaced George in the starting lineup and made his presence known in the first quarter. In that period alone, he totaled eight points, four rebounds, and one steal without a single miss. Following that, Brandon Boston seemed to further cement his place in Ty Lue’s rotation. Not only did he score 18 points in the second quarter with just one miss, topping his career-high, but he ended the half with a buzzer-beating turnaround three from distance to power the Clippers to a 12 point lead.
The offensive production from the bench was also matched on defense, as they racked up five steals and two blocks by halftime. The Clippers’ lead soon grew to over 20 in the third quarter, and George’s absence had a visible impact on the flow of the offense. Isolation play was rare, replaced by easy buckets off of turnovers or good perimeter looks from strong drives to the hoop. However, the Celtics did not waver and cut the lead to single digits at one point, though the Clippers were able to reclaim some of the ground they lost in the latter portion of the third quarter.
Ultimately, they held onto their lead and secured the victory, despite the unyielding persistence of the Celtics. The lead was cut to just two with seconds remaining, but the Clippers just managed to hold one thanks to their earlier success. Overall, Brandon Boston left the biggest impression by scoring 27 points and grabbing four steals on almost-70 percent shooting, potentially securing a bigger role. Ty Lue will continue to tweak lineups and rotations, but their performances as of late suggest they may be back on track to take on the rest of the season.