Let’s get this out of the way at the outset: The Clippers are good. Really good. Horrifyingly, frustratingly, soul-crushingly good. The Celtics, at the moment, are ok. Not bad, not great, probably not even good, just very .500. So it shouldn’t be a huge surprise that the Clippers blew Boston out of Staples Center Thursday night.
But that didn’t make it any easier to watch. The Celtics were spiritually crushed by the end of the third quarter. Every time Boston surged a little, the Clippers picked them up like Bane picked up Batman, held the C’s over their heads, and snapped their backs. By the fourth quarter, those of us who were still inexplicably watching were in Bane’s hellish prison with broken vertebrae witnessing Bane’s bid to blow up Gotham moving forward like a gigantic, runaway metaphor. It was graphic, disturbing and extremely painful.
I don’t feel like preambling anymore (I feel like curling up and crying myself to sleep), so here are my bullet points.
- I’m going to try to pack as many bullet points in as I can, since it always seems like the go-to depressed NBA blogger shtick to say “I’m going to put as much effort into this recap as the (insert underachieving team here) put forward tonight.” (Of note: I’ve done this multiple times.)
- In the second quarter, the Celtics actually got the lead down to four, trailing 32-28 with 10:36 remaining. Literally one minute later, the Celtics trailed by 12 after baskets from Bledsoe, Odom, Crawford (twice). The furthest of these baskets came from eight feet away. Boston, already one of the worst defensive teams in transition, was in for a loooooooooong night.
- One game removed from his vengeful destruction of the Brooklyn Nets, Rajon Rondo submitted one of his worst performances of the season. He looked uncomfortable and tentative after missing a couple of shots early, and finished with 10 points, six assists and five rebounds, and was -24 while he was on the court. He also shot 4-12 from the field, although several of his shot attempts were close to the basket and bounced out.
- Jared Sullinger gets some of the worst foul calls. I honestly can’t tell if I’m just so used to seeing rookie calls go against opponents because the C’s have been a veteran team for so long, but Sully got wrapped up by Blake Griffin several times and got whistled for a foul every single one. That being said, the Clippers didn’t need any extra calls to blow out the Celtics tonight, which is probably why the calls themselves were all the more infuriating.
- Matt Barnes was 5-9 from 3-point range. First of all, COME ON. Second, it felt more like 25-25.
- The Celtics lost by 29 to the Clips on a night when Chris Paul shot 3-11 from the field for eight points. Let that sink in for a while (To be fair, he also had 11 assists).
- Blake Griffin has a post-up game now. This is neither as terrifying nor as unexpected as Kevin Durant’s newfound back-to-the-basket success, but it’s a development that Griffin desperately needed in order to avoid becoming a one-trick pony.
- The TNT broadcast crew pointed out that the Clippers biggest win of the season so far was 35 over the Sacramento Kings, which means we are, by my calculations, six points better than Sacramento. So. Party in the USA.
- The Jason Collins starting experiment: No points, 1 rebound (ugh), no other stats, got beat once (that I saw) on a post move by DeAndre Jordan. Not a good night for the Collins camp.
- The team rebounding stats were, for once, not atrocious (the Clippers won the boards 44-40, 10-7 offensive). What WAS atrocious: 18 turnovers by the C’s as opposed to 8 by Los Angeles.
- Do you feel like reading any more? No? I don’t blame you. That’ll do.
I’m sure there are parts of the carnage that I missed, so have at it in the comments.
Follow Tom on Twitter where he is growing increasingly fatalistic: @Tom_NBA.