Celtics tie season-low with 96 points, fall to Clippers 115-96 at home

The Boston Celtics fell to the Los Angeles Clippers Saturday night 115-96 at TD Garden, the team’s second home loss of the year. In total, 96 points ties a season-low for the Celtics, and although the bench helped soften the blow during garbage time, the Clippers led by as many as 36 in the second half. It was never particularly close.

Boston looked flat from the opening tip, with poor shooting and inconsistent defense dooming any shot at a Celtics win. Head coach Joe Mazzulla pulled the plug with his team down big, emptying the bench to open the fourth quarter. As a whole, Boston shot just 36-for-100 from the field, and offensive mojo was in short supply. On the other side of the action, Los Angeles scored with much greater ease.

Here’s what you may have missed from Boston’s 115-96 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers Saturday evening.

Boston offense

A hallmark of this team’s scoring punch is usually 3-point shooting. Tonight, however, the Celtics went an icy 10-for-40 from deep. Boston’s offense was clunky and ineffective as a result.

For much of the game, Boston was generating pretty good looks. They passed the ball well and got to their spots. They simply couldn’t find the bottom of the net, which made getting into gear next to impossible.

Frustration crept in by the third quarter, and turnovers slowly became an issue. By the end of the night, the Celtics had 11 giveaways. This didn’t create such a large deficit, but it stunted any chance at a comeback.

Boston's defense

The Clippers have established themselves as one of the NBA’s most formidable clubs since trading for James Harden earlier in the season, and have had the top rated offense in the league for the month of January. Like Boston, LA is loaded with current and former All-Stars, as well as a solid crop of role players.

It was a solid defensive showing from Boston for much of the game, but the Clippers’ depth and individual talent was enough to prevail. LA kept the ball moving to subvert the Celtics defense. They ended the game with 28 assists, and five Clippers scored 10 points or more.

Rebounding was another major concern for Boston. While, the Celtics were without Kristaps Porzingis, the LA’s Ivica Zubac missed the game as well. With both bigs out of the lineup, the Clippers dominated the glass. LA ended the game with 43 boards, including 15 offensive rebounds, further solidifying their position.

Looking ahead

This was a particularly ugly loss, but in the end, it’s just one game. And Boston has a chance to put this one in the rearview soon enough, as Saturday night marked the first of seven consecutive games the Celtics will play at TD Garden. This stretch is the longest homestand of the season for Boston.

After a back-to-back set early in the week, the Celtics will host LeBron James and the rival Los Angeles Lakers Thursday night. The headline of the homestand, however, will be next Sunday, when Marcus Smart makes his return to the Hub.

Listen to the “Celtics Lab” podcast on:

Apple Podcasts:



[lawrence-auto-related count=1 category=590969556]

Story originally appeared on Celtics Wire