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Your Morning Dump… Where the word of the day in LA is: Relief (unless you’re Brad)

Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big story line. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.

 

Last night the Celts quickly turned a seven-point halftime team into 13 with a Tatum drive and two Baynes inside buckets. But the Clippers began getting the ball to Griffin more, and soon the gap was closed to three.

Then the C’s hit the accelerator.

Rozier had seven points as the guests outscored the Clips, 17-6, over the quarter’s last four and a half minutes. Jaylen Brown started the party with a dunk, and Rozier finished it with a trey.

Theis and Ojeleye hit 3-pointers in the last period as the Celts finished off the Clippers and brought relief to Greenhearts, for a loss would have dropped the lads to second in the Eastern Conference behind Toronto.

“First of all, I don’t believe in exhaling,” said Stevens, “because I think once you exhale, you take your foot off the gas. It’s a bad deal. Secondly, I think we can keep it in perspective, this is a basketball game. It’s a hard league. You’re going to have your ups and downs, it’s a marathon.

“We were really fortunate to win 16 games in a row earlier this year, and we could have lost about 11 of them. So sometimes things go your way, sometimes they don’t.”

Boston Herald — Celtics end losing streak with win over Clippers

When the Celtics season fundamentally changed just a few minutes into opening night in Cleveland, so too did outside expectations. Without Gordon Hayward was this a 53-win team like last year? a 45 win team? A .500 team? Worse? No one really knew because of the abundance of new, young and even unknown players on the rest of the roster. So even after the 16-game winning streak and some crazy comeback wins against the likes of Houston and Philly while in London, you can excuse Celtics’ fans and even radio talking-heads for approaching this recent 4-game skid with an extra dose of trepidation. Are these the real Celtics? The ones that can’t find offense without Hayward and rely way too much on Kyrie?

Last night, the Celtics quelled some of those fears by doing what they’ve done throughout much of the season– stepping up and responding to adversity in key moments. No Al Horford. No Marcus Smart. That sense of panic, those creeping doubts? It’s clear that Stevens doesn’t ever let those enter his brain, and that trickles down to his team.

The Cs have Golden State in primetime next, and you know the Warriors want to exact a little revenge after losing in Boston early in the season. But whether or not the Cs fall on Saturday, this Clippers’ win was huge and reassuring.

Related links: CSNNE — Celtics snap 4-game losing streak with victory over Clippers

On page 2, The Cs had a drama-free team meeting

Kyrie Irving paused for a moment, trying to figure out how to explain a recent Boston Celtics’ team meeting. The star point guard has seen the overreactions elsewhere, how teams can be perceived to have “drama” once the media learns players gathered to collectively try solving issues. 

“When you’re hitting a lull of losing games you can tend to go your own direction and try to figure it out on your own,” said Irving, who registered 20 points, eight rebounds and seven assists against the Clippers. “For us, we have great leadership at the top with (head coach) Brad (Stevens), and he echoes a message to us leaders on the team, and then we go out there and try to maximize that opportunity of getting better every single day. And I think that we did a great job of just putting everything out on the table. And it’s just about being professional and going out there and executing.”

Asked about the message, Rozier said, “Just group things.”

Mass Live — Kyrie Irving: Team meeting helped Boston Celtics put everything on the table

First off, I’m giving Terry Rozier a bad edit here– he definitely say more in his answer to what the meeting covered than “just group things” but I just think that initial answer is perfect, almost Belichick-ian. Next time I go out with my buddies and my wife asked what we talked about, I’m definitely going to respond with “Just group things.” Working on a project at work with a small team and my boss asks me what progress was made? “Just group things.”

As for the meeting, I don’t know what went on outside of “group things.” Hard to say if there was finger pointing, a-la the Cavs meeting, or total dysfunction, a-la the Wizards meeting, but knowing this group and this coach, I’d say that’s doubtful. But there’s naturally a stigma around team meetings because they invariably occur when things are not going as well as hoped.

It’s a long season and the Celtics walked into that meeting as a 34-13 team. I’m assuming this meeting served as something of a reset– a chance to get back to the roots of what has made this team so successful. It didn’t pay immediate dividends, as the Cs lost to the Lakers the following night, but the news of a team-meeting with this crew shouldn’t signal turmoil.

Related links: ESPN — Boston Celtics players say team meeting before win over LA Clippers helped team get back on course

And finally, watch Gordon Hayward put up shots!