After a blowout loss to the Boston Celtics on their home court back in December, the Clippers flipped the script at TD Garden Saturday.
Five Clippers scored in double digits in the team’s blowout win over Boston while handing the Celtics their most lopsided home loss of the season. The Clippers road win is just the second home loss for Boston after starting the season 20-0 at TD Garden.
According to Clippers shooting guard James Harden, it was the Clippers best defensive performance this season.
“Against a team that was playing really, really well,” Harden said. “Especially at home. … We still got some ways to go, but this is a good test for us.”
Turning point: The Clippers led 55-39 at halftime after holding Boston to a first half season-low 29.4% field goal percentage. Kawhi Leonard only attempted one shot late in the second quarter. In that same period, Paul George, Harden and Russell Westbrook combined to make only 3-of-13 field goals.
The Clippers came out of halftime with all of the momentum on their side. They spurted on a 21-0 run in the third quarter for their second time in the past seven days. Leonard and George outscored the Celtics 24-21 in the third.
The team held a 35-point lead in the fourth over Boston before shutting out the Celtics, 115-96.
What it means: The Clippers are 27-7 since starting the season 3-7, an NBA best since Nov. 17. They reached 30 wins Saturday to end Week 14 as the 3rd seed (30-14) spot in the Western Conference standings.
In their last five games, LA has defeated both the Celtics (35-11) and Oklahoma City Thunder (32-13), who also hold the two best records.
Hits: Kawhi Leonard was the difference maker for LA on Saturday. He made 10-of-15 shots for 26 points in 29 minutes.
In two nights of a back-to-back, Leonard collected three steals, four blocks, one personal foul, and no fourth quarter minutes total.
Misses: In terms of three-point shooting, neither team excelled in the column. Both the Celtics and the Clippers missed 30 of 40 threes Saturday.
Stat of the game: Despite missing their starting center in Ivica Zubac, the Clippers had a 64-48 advantage in the paint over Boston.
According to NBA reporter Justin Russo, Saturday marks the third-straight game the Clippers have had 60+ points in the paint. They posted 68 against the Lakers on Tuesday and 70 against the Raptors on Friday.
Up next: The Clippers enter next week with three more road games scheduled. The Cleveland Cavaliers are their first stop on Jan. 29, followed by the Washington Wizards Jan. 31 and finally the Detroit Pistons Feb. 2. The team returns to Los Angeles Feb. 7 for a bout with the New Orleans Pelicans.