The Celtics and Clippers seem to always have lively, competitive games that come down to the final moments, and last night was no exception. Here are some takeaways from Boston’s 117-112 victory.
Theis is having a really good year so it’s not like Time Lord is going to be the definitive closing guy, but Stevens is going to have to keep rotating lineups to have the option to play Williams the entire stretch run most nights. He’s cleaned up a lot of mistakes and is a force.
— Jared Weiss (@JaredWeissNBA) March 3, 2021
Rob Williams’ playing time has increased recently, and it’s a welcomed sight. Last night, Rob played 21:41 (almost a season-high) and produced 13 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 blocks. More than that, the Timelord was a presence on the court, delivering loud rejections, smart passes and multiple highlight-film dunks (one of his lob finishes was No. 2 on the NBA’s Top 10 Plays). Rob was so impressive that he was on the court for 10:05 of the fourth quarter, which may have never happened before.
When Rob was drafted in 2018, he was viewed as a potential Clint Capela-style rim runner, and that’s exactly what he’s exhibiting now. Somehow, some way, Brad Stevens must figure out how to get Timelord at least 20-22 minutes per night. He’s a force who – similar to Marcus Smart – possesses unique skills that no other Celtic can match. The more experience Rob gets now, the more useful he’ll be in the postseason.
Not to mention, watching him soar is fun as hell.
While Timelord got everyone’s attention, fellow bigs Daniel Theis and Tristan Thompson were both solid. Theis had just 9 points and 6 boards, but after he was fouled intentionally with 10.2 seconds left, calmly drained both free throws to give the Cs a secure 4-point lead.
Thompson was making his short jump hooks, shooting 6 of 10 for 13 points. He added 9 rebounds, 5 of them on the offensive end. I swear he kicked the ball out to an open shooter at least one of those times.
Jays did just enough
After winning his magnificent duel with Bradley Beal on Sunday, Jayson Tatum was well below average with just 14 points on 5 of 16 shooting. However, Tatum broke the game open with a personal 7-point eruption. With 6:10 remaining, JT made two free throws, got wide open for his only three-point make of the night, then drove for a reverse layup. That burst took Boston from a four-point lead to 11 with 4:04 remaining. The Clips never recovered.
Jaylen Brown was scorching to open the game, shooting 6 of 8 for 14 points in the first quarter. He played all 12 minutes and looked great after resting his knee last game. The rest of the way, though, he was just 2 of 6 for 4 more points. For whatever reason, he stopped being aggressive.
Maybe both of them are worn out, but they won’t get much rest over the break. Both are in the three-point contest before playing in the All-Star Game on Saturday.
Little men 3s
Kemba Walker and Payton Pritchard combined to hit 10 of 19 from downtown. Kemba’s 25 points canceled out 25 from Reggie Jackson (who stepped up when Kawhi Leonard couldn’t play) and FastPP’s 14 points covered Lou Williams’ 12. Some of the rookie’s triples were from waaay behind the arc.
It was the first time in eight games that Pritchard went for double figures. As for Kemba, he’s scored 21, 32, 21 and 25 in his last four outings.
Replay still can’t get it right
Replay reviews rules are so flawed, but the NBA doesn’t appear to care. With 1:33 remaining and Boston ahead, 113-109, a foul was called on Tatum’s layup attempt. The whistle was a bit late, and while it was being blown, Rob grabbed the rebound and made his putback. That didn’t count because of the foul, but then LA successfully challenged the foul call.
Did the putback then count? No. Did the Celtics get the ball back because Rob had possession when the whistle blew? Again, no. The ruling was jump ball.
Fortunately, Timelord won the crucial tip and the Celtics, after an offensive rebound, were able to run 35 seconds off the clock before LA got the ball back. Disaster averted, but what good is a system that penalizes a team that did nothing wrong?
Celtics punished for the refs making a bad call in their favor.
— John (@PainDidntHurt) March 3, 2021