Celtics

Celtics close out West coast trip with blowout loss to Clippers

Celtics close out West coast trip with blowout loss to Clippers

The last leg of a long road trip is often the toughest one for most teams.

True to form, the Boston Celtics struggled on all levels as they closed out their four-game West coast trip with a decisive 140-115 loss to the Clippers.

The 140 points were the most points in regulation allowed by a Brad Stevens-coached team.

Boston came in riding the wave of success having won three in a row, and were looking to win a fourth straight in the state of California -- something that had not been done by a Celtics team in more than 50 years.

But it didn’t take long for those dreams to be dashed in emphatic fashion, as the Clippers played with the kind of energy, effort and intensity that Boston simply had no way of matching.

The Celtics will head back home to Boston Tuesday morning, and will have a couple days to recover from Monday night’s shellacking before they will face the Sacramento Kings at home on Thursday.

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Boston’s loss to the Clippers:

STARS

Kyrie Irving: There was very little help offensively for Irving, who reached deep into the Uncle Drew bag of tricks to keep the Celtics afloat for most of the game. Irving would lead the Celtics with a double-double of 18 points and 11 assists.

Lou Williams: One of the greatest scoring sixth men ever, Williams delivered another strong game for Los Angeles in scoring a game-high 34 points off the bench. Williams is now the NBA’s all-time leading scorer among reserve players, having scored 11,154 points.

STUDS

Danilo Gallinari: Trading away Tobias Harris immediately put Gallinari front-and-center as one of the Clippers’ best scoring threats. And the 6-foot-10 Gallinari did not disappoint, tallying 25 points.

Terry Rozier: Along with Irving, Rozier had a solid night, finishing with 26 points off the bench.

Jaylen Brown: Getting the start in place of an injured Jayson Tatum, Brown had 22 points to go with seven rebounds.

Montrezl Harrell: One of the better reserves this season, Harrell had 20 points on 8-for-12 shooting to go with six rebounds.

DUDS

Marcus Morris: This was another rough shooting night for Marcus Morris, who had 11 points on 3-for-9 shooting. Prior to Monday’s loss, Morris had shot 41.7 percent from the field and just 28.1 percent on 3’s in the month of March.

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Celtics had a terrific celebration planned for Grant Williams' first 3-pointer

Celtics had a terrific celebration planned for Grant Williams' first 3-pointer

Even the best-laid plans go awry when you're too excited about your teammate making his first career 3-pointer.

Celtics rookie Grant Williams finally hit a deep ball Monday night in the third quarter of Boston's win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, ending an 0-for-25 spell to begin his NBA career and causing his teammates to go wild on the bench.

It was a hilarious celebration for a cool moment -- but not the celebration the Celtics had planned.

Backup point guard Brad Wanamaker told the Boston Sports Journal's Brian Robb what should have happened after Williams' first 3-pointer.

If you watch the video, Wanamaker actually stuck to the plan and "passed out" on the sideline, but the rest of his teammates were too excited (shocked, perhaps?) to remember to follow suit.

We appreciate the effort, Brad.

According to Williams, his teammates' celebration also included some colorful language.

"A lot of it was graphic," Williams told reporters when asked what the Celtics were yelling at him after his 3-pointer. "Especially Carsen (Edwards), you know. But outside of that, it was a good moment, just because they were celebrating me."

It helped that the C's were cruising to a 110-88 win over the Cavs, giving them full latitude to celebrate Williams first deep ball however they wanted.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Pacers, which tips off Wednesday at 6 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike & Scal have the call at 7 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

Kemba Walker stays ready, even in blowouts, when it matters for the Celtics

Kemba Walker stays ready, even in blowouts, when it matters for the Celtics

BOSTON -- Kemba Walker had every reason to think that his night was over going into the fourth quarter. 

Boston had a commanding lead against a Cleveland Cavaliers squad that’s considered one of the worst teams in the NBA. 

But as the game got a little too close for head coach Brad Stevens’ comfort, he turned to Walker.

And Walker responded with a barrage of 3-pointers that left the Cavs as nothing more than collateral damage in the wake of Boston’s 110-88 win. 

Walker finished with a game-high 22 points which included a trio of 3-pointers in the fourth quarter that put the Cavs (5-18) away for good. 

Boston led by as many as 29 points in the second half, only to see that lead down to as little as 14 points in the fourth with seven minutes to play. 

That’s when he called on Walker who came up with one big shot after another. 

And the way Walker responded in the fourth quarter when called upon by Stevens was a reminder of just how important it has become for the best players to be locked in from the opening tip-off to the final horn - even when victory seems all but a given. 

Said Stevens: “I just told the team afterwards, ‘If you want to be special then model after Kemba because Kemba sits over there thinks his night’s done, gets put back into the game, drills three 3’s and ends it.

Stevens added, “Special is not for everybody.”

Having spent his first eight seasons with the Charlotte Hornets, Walker knows exactly what the Cavs were thinking as they steadily chipped away at Boston’s lead.

Understanding the mindset of a team and players on the comeback trail has helped Walker appreciate and embrace the need to always stay on top of his game and ready to go - even when victory seems all but a given. 

Walker understands how a player can lose focus on the game and become relaxed down the stretch in what appears to be a blowout in the making. 

“It’s possible,” Walker says before adding, “But at the end of the day you have to stay engaged through the whole game. You just never know. In this league, 20-point leads go so fast. Teams can score in bunches really fast. You have to stay engaged.”

Which is exactly what he did. 

That not only helped Boston get the victory on Monday, but also served as a great example for the team’s younger players on how to handle themselves when things get sidetracked after going just the way they want them to for most of the game. 

“He set a great example, what he’s done in this league for a very long time,” Tatum said. “That’s why he’s one of the best players in the league.”

And a leader on this team. 

“As one of the leaders I feel I have to stay engaged,” Walker said. “Just like … you never know what to expect.  This league, guys can score so fast and easy. You just never know when teams will come back. It can get a little nerve-racking and Brad felt he had to put me back in. I knew once I got in there, I had to be more aggressive, look for my shot a little more and that’s what I did.”

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Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Pacers, which tips off Wednesday at 6 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike & Scal have the call at 7 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.