It might have been J.J. Redick that once made the counterpoint that a good defense starts with a great offense. The claim is that when the ball goes through the net, it allows the team to run back and set themselves on the defensive end while the opponent takes the ball out from under the basket.
If that is the theory, then tonight’s game was one which put that theory to the test.
Starting with Marreese Speights’ putback at the 4:07 mark of the third quarter, the Los Angeles Clippers would go on to score on 21 of their final 25 attempts. It wasn’t just that they outscored the Boston Celtics 63-35 to finish the game, but how they did it: finding the open man rolling towards the basket, making timely outside shots, and limiting the opposition to one possession on each trip down the court.
During 31-point turnaround during #BOSvsLAC, there were 14 rebounds available.
The Clippers grabbed 12 of them.
— Law Murray ℹ (@LawMurrayTheNU) March 7, 2017
X-Factor: While it was Chris Paul that kept the game close in the first half, Jamal Crawford’s incendiary shooting that proved to be the proverbial spark to the Clippers hot finish to the game. 17 of his 19 total points were scored within the last 14 minutes of the contest, with the last four coming on the 50th 4-point play of his career.
Major Moment: Rising up from the wing, Jamal Crawford sank his first three-pointer of the game to cut the Celtics’ lead to just 4. Seconds later, he’d find himself in the passing lane to swipe an errant James Young pass, starting a fast break that ended seconds later with another three, this time from the corner. Not to be outdone, he’d come running down the court on a two-for-one attempt two possessions later to nail a deep three at the top of the break, finishing the quarter scoring 9 points in just 1:09 of game time while setting the Staples Center crowd ablaze.
Key Lineup: DeAndre Jordan was called on to anchor the second unit tonight in the place of Marreese Speights, and together, they pushed a fourth-quarter lead from 1 point to 17. The lineup would finish with a ridiculous net rating of 73.3, aided not only by the offense, but also because they grabbed 100% of all available defensive rebounds in the time they shared the floor.
41-14 run. 😎 pic.twitter.com/28ED9hsEAG
— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) March 7, 2017
The Definition: Doc Rivers has been criticized often for his rotation patterns, as he often pushes out a five-man second unit rather than staggering the lineups so that the Clippers have at least one of their best players on the floor at all times. And yet, the substitutions made in the second half of tonight’s game were vital to LA’s best win since the All-Star break.
Early calls to Marreese Speights and Jamal Crawford facilitated the scorers at the front lines of their third quarter rally. Playing Jordan alongside the bench also helped put the game out of the Celtics’ reach. It helps that the bench played as well as they did tonight, but if Doc deserves the criticism for his rotations on other nights, he also deserves the credit for how he handled the rotation on this one.