The February 7 Trade Deadline came and went and, via multiple transactions, the Los Angeles Clippers took the opportunity to give their roster a facelift. In a span of 48 hours, Los Angeles shipped out Tobias Harris, Boban Marjanovic, Mike Scott and Mike Muscala and added Landry Shamet from the Philadelphia 76ers, Garret Temple and JaMychal Green from the Memphis Grizzlies and Ivica Zubac from the Los Angeles Lakers.
And, with just one day of practice before suiting up, the new-look Clippers played as if it was their first time on an NBA parquet early on against the Boston Celtics.
The Clippers looked lost in the first half. Down by as much as 28 at times, they just couldn’t get anything going on either side of the ball; Los Angeles shot just 40.5 percent from the field (23.1 percent from three) in the first half and allowed Boston to net their highest-scoring half this season with 74 points in the first two quarters.
The second half was a bit different.
The Clippers threw their biggest punch of the night, a 28-12 run spearheaded by some ferocious defense, and brought the game within single digits before taking a lead into the waning moments of the fourth quarter. After some big shots from Shamet and with no late-game heroics from Kyrie Irving, who left late in the second quarter with a knee injury, the Clippers outscored the Celtics 70-38 in the second half and walked out of TD Garden with a 123-112 victory.
This was the Clippers second victory this season where they trailed 25 points or more. Meanwhile, this is the second consecutive loss by the Celtics after they led by 20 or more points. Montrezl Harrell led all scorers with 21 points, while Zubac pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds. Eight Clippers scored 11 or more points.
So, how did the Clippers turn things around? They turned up the defensive intensity.
The Celtics had their way in the first half, shooting 50 percent from the floor and 58.3 percent from three. Los Angeles turned them on their heads in the second half; the Celtics went 15-44 from the field; they shot 2-14 from deep; and they turned the ball over 11 times in the final 24 minutes.
The bench also found their way in the fourth quarter. At the end of the third, Harrell, Shamet and Lou Williams had combined for just 28 points. They sparked in the fourth quarter, however, and nearly matched that with 27 points in the final frame. Shamet alone had 13 in the quarter on 4-5 shooting from three with a four-point play.
Going forward, expect Shamet to get much more run off the bench. Rookie Jerome Robinson had seen much more court-time as of late, an unusual occurrence for a Doc Rivers team, but saw just over seven minutes as Shamet shined. If he can maintain the effort he put forth against the Celtics, expect him to eat the remainder of the limited minutes split between Robinson, Sindarius Thornwell and Tyrone Wallace, or even push Temple for a spot with the starters. Expect the rest of the Clippers fresh faces to better acclimate themselves as they roll into the All-Star break as well.