Boston Celtics

The Boston Celtics finish off the second of a back-to-back with a 113-102 win over the Los Angeles Clippers, bringing their four game losing streak to an end.

Prior to tip-off, it was announced that Al Horford wouldn’t be in the line up for precautionary reasons. According to the Celtics’ Twitter, “the team wants to be certain that he does not have a concussion. And Brad Stevens says Horford is feeling “a lot better” today.”

Marcus Smart was also a last minute scratch after the team learned that he suffered a laceration on his hand from “glass” and received some stitches earlier in the day.

RELATED AUDIO: Marcus Smart’s Mysterious Hand Injury

DeAndre Jordan made his return for the Clippers after missing the past five games due to an ankle injury.

Coming into tonight’s matchup, the Celtics had lost four straight, their longest losing streak since March 2016 and the Clippers were sitting at 0-2 after winning six in a row.

Semi Ojeleye came into the game late in the first and picked up three fouls in a measly 20 seconds. And then he picked up his fourth foul, just two minutes later.

At the end of the first, the Celtics held a 25-22 lead behind seven points from Kyrie Irving and six from Aron Baynes to go with four rebounds.

You could feel the momentum really shift the C’s way when Daniel Theis nailed a three just outside the 10:00 mark giving the Celtics a 30-28 lead. Theis then followed up the play by hustling down the floor to make a play in the paint and deflecting a pass.

Terry Rozier III epically splits three defenders and drives to the hole, drawing a foul, and shooting two. He knocks down both freebies. Then during the C’s next possession, he drives to the hole for a right-handed layup. You simply couldn’t knock Rozier’s hustle tonight.

Just over halfway through the second, the Celtics knocked down back-to-back threes en route to an 18-7 run, giving the C’s a 10-point lead. And at one point, it was a 10-2 run over a two-minute span.

Brad Stevens was called on a technical foul for chatting up the refs over a tough stretch of calls later in the second.

The Celtics nailed back-to-back threes in the final minute to help propel them to a 62-55 lead at the end of the first half. The C’s shot 9-of-22 from three over the first two quarters, but committed 18 personal fouls, before ultimately finishing with 28.

Irving and the Celtics jumped out to a 6-0 run to start the third quarter.

But it wasn’t until almost four minutes into the third, that the Clippers finally made their first three of the game (1-8 3PT). And then two minutes later they knocked down another to bring themselves within three, after shooting 2-of-14 from three through the first half.

There was a scoring draught in the middle of third, but the Celtics ultimately closed out the quarter with a 19-8 run to take a 91-77 lead over the Clippers.

And in case you forgot, Ojeleye hit the bench early thanks to foul trouble, but he finally returned to the floor with five minutes to play in the third. He later stayed on the floor to start the fourth. And good thing he did, because he then scored five points in the first two minutes of the quarter.

The Celtics never took their foot off the throttle down the closing stretch of the fourth, helping to push them to a convincing win at the Staples Center. They also did a helluva job keeping balls alive, playing team defense down the stretch and pounding the boards, while out-rebounding the Clippers 47-to-40.

Five Celtics scored in double-digits, with Irving leading all Celtics scorers with 20 points (7-16 FG), eight rebounds and seven assists. Jayson Tatum had 18 points (2-4 3PT) and six rebounds. Plus, Baynes (6-8 FG) finished with 12 points and six rebounds. And Rozier had 15 off the bench, with Theis stepping up for Horford with 23 minutes, eight points and eight rebounds.

UP NEXT: The Celtics (35-14) continue their West coast trip Saturday night against the top-ranked Golden State Warriors (38-10). Catch the call of the game with Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell live on 98.5 The Sports Hub. Pre-game coverage begins at 8:00 p.m., with tip-off set for 8:30 p.m.

—  By John ‘The Dude’ Hardiman, 985TheSportsHub.com

John Hardiman is a Digital Producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for John? Hit him up on Twitter @HardiDude or e-mail him at john.hardiman@bbgi.com.