Stars, studs and duds: Celtics 'have to be better'


Stars, studs and duds: Celtics 'have to be better'

The Boston Celtics couldn’t make shots.

Defensively, they couldn’t get stops.

Mix those two together against a team like the Los Angeles Clippers and the outcome as you might expect, wasn’t a pretty one.

The Clippers pulled away for a decisive 114-90 win, a victory fueled in large part by Boston’s poor shooting.

For the game, Boston shot just 34.8 percent from the field.

“Anytime that we got close, we didn’t play with any composure to get back over the hump,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens told reporters after the loss.

While the loss was certainly disappointing, the Celtics knew going into tonight’ s game that they would have their hands full against a Clippers squad looking to avenge a 139-134 overtime loss in Boston on Feb. 10.

“We have to be better than that,” Stevens said. “We have to play better next time we take the court Thursday.”

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Monday’s game.


Chris Paul

There were others who scored more points, but it was Paul’s play that set the tone for this dominant performance by the Clippers. He finished with a double-double of 13 points and 14 assists, most of which he tallied in the first half.

Isaiah Thomas

He continues to score better than any Celtic player around, leading the team for the 13th straight game which ties a franchise record, with 24 points.

Clippers bench

They have been a much-maligned group at times, but came through with their best collective scoring night of the season on Monday in tallying a season-high 67 points which had four different double-digit scorers off the bench.


DeAndre Jordan

His scoring around the basket and usual rim protection were huge for the Clippers. Heck, he even made most of his free throws where he made five of his seven free throw attempts. Jordan had 15 points and 13 rebounds along with three blocked shots.


Celtics bench

The second unit did very little to give Boston a lift on a night when they desperately needed someone to emerge. And while the final numbers don’t look that shabby, keep in mind that a good chunk of those stats came about when the outcome was no longer in doubt.


Gordon Hayward rips back a morning workout while repping his Butler Bulldogs

File Photo

Gordon Hayward rips back a morning workout while repping his Butler Bulldogs

There hasn't been all positive news surrounding Gordon Hayward as of late.

The Celtics have been shooting down rumors of Hayward returning this season. Recent news has detailed a minor setback in his recovery.

But it's always good to see the C's superstar up early crushing a workout in the weightroom.

We might not see him back in 2018, but his dedication during recovery is something to admire.


Celtics look to continue rolling on the road

AP Photo

Celtics look to continue rolling on the road

It seems all season we’ve talked about the Boston Celtics overcoming adversity, whether it be a bad injury to a key player or a blown assignment leading to a loss.

Nowhere is this more apparent than their play on the road this season which ranks among the best in the NBA.

The Celtics will look to continue on their road warrior-like ways tonight at New Orleans, a team that’s fighting for playoff position in the tighter-than-usual Western Conference.

In recent years, the terrain has been rough for teams from the East venturing into Western Conference territory.

For this year’s Celtics?

Not so much.

Boston comes into tonight’s game with a 17-7 record against Western Conference teams, tops among all teams in the East.

And while Boston has eight road games left this season, they are on pace to finish with one of the best road records in franchise history.

Currently 24-9 away from the TD Garden (tops in the East, third overall in the NBA), that’s a winning percentage of .727 which is the fourth-highest in franchise history.

Here are five under-the-radar story lines to keep an eye on when the Boston Celtics take on the New Orleans Pelicans tonight.


It’s a given that Al Horford will spend time defending Anthony Davis tonight. And while Davis will likely have a strong night scoring the ball, you can count on Horford making it extremely tough on him. When the two teams met on Jan. 16, Davis was 8-for-19 shooting for 16 points in 52 possessions when defended by Horford. For the game, Davis had 45 points on 16-for-34 shooting.


We’ve seen “Playoff" Rondo and “National TV" Rondo deliver some impressive performances in the past. What will we see from “Well-Rested” Rondo? The Pelicans gave the ex-Celtic the night off on Saturday as to not play him in back-to-back games. Of the two games, it made sense to sit him against the Rockets and have him ready to roll against a Boston Celtics team that will not have its full complement of players available.


Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry had some choice words about the officiating in New Orleans’ 107-101 loss to Houston on Saturday that he clearly felt cost his team a better chance at winning. The only cost in play now is how big will the check be that he’ll pay the league for his comments about the officiating. His issue was that Anthony Davis doesn’t get enough calls based on the physical abuse he takes per game. Davis ranks fourth in the NBA in free throw attempts (7.8) per game, but only had four attempts against the Rockets. It’ll be worth watching whether the Pelicans, 16th in the league in free throw attempts (21.4) per game, will get to the line significantly more or less than their season average.


One of the keys to Boston’s improved play since returning to the floor since the all-star break, has been their ability to begin games with strong play. Boston has outscored their opponent in the first quarter each of the last eight games, and 10 of 11. In addition, Boston has been ahead at the half in each of their 10 games since the all-star break, which comes on the heels of trailing at the half in the seven games prior to the break.


Jayson Tatum has been one of the most impactful rookies in the NBA this season which will likely land him a spot on the NBA’s all-rookie first or second team. One of the strengths of Tatum has been his durability, evident by him being one of just two first-year players to appear in each of his team’s games played this season. He is joined by Memphis’ Dillon Brooks.