01:0501:24The Boston Celtics mostly stood pat at the trade deadline, content to keep their core intact and fight for Eastern Conference supremacy while waiting for the opportunity to trade for Anthony Davis this summer. The L.A. Clippers, on the other hand, were one of trade season’s most aggressive teams, dealing Tobias Harris and Boban Marjanovic to the Philadelphia 76ers, trading Avery Bradley to the Memphis Grizzlies, and releasing Marcin Gortat in a series of win-later moves made to maximize the team’s flexibility – perhaps keep its lottery-protected first-round pick come June.
Given their wildly disparate approaches to the deadline, it was fair to suspect the Celtics would rout the Clippers at T.D. Garden on Saturday night. And for a half, that expectation was a reality, as Boston used a 43-20 first quarter to take a 21-point lead into halftime. Game over, right? No way. Doc Rivers’ squad stormed out of intermission, cutting the Celtics’ lead to five points heading into the fourth quarter, then outscored the home team 42-26 in the final stanza to win going away.
How did the Boston faithful respond to such a dispiriting 123-112 loss? By leaving early and booing at the final buzzer, of course.
A lot of boos (and empty seats) in the arena as the final buzzer sounds. The Celtics fall 123-112 to the Clippers pic.twitter.com/bonk8ATpUl
— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) February 10, 2019
Los Angeles shot a scorching 54.8 from the field in the second half, including 9-of-17 from beyond the arc. The Celtics, meanwhile, made an ugly 34.1 percent of their shots after halftime, went 2-of-14 from three, and, surely most frustrating to Brad Stevens, turned the ball over 11 times.
There are no easy wins in the NBA, but especially against the Clippers on a night they no doubt felt even more under-appreciated than normal. Someone should remind Boston next time.