Like the Clippers’ last opponent, the Celtics are starting to string some wins together lately and want to keep their momentum going as inconsistency has set in lately for a healthy Clips team.
When: Tuesday, Mar. 2 at 4:30 p.m. PT
Where: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
How to watch/listen: TNT, Prime Ticket, AM 570 Radio
Opposing perspective: CelticsBlog
Projected Starting Lineups
Clippers (24-12): Patrick Beverley, Paul George, Serge Ibaka, Kawhi Leonard, Nicolas Batum
Celtics (17-17): Jayson Tatum, Daniel Theis, Tristan Thompson, Javonte Green, Kemba Walker
Clippers: Patrick Patterson (personal reasons) — OUT
Celtics: Marcus Smart (calf), Romeo Langford (wrist) — OUT; Jaylen Brown (knee), Tacko Fall (ankle) — QUESTIONABLE
LA had the national ABC broadcast Sunday against the Bucks in Milwaukee, but fell apart in the dying minutes to lose 105-100. With four minutes to play, the Clippers led by four points but they got ice-cold down the stretch and never scored the rest of the game. Losing on the road to a good team is not really something to obsess over during the regular season, but losing in that fashion in a high-profile clash? Yes, it’s a bit concerning.
Add to that, the Clippers posted an 8-7 record in the month of February, and while they had a couple road trips in that month, that mark is definitely concerning. And while Kawhi Leonard and Paul George both missed time in February, they also lost some of those games while both stars were playing.
Still, consider the Clippers have played a bunch of road games, plus they’ve had games against good teams, so perhaps one doesn’t need to get carried away with recent form. However, if you’re a championship contender you do need to take care of business more often than not against other good teams.
In contrast, the Celtics are merely at .500, which may be a surprise considering they handed the Clippers one of their losses, in LA, just under a month ago. Jayson Tatum and Leonard dueled on the night, with both George and Jaylen Brown out, and Tatum and Kemba Walker rallied down the stretch at Staples Center to pull out a rather surprising win that night.
Still, Tatum is a star and rightly so, and they’ve won their last two games, against the Washington Wizards and Indiana Pacers, both at home. Boston have struggled this season, but in a more forgiving Eastern Conference they should make the playoffs with ease and if they hit a hot run, watch out. This test may not be as big for the Clippers as the game against the Bucks, but take the Celtics at The Garden lightly at your own peril.