Time: 06:00 P.M. EST Venue: TD Garden
Reaching the playoffs was almost always a foregone conclusion for Doc Rivers when he coached the Boston Celtics, and that has continued since he left for the Los Angeles Clippers. Rivers' successor, Brad Stevens, is trying to make his own postseason plans for the Celtics, who continue their push Sunday against a playoff-bound Clippers squad seeking another easy win to cap a three-game trip. Rivers had a successful nine-season stint with Boston (32-40), highlighted by his 2008 NBA title and 2010 conference championship among seven playoff appearances. The Clippers, finally proving themselves a legitimate franchise after years of being the league's laughingstock, have made the playoffs in both seasons under Rivers after clinching a berth with a 119-98 drubbing of Philadelphia on Friday night." There are a few teams in the league who get to the playoffs and consider it a successful year," said Chris Paul, who has averaged 23.3 points and 11.3 assists during Los Angeles' six-game winning streak. "For us, we're playing for more than that. That's just how it is. I'm not trying to be ungrateful, but we're playing for a bigger purpose." The Clippers (48-25) are currently fifth in the West, but they lead Northwest-leading Portland for home-court advantage in the first round. DeAndre Jordan needed less than 28 minutes to total 17 points and 20 rebounds versus the 76ers - his league-leading 11th game with at least 20 boards. In fact, this has been a rather stress-free trip for Los Angeles - no starter logged 30 minutes in either lopsided win over New York and Philadelphia. The team has averaged 110.8 points on 50.8 percent shooting with 28.0 assists during its run of six straight wins." I think our guys are really executing and moving the ball well, and that's good going forward," Rivers told the team's official website. The Celtics are in a five-team fight for the final two spots in the East and currently occupy the eighth slot by one-half game over Brooklyn. Stevens' team grinded out a 96-92 win at New York on Friday night as Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder combined for 35 points off the bench." Any win from here on out we need, so we didn't care if it was pretty or good," said Crowder, who has averaged 14.0 points in the last eight games - nearly double his season mark of 7.4. "We just wanted the win at the end of the day." Though Thomas is shooting 39.8 percent from the field in 12 games since being acquired from Phoenix, he is proficient at getting to the foul line. Thomas was 8 of 9 on Friday and has made 73 of 86 (84.9 percent) with the Celtics. Another key for the Celtics could be stopping the Clippers in transition. Boston is third in the league in fast-break points allowed at 11.2 per game, while Los Angeles has averaged 19.7 points on the break - well above its season mark of 14.2 - in its six-game run. The Celtics are 7-19 when allowing 13 or more fast-break points. Rivers has won all three games against the Celtics since switching coasts, including a 102-93 victory Jan. 19. Blake Griffin had 22 points and Jordan added 19 and 12 rebounds as Los Angeles never trailed.
J. J. Redick scored 27 points, Chris Paul had 21 points and 10 assists, and the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Boston Celtics 119-106 on Sunday for their seventh consecutive win. Blake Griffin had 21 points and nine rebounds for Los Angeles, which jumped out to a 68-47 halftime lead. DeAndre Jordan had 15 points and 14 rebounds, and Matt Barnes scored 18 points. Boston dropped a half-game behind Brooklyn for the Eastern Conference's eighth and final playoff spot. The Nets beat the Los Angeles Lakers earlier Sunday. Isaiah Thomas led the Celtics with 19 points. Tyler Zeller had 16, Kelly Olynyk finished with 14 and Brandon Bass scored 13. Los Angeles pushed its advantage to 35 points midway into the third quarter. Boston made a late charge, closing to 111-100 on Gigi Datome's 3-pointer with 4 minutes to play, but the Clippers responded with five straight points. Los Angeles got off to a fast start, with Redick and Barnes connecting from long range on its first two possessions. The second half had a similar start, with Barnes and Redick each making a 3 to help spark a 14-4 run that pushed the Clippers' lead to 82-51. Los Angeles led 105-79 after three. At that point, most of the crowd seemed bored and some were chanting for former Celtic Brian Scalabrine, now one of the team's TV analysts. A number of fans started heading for the exits during a timeout with just under 9 minutes to play. The game was delayed for about five minutes late in the fourth quarter when a fan needed medical attention near the Clippers' bench and was attended to by a Celtics team physician. TIP-INSClippers: Los Angeles was perfect on a three-game East Coast swing, winning by an average margin of 21.7 points. ... Former Boston coach Doc Rivers improved to 4-0 against the Celtics since joining the Clippers. ... Jordan was 3 for 15 from the free-throw line, including six straight misses when Boston kept fouling him intentionally. Celtics: Coach Brad Stevens was impressed with how Los Angeles was playing. ''If you don't match (intensity) you get blown out and they're capable of blowing anybody out anyway,'' he said before the game. ''I hadn't watched the Clippers much until this week. I think they're on a level with the elite. These guys are playing really well.'' UP NEXTClippers: Host Golden State on Tuesday. Celtics: At Charlotte on Monday.
PICK WRITE-UP: i wouldve liked to get it while line was 4.5 but bet it before it moves. lac have won there last 6 by 7pts or more.37 of 48 wins by 6 pts or more.
bos 1-9 vs top 5 teams
13-2 vs western playoff teams.
bos is fighting for playoff spot at home but lac has played well since blake returned. look for 1st half bet as well
PICK WRITE-UP: just like houston. lac are the much better team with too many weapons. i like jj to come out hitting the first qtr. bos is hungry and at home but lac covers this game 90% if they jus try. look for 2nd half bets in all games including mich st game