LOS ANGELES — Clippers big man DeAndre Jordan returned to the starting lineup after a two-week absence, but the LA Clippers came up short against the Boston Celtics as a night full of turnovers led to a nine-point loss to a team playing on a second night of a road back-to-back. Jordan finished with 15 points and 14 rebounds for his 26th double-double of the season; he had missed the last five games with a sprained left ankle.
“I thought we came to play, I thought our guys for the first time in a while got a little disbanded by their ball movement and attack,” head coach Doc Rivers said when asked about the difficulties of stopping Boston. “[The Celtics] have so many athletes, it’s not even just players, and they really like targeting some of our guys with footspeed. Offensively we were average tonight, but listen, give them credit, you knew how they were going to come out after losing last night, and they did that.”
The Clippers struggled on the offensive end for the majority of the game, finishing with 19 turnovers that led to 19 points for the Celtics. Jordan and Lou Williams finished with four turnovers each, and Montrezl Harrell added three of his own.
“We tried to do the best that we could on Lou [Williams],” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said of his team’s defense. “Blake [Griffin] obviously was a huge concern coming in without Al [Horford]. Marcus [Morris] got that quick foul so we changed [Aron] Baynes onto him and I thought that Baynes did a pretty good job on him. Then on Lou,we were just trying to be as up on him as possible. We lost him twice at the start of the fourth quarter, which were mistakes,but for the most part we were pretty locked in on him.”
Just as glaring as the 19 turnovers was the sub-24 percent shooting from beyond the arc the Clippers. They made only 23.8 percent of their three-point shots, as Williams and Griffin both shot just one-of-seven. Milos Teodosic missed all three of his three-point attempts.
“The key is not getting behind, but it’s hard playing against a team full of athletes with all of our injuries,” Rivers said. “I thought we could have played better, defensively we didn’t do a lot of things I would’ve liked us to do, but it still would’ve been hard.”
The Clippers are now in the ninth spot in the Western Conference, one game behind the Denver Nuggets for the eighth spot and 2.5 games behind the Portland Trail Blazers for seventh.
Williams finished 20 points, having scored 20-plus points off the bench in 10 straight games, the longest streak among active players.
“We just didn’t play well in this one, just got our ass kicked tonight,” Williams said. “It happens, it’s an 82-game season, and it happens every once in a while.”