Celtics finish dropping streak with win over Clippers

POINTS IN THE PAINT Jaylen Brown drives to the hoop against Blake Griffin during the Celtics’ win against the Clippers last night in Los Angeles

It will be interesting to see which of LeBron James or Stephen Curry select Irving to be on their team first. He's thriving without Gordon Hayward and displays no issues with carrying a team on that side of the ball. Smart found himself with the ball in his hands in the closing moments against the Lakers, attempting a game-winning bucket which fell short.

The Lakers thought they did nothing spectacularly, but everything well - particularly on the defensive end, where they forced 17 turnovers. Boston was without Horford and Guerschon Yabusele was still with the Maine Red Claws, leaving Boston with just four active bigs against a team featuring DeAndre Jordan, Blake Griffin and Montrezl Harrell.

"Defence. That was the only message at halftime", Lakers coach Luke Walton said.

"It was good that we battled the way we did".

Nonetheless, patience is coming to an end for one of the greatest franchises in competitive sports, and they're keen to enter win-now mode after making a run at some top-notch free agents after the end of this campaign. They had seven second-chance points in the first period and were expressing interest in dealing with the Clippers' physicality. "We talked about things that we can just get better at as a group".

Michael Beasley scored 21 points and Courtney Lee contributed 20 as NY lost for the third time in four games and sixth in eight.

Despite a solid shooting game, the Knicks couldn't answer the aggressive transition game favoured by the Lakers, who put up their highest-scoring performance in two weeks.

Setting the tone with a 10-1 in the second quarter, the Green's surge really seemed to come on the back of their bench, which contributed 15 points by halftime, and finished the night with 39 points thanks to their 7-for-16 mark from behind the arc. Getting offensive rebounds and blocking out.

"Just overall they've had an unbelievable year".

"I'm trying to think about the right thing to say before it gets misconstrued".

Clarkson followed up his 33-point performance Friday against IN with another high-energy effort. That being said, Irving is the best finisher at the rim in the entire league, and expanding that part of his game is a much easier way for Tatum to break out of this mini slump.

"I have confidence that those guys that missed them tonight will make them in the future", Walton said after the game (ESPN). The rookie point guard also missed six games around the holidays with a sprained left shoulder. Not wanting to put him on Kyrie Irving, the Clippers made a decision to assign Teodosic to the 6-foor-8 Tatum instead.

Caruso is on a two-way contract that allows him only 45 days with the Lakers, and he's keeping track of his time in the Notes app on his phone. He was a vital playmaker in this win who also dropped 15 points en route to a game-high outlier at +19, almost double the next closest player in Daniel Theis at +10.

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