In Paul Pierce‘s emotional homecoming game, the LA Clippers fall 107-102 to Isaiah Thomas and the Boston Celtics. Here are 5 takeaways from this afternoon’s loss.
Dec 16, 2016; Miami, FL, USA; Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin (32) rests during the first half against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
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1) Blake’s efforts weren’t enough
Blake Griffin did a little bit of everything on the offensive end, scoring 23 points, grabbing 8 boards, and dishing 4 assists. He went 9 for 19 from the field and 5 for 6 at the charity stripe. Griffin seemed to be the only player that came ready to play, which resulted in him carrying the team on his back for the entire game. There were many points throughout the game when he reminded us of that he is completely capable of running the offense, including this beautiful behind the back pass to Raymond Felton:
Dec 20, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers guard JJ Redick (4) looks on against the Denver Nuggets during the third quarter at Staples Center. The Los Angeles Clippers won 119-102. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
2) No J.J. or Austin
Starters J.J. Redick and Austin Rivers went a combined 3 for 17 from the field, and only contributed 11 points in a losing effort against the Celtics. For most of Rivers’ shots, the ball just wasn’t going through the hoop. But in J.J.’s case, he had a hard time getting open throughout the entire game. For someone like him who is always in constant motion running and cutting, Boston did an amazing job at making sure J.J. didn’t get any good looks. The good news is, the two of them can’t really play any worse than they did. Hopefully the two Duke alumni be able to lift the team to a win over the Toronto Raptors.
Apr 13, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (4) celebrates against the Miami Heat during the second half at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports
3) Isaiah Thomas is a good basketball player
5’9 Isaiah Thomas played larger than life against the Clippers. He scored 13 of his 28 points in the 1st quarter, which ended up being one of the factors that hurt the Clippers the most. Thomas himself is why the Clippers were getting their butt’s handed to them on the defensive end. Despite Austin’s best efforts guarding him, he couldn’t keep up with he little guy. Raymond Felton seemed to be doing a much better job against against him, but it still wasn’t enough to keep him from having some monster shots against this struggling Chris Paul-less team. This has been yet another game Thomas can add to his resume for this year’s MVP award.
Jan 6, 2017; Sacramento, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan (6) looks on against the Sacramento Kings during the second quarter at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports
4) DJ was absent….again
Ever since January 26th when DeAndre Jordan was announced as an All-Star reserve, he hasn’t been playing like himself for some unknown reason. The trend continued tonight, as he only had 6 points and looked uncharacteristically lackadaisical on the defensive end. While we’re not sure what’s getting to DeAndre, hopefully he can move past it and return to being the powerful force we all know and love. But it could just be that he’s upset he had to cancel his trip to Hawaii…which is understandable.
Feb 10, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers forward Paul Pierce (34) returns up court against the Boston Celtics in the first quarter at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
5) Paul Pierce’s emotional homecoming
Today was practically “Paul Pierce Day” in the TD Garden, as it was his last career game that will be played in Boston. The Celtics franchise and fans were extremely ecstatic and appreciative of his return, and showed it in many different ways.
Before the game, Celtics fans welcomed Pierce with a well-deserving thunderous cheer as the announcer called his name in the starting lineups (yes, he started). As expected, he played the first five minutes of the game before Luc Mbah a Moute took his place. During the timeout when he sat, the Celtics organization honored his legacy by playing an emotional video tribute for him, bringing tears to his eyes as well as many others in attendance and watching.
In addition, it seemed like Celtics fans were chanting his name the entire game. From chants like “play-Paul-Pierce” to “we-want-Paul” to just straight up chanting his name, Boston fans were begging for him to get back on the floor. They got their way at the end of the game, as he replaced a worn out Griffin just after the game slipped from the Clippers fingertips.
Probably the only good thing that came from this game– Pierce hit a three pointer during the closing seconds of his last game in Boston.