Celtics vs Clippers 3/28/16
Tonight at 10:30 p.m. ET, the Boston Celtics are set to take on the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. The last time these two met the game was filled with action, ultimately resulting in a Boston win in OT (139-134) and undoubtedly one of their best wins of the season. With the Celtics coming off a road win against the Suns in Phoenix, this will be just their second game on their final five game road trip. This game is a huge one for the C’s, as they are a half of a game behind the Atlanta Hawks for the 3rd seed in the east and are currently ahead of the Miami Heat by a half of a game for the 4th seed in the Eastern Conference. Home court advantage would be a real stepping stone for the future of the Celtics success, and they have a really good chance of accomplishing just that. Going 3-2 on this road trip would be considered ideal for the Celtics at this point, but us green teamers can see our team grinding out this game and push for 4-1. To get this win tonight would help convince not only other fans but other teams that the Celtics are a real threat in the East. It would help solidify the statement Boston has been trying to make the entire year; they are the real deal.
The Clippers are currently 47-25 and are on a two game win streak. However they have only won 4 of their last 10. They have already clinched a playoff spot in the west, proving again they are a force to be reckoned with. Chris Paul is the real deal for this team, and is a Top 3 Point Guard in the league as of today. Just looking at his stats prove he’s an elite talent, “CP3” is shooting 46% from the field while averaging about 20ppg. He is also averaging 10 assists a game, 4 rebounds, and 2 steals. With Blake Griffin being out, Paul has been their primary option on offense. It’s going to be a challenge for the C’s but they need to limit his production in any way possible. Expect to see Marcus Smart and Avery Bradley taking turns on playing Paul, however Avery may see more time on J.J Redick. It’s crucial to limit Redicks production, as he’s shown he is an elite shooter in this league. While only averaging 17ppg, he is shooting 47% on the season and has shown he can go on a shooting spree when hot.
As for the Celtics, we can expect Isaiah Thomas to show up for this matchup, as he usually does on big stages. He had 36 points and 11 assists in their last matchup while also hitting a final second shot to send the game to OT. Jared Sullinger had an efficient and big impact on the game shooting 10-15 from the floor with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Jae Crowder (19 points) and Avery Bradley, (18 points) Came up big for the C’s in this game contributing on offense and defensive. Jae Crowder will be missed in this game greatly, due to the fact that the Celtics cannot win this game purely relying on their offense. The Clippers are too good defensively to let that happen again. During this stretch we’ve really been able to appreciate the work Jae Crowder puts in each game, his aggressiveness and willingness to sacrifice his body on the floor each night is true Celtic green. That being said, everyone will have to hustle tonight, scrap for any loose ball and everyone will have to rebound. The Celtics cannot let the Clippers get second chance points or they will make them pay for those opportunities. Overall my takeaway is this is a very winnable game for the C’s, they have to lock down defensively and limit the production of CP3 and J.J Redick. They must not allow offensive rebounds, and be as solid as possible on the boards. Since Crowder is out they need extra offense to get them over the hump. Marcus Smart must be smart with his shot selection and make his presence known on the defensive side of things first, others will contribute offense where he doesn’t. Finally I believe Kelly Olynyk will be an X-factor in this game as he did not play well the last one, scoring 20 plus points with 5 assists. Overall defense will win Boston this game and will be a crucial win on this road trip to help lock down home court advantage in the Eastern Conference.