For the past two seasons, it has seemed like every game between the Celtics and Clippers has come down to the wire. That was the case again on Tuesday, when the C’s held off a late Clipper charge to earn a 117-112 win at TD Garden.
With the win, the Celtics move to 18-17 on the year, and are back over .500 for the first time since February 19. It is their third in a row, earning them their first three-game winning streak since mid-January.
Jaylen Brown took the game into his own hands early, with 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting in the first quarter alone. An early seven-point Celtic lead quickly disappeared, and the teams spent most of the frame within a basket of each other. After one, Boston led 35-32.
Neither side cooled off even a bit in the second quarter, as the game continued to go back and forth. Both teams shot a combined 54 percent in the first half, which included a 16-of-30 mark from three. Los Angeles closed the half on a 17-6 run, giving them a 63-62 lead at the break.
The Clippers held a five to seven point lead for most of the third quarter, but a 12-3 run got the Celtics back in the lead with under two minutes to go in the period. That run was keyed by Kemba Walker, who scored 13 points in the quarter. However, a Lou Williams buzzer beater helped the Clips regain momentum, as they took an 89-88 lead into the fourth.
Boston opened the fourth quarter on an 8-3 run, but it wasn’t long until the Clippers were back within two. The Celtis responded with a 9-0 run, once again taking control of the game.
That multiple-possession lead lasted until there were 10 second remaining, and Paul George hit a three pointer to cut the lead to two points. However, Daniel Theis would hit a pair of free throws on the other end, putting the game away.
Walker led the way for the Celtics, with 25 points on 8-of-19 shooting. He was supported mainly by Brown, who added 18 on 8-of-14.
Jayson Tatum was locked down for most of the night, but managed to hit a couple of key buckets in the fourth quarter as part of a 14-point, five-rebound, five-assist night. Tristan Thompson came up a rebound shy of a double-double, with 13 points and nine boards.
Off the bench, the Celtics got big contributions from Robert Williams and Payton Pritchard. Williams continues to be a force for the Celtics at the rim on both end of the floor, and he finished Tuesday night with 13 points, eight rebounds, and three blocks in 22 minutes. Pritchard scored 14 on 5-of-8 shooting, and went 4-of-7 from deep.
The Celtics wrap up the first half of their season on Thursday, when they host the Toronto Raptors. That game is scheduled to tip off at 7:00 p.m., with pregame coverage beginning at 6:30 on 98.5 The Sports Hub.
Alex Barth is a writer and 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. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.