Celtics hit milestone not reached since Larry Bird era in Clippers win

Celtics hit milestone not reached since Larry Bird era in Clippers win

The Boston Celtics needed their best players to be at their best Thursday night.

Mission accomplished.

The Celtics defeated the talented Los Angeles Clippers 141-133 in double overtime thanks to an exceptional effort from their starting five, who combined to score 122 points -- or 86.5 percent of Boston's total.

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When is the last time the Celtics' starting five scored 120 points or more? You have to go back to the late 1980s, when Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish were running the show.

Four of the five Celtics players in that Feb. 10, 1988, lineup are in the Basketball Hall of Fame, with Danny Ainge as the lone exception. Not a bad group to compare yourself to (although the 1987-88 Celtics lost to the Detroit Pistons in the Eastern Conference Finals).

Celtics fans will be pleased to know that Jayson Tatum matched Bird with 39 points, while Marcus Smart went off for 31 and Gordon Hayward chipped in 21.

Tatum certainly channeled his inner Bird on Thursday night, hitting several clutch shots and out-dueling Clippers star Kawhi Leonard to help carry the Celtics to victory.

What makes Boston's feat more impressive is that its starting five didn't include Jaylen Brown, who is the Celtics' third-leading scorer at 20.2 points per game.

But the Celtics' effort without Brown is further proof they have a wealth of quality offensive options -- they're the only team in the NBA with three players averaging 20-plus points per game -- that could make them very dangerous come playoff time.

This unit is hardly on the level of Bird, McHale, Parish, Dennis Johnson and the 1980s Celtics, but they belonged the same breath as that legendary squad for one night, at least.

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How Kobe Bryant once used a cutout of Paul Pierce as 'motivation'

How Kobe Bryant once used a cutout of Paul Pierce as 'motivation'

Kobe Bryant will forever be remembered as one of the fiercest competitors in sports history. That unmatched competitiveness was amplified whenever his Los Angeles Lakers faced off against their archrival, the Boston Celtics.

Two months after the Lakers fell to the C's in the 2008 NBA Finals, Bryant headed to China to take part in the Summer Olympics. There, he helped the United States earn its first gold medal since 2000.

But the sting from his loss to the Celtics overshadowed the euphoria of his Olympics victory.

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WNBA star Sue Bird, who also was in China for the '08 Games, told a great story about witnessing Bryant's competitive attitude while drinking wine and playing card games with him that summer.

“He was fresh off [the Finals loss] and you could tell [he was still thinking it]” Bird told Los Angeles Sparks star and ESPN analyst Chiney Ogwuimike.“… [We were] just kicking it and he saw this newspaper — it was something about the Lakers series and blah blah blah — and there was a picture of Paul Pierce celebrating.

“And he didn’t say a word. He didn’t say anything. But we saw him take the paper. He started cutting out the Paul Pierce picture. He folded it up and put it in his pocket and was like, ‘Motivation.’ And we were like, ‘Oh, it never stops with him.’ And you can tell.”

Watch below:

There never will be another player like the "Black Mamba."

Bryant tragically passed away in a helicopter crash on January 26 along with his daughter, Gianna, and seven others. He was 41 years old.

You can listen to Pierce reminisce about the C's Finals win over the Lakers in the Celtics Talk Podcast below:

Here's how Celtics' Gordon Hayward is staying busy amid coronavirus outbreak

Here's how Celtics' Gordon Hayward is staying busy amid coronavirus outbreak

Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward is spending some much needed time with his family, but he's probably seen Disney's "Frozen" more times than he's wanted to. 

"I think I've watched 'Frozen' 35 times already," Hayward said, according to ESPN's Zach Lowe. 

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Watching Disney films isn't the only thing the 30-year-old gamer is doing -- Hayward told Lowe he's been teaching his daughters how to play Mario Kart and Pokemon. While Hayward is one of the NBA's biggest video game nerds, he, unfortunately, isn't participating in the NBA 2K Tournament that begins on Saturday.

While his daughters are enjoying watching movies and playing video games, Hayward says they're missing the TD Garden court. 

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"This was the first season they actually liked to go," Hayward said. "And not to watch me play. Just to hang out. They miss that."

Hayward probably misses it even more. He's averaging 17.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game while shooting 50.2 percent from the field and 39.2 percent from beyond the arc. In the C's final game before the NBA hit pause on the 2019-20 campaign, Hayward tallied 27 points against the Indiana Pacers with 10 rebounds. 

If the NBA season does resume at any point in the future, Hayward should be well-rested and ready to go.