The Boston Celtics imploded and blew a 28-point lead to the LA Clippers after losing point guard Kyrie Irving to a knee injury in the second quarter.
The Celtics (35-21) hosted the visiting Clippers (31-26), who currently hold the #8 seed in the Western Conference. Irving left the game with five minutes remaining in the second quarter. The Clippers stormed back to win 123-112.
The Celtics were 22-6 at home in Boston this season before losing consecutive games. LeBron James and the Lakers pulled off an 18-point comeback to beat the Celtics by a point.
Irving will be tested on Sunday to determine to severity of the injury. Initial reports revealed he sprained his knee.
The Celtics lost consecutive games and blew big leads to Los Angeles teams. The Lakers rallied from down 18 points to pull off a one-point win. Rajon Rondo hit a buzzer beater to win 129-128. LeBron James scored 28 points, while Kyrie Irving led the Celtics with 24 points.
On Saturday, the Celtics looked completely lost without Irving, who scored 14 points in 14 minutes. The Clippers outscored the Celtics 75-44 from the time Irving left the game mid-way through the second quarter. Gordon Hayward finished the night with a team-high 19 points.
“There’s no excuses,” said head coach Brad Stevens. “Those things happen and we all have to pick up for that. So, I’ll go back and figure out what I can do better, what we can do better, and we’ll go from there.”
The Celtics finished the night hitting just 9-of-26 from three-point land or a 34.6 percent clip.
Eight players on the Clippers scored in double digits. Montrezl Harrell led all scorers with 21 points. Danilo Gallinari missed a couple of weeks with back spasms, but the “Italian Rooster” added 19 points in his second game back to the lineup.
AD Trade Fallout
The talk for a while now has been the impending trade between the Boston Celtics and New Orleans Pelicans. The Celtics have a couple of first-round draft picks and a slew of young players they were willing to trade for Anthony Davis. Due to the “Rose Rule”, the Celtics were unable to negotiate a trade until July 1.
Things got a little dicey when Davis’ agent mentioned that his client wanted out of New Orleans as soon as possible. Instead of waiting until the summer to negotiate a trade, they attempt to facilitate a trade to the LA Lakers or anywhere else. The Lakers put in a bid, but the Pelicans had no desire to even consider helping out LeBron James. The Pelicans did not trade Davis with the intention of waiting for the Celtics in the summer.
Word got out that most of the team was on the block in order to acquire Davis. With the trade deadline looming, the Lakers lost team morale. They gave up on LeBron James, who suffered the worst loss of his career when the Pacers smoked the Lakers by 42 points.
Not Fun in Beantown
With consecutive losses against subpar non-conference opponents, the Celtics are suffering from the trade deadline hangover.
Forward Marcus Morris shared his feelings about the current state of affairs in Boston.
“I don’t see the joy in the game,” Morris told reporters after the loss to the Clippers. “I watch all these other teams around the league and guys are up on the bench, they’re jumping on the court, they’re doing all of this other stuff that looks like they’re enjoying their teammates’ success, they’re enjoying everything, and they’re playing together and they’re playing to win. And when I look at us I just see a bunch of individuals.”
Boston is a rabid sports town and the pro teams service the entire region of New England. There’s no shortage of pressure to play for the Celtics. However, the business of basketball sucked the fun out of the entire experience.
On Deck: Pistons and Sixers
The Boston Celtics (35-21) had won nine of ten games before their current two-game losing streak. The All-Star break could not come at a better time. The Celtics need time to regroup.
The Celtics have a back-to-back to finish out the first-half of the season. They head to Philadelphia to play the Sixers. The Sixers (35-20) have one of the most dangerous starting lineups in the NBA after acquiring Tobias Harris in a trade with the LA Clippers. The Celtics host the Detroit Pistons (25-29), which will be their last game before an eight-day break. The feisty Pistons are on the playoff bubble.
The Milwaukee Bucks with the Greek Freak are the best team in the Eastern Conference. If the playoffs were to begin today, the Celtics would lock up the #5 seed.
According to the South Point Casino and Sports Book in Las Vegas, the Boston Celtics are 8/1 odds to win the NBA championship.