The Los Angeles Clippers revved up their defensive effort in the final minutes to defeat the Boston Celtics 107-104 in overtime. Both the Celtics and the Clippers fought hard throughout the matchup, leading to 18 lead changes and seven ties.
All Star forward Paul George made his debut starting alongside forward Kawhi Leonard. The Palmdale native scored 25 points, eight assists and five steals. George mentioned how playing with Leonard came naturally on the defensive end.
“I thought we were still trying to get in sync with everybody else,” George said. “The great thing about myself and [Leonard], it doesn’t matter, we are going to play basketball.”
Guard Lou Williams came alive in the second half and ultimately scored 27 points off the bench. Guard Patrick Beverley was fired up during the fourth quarter and throughout overtime, landing 16 rebounds, three steals and two blocks.
“I thought he literally, single-handedly willed that game with his effort, with his rebounding and making plays,” said Clippers head coach Doc Rivers. “He is from Chicago. He’s a tough kid. He was phenomenal.
Celtics forward Jayson Tatum shot at 50 percent, resulting in 30 points, center Daniel Theis made 14 rebounds.
“I’ve always looked up to [Leonard] and [George]… You don’t want to back down, you want to compete,” Tatum said. “If we would have won, it still would be a learning experience.”
It was only fitting that Kawhi Leonard and Paul George scored the first two shots, creating a 6-0 run. As the Clippers found an offensive momentum, they struggled defending Boston. Poor shooting by the Clippers demolished a seven-point lead.
Free throws and close-range buckets gave the Celtics a six-point lead. George and center Ivica Zubac made blocks to thwart the Celtics’ shots. Yet Boston secured a lead at the half although they were 1-18 from the three-point line.
At this point, the Clippers gave up 12 points from turnovers compared to the 3 points that the Celtics gave up.
The Clippers hit four threes on the Celtics in the first four minutes of the third quarter. Tatum combated against the Clippers with three-pointers of his own. His sharpshooting kept the game out of reach for Los Angeles, scoring 14 points in the third alone.
While Tatum excelled, guard Kemba Walker was stifled by the Clippers’ defense.
“We just wanted to provide him with different bodies, lay off traps,” Beverley said about defending Walker. “He’s a great player, not one person can stop a player like that.”
Forward Jaylen Brown and Walker scored a three-pointer each to create a eight-point lead. Center Montrezl Harrell and Beverley forced turnovers, Beverley and Williams got rebounds.
“He made big shots, got some steals early in that fourth quarter,” Leonard said about Beverley. “Got us some easy points.”
Tatum hit a three-pointer to tie the score at 97 with 13.1 seconds left, sending the game into overtime. George and Beverley found shots, battling against Tatum’s offensive efforts.
“We’re still figuring it out,” said forward Maurice Harkless. “We found a way tonight to make it work.”
The Clippers will battle the Houston Rockets on Thursday, November 21 at 7:30P.M.