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Celtics drop OT, "playoff atmosphere" thriller to Clippers, 107-103

This one had "playoffs" written all over it. West versus East. Patrick Beverley versus Marcus Smart. Paul George against Jayson Tatum. Doc Rivers versus Brad Stevens. Jerry West pitted against Danny Ainge. It was the Los Angeles Clippers that came away with the 107-104 win in overtime, but this game defined why we love NBA basketball.


Jayson Tatum may have been the star of the game for Boston, but Marcus Smart was once-again the unsung hero. Tatum poured in a team-high 30 points on 50% shooting from both the field and beyond the arc. He added six rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks. This one play where he dropped PG-13 and hit a 3-pointer to tie the game is a portrait of what he has become.


Marcus came away with a line of 15 points, three boards, eight assists and two steals. He shot 7-of-20 from the field and 1-of-11 on treys, but he wasn't the only Celtics not able to find the net. Boston shot 39% on field goals and 27% on 3-pointers. This one play by Smart was all about hustle and the determination to win this game.




The Clippers bulldog guard, Patrick Beverley literally killed the Celtics' chances to come away with a win. Lou Williams was high man for LA with 27 points, but Beverley racked up 14 points, a team-high 16 rebounds, seven assists, three steals and two blocks. This was the first game that saw both Paul George and Kawhi Leonard on the floor together. PG-13 notched 25 points, five boards and eight assists. Kawhi came away with 17 points, six rebounds and three assists.


Daniel Theis, starting at the center spot, had quite a game. He scored eight points (4-of-8 FG), grabbed a team-high 14 boards, handed out six assists and had three steals. He continues to improve as the season progresses. I forecast Brad Wanamaker to start the game if Smart didn't play, but with Marcus in action, Brad still logged 27 minutes and came away with 14 points, three rebounds and five assists. He very well could end up as a solid part of the rotation.


The Clippers are now in fourth place in the Western Conference with a 10-5 record. Two years ago, one of my earliest articles as a sports writer proposed that Jerry West heading to the Clippers was going to resurrect the Clips and bring back the LA-Boston rivalry, but this time with a team other than the Lakers. Last night's epic battle may have pitted the two best NBA teams against each other. Look for more of my articles on last night's clash later today. What we saw may just be a prelude to the post-season Finals.

Follow Tom at @CelticsSentinel, @CausewayStreet and Facebook


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