☘️ “Whew” ☘️ – Celts 113, Clippers 102 – Bench “looking up”

Clippers Celtics January 24 Semi Ojele

Boston fans breathed a sigh of relief on Wednesday not heard since Tom Brady proved able to pick up a football, as the Celtics topped the Clippers 113-102 at Staples.

The victory stopped a schedule-assisted winless streak at approximately 13 days, 14 hours, and 20 minutes.

(The Celtic last won in London on January 11. Though it was followed by several days off, Boston lost an additional four straight following the quasi-“bye” week.)

Kyrie Irving led the way with 20 points on just 16 shot attempts accompanied by 7 assists. Jayson Tatum broke out of a several-games shooting slump against the Clippers to add 18.

Theis, Rozier, & the Magnificent Benchmen

But a revived Celtic bench provided the real story. Terry Rozier scored 15 points and notched two steals. Daniel Theis scored 8 on just four field-goal attempts, and added 8 rebounds. The pair led the Celtics in +/- for the night, Theis with +10, Rozier with a gaudy +19.

(Five Celtics starters combined for a +16 against the Clippers).

This included an exclamation-point dunk by Aron Baynes (see highlights below.)

The return of Celtic hustle

The Celtics enjoyed a 16-9 advantage over the Clippers in the Celtics247 unofficial “hustle play” stat, a fact that helped make the difference.

(On average, hustle plays generate 1.2 offensive points and prevent 1.0 defensive points per possession, or +2.2. Points actually generated depend on the type of hustle play and where it occurs.)

This was a marked turnaround from four recent losses in which the Celtics were out-hustled by a combined 81-62.

“It’s a make or miss league,” as Doc Rivers likes to say. In fact, however, the Clippers out-shot the Celtics from the floor, 44 percent to 42 percent.

The Celtics took 93 shots compared to 79 for the Clippers. This proved to be as big a factor as “who got hot.” (See highlights in image below. Right-click for larger view.)

Box score markup “keys to the game”

Clippers Celtics Box score January 24, 2018— Rebounding: slight 47-40 Celtics edge, an improvement over 4-game slump.

— Bench plus-minus (green highlight).

— Points in paint: huge Clippers halftime edge of 32-10 at halftime, but Celtics correct and take second half 18-16.

— Excellent defense by Brown and Scary Terry holds Lou Williams to 6-for-18 shooting.

— Balanced minutes distribution — despite the absence of both Al Horford and Marcus Smart, Celtics starters averaged less than 30 minutes apiece.

More Celtics highlights

Aron Baynes brings All of Australia to the rim:

Kyrie lookoff pass to Jalen… to dunk:

Kyrie splits the defense:

Morris defense leads to offense:

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Celtics247 staff

Celtics247 staff

Celtics247 staff is composed of fans, journalists, disbarred attorneys, people laid off by ESPN, and other disreputable types who spend too much time watching basketball -- and loving it. If you'd like to join our merry band, you can post a comment, tweet us at @Celts247, or email us (see the contact page.) The only requirement is that you bleed green.

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