Coming into the last game before the All Star break, the Celtics would love to finish on a win. Especially coming off a tough loss a few nights ago to Houston. Missing Jaylen Brown will make this one even harder. However, the reigning Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers will look for a win.
Through the first half, the game was air tight. The Celtics were holding the slight edge at the break with a 60-58 lead. Kawhi Leonard and Montrezl Harrell led the way for the Clippers. Meanwhile, Jayson Tatum and Kemba Walker carried the load for the Celtics.
The second half proved to be much of the same. Both teams struggled to pull away from each other. Paul George would end up missing the second half due to a left hamstring strain. Louis Williams would step up in place of the star forward. He made clutch shot, after shot to keep the Clippers close. However, with sheer willpower from Jayson Tatum, the Celtics would not let this game slip away. Tatum had a filthy dunk on Montrezl Harrell. Afterward, he would hit a clutch stepback three to end the quarter giving the Celtics the 91-87 lead.
THROW IT DOWN JT!!! pic.twitter.com/xnR2SQx6aW
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) February 14, 2020
Lou Will and Tatum would continue to battle throughout the fourth. Lou scoring 15, while Tatum led the Celtics with 7 in the quarter. However, this quarter would not be enough to finish this gam. Not even single overtime was enough.
In the first OT, a huge domino would fall early as Daniel Theis would foul out early. Enes Kanter came in to replace him, however Kanter came up limping after a few plays. Grant Williams was now the only viable option at center, and he would play the rest of the way for the C’s. The Clippers immediately targeted Williams on the high pick and roll, leading to some easy scores for Louis Will. Tatum was unphased though, as he would come up with a huge post move finish and a layup. However, Landry Shamet came through for the Clippers with a huge three to put us at 127-127 as we went onto a second OT.
Luckily for us east coast viewers, this overtime would be the last as the Celtics proved to be too much for the Clippers at the end of this one. The Celtics would outscore the opposition 14-6 in the second OT, sending the fans home happy and the Celtics to the All Star Break with a win. The Celtics now sit at 38-16, third in the Eastern Conference.
This win would not have been possible if it were not for the superstar level of play exhibited by Jayson Tatum. He is an all-star this year for a reason and he proved it again tonight in the late stages of the game. Tatum would outscore reigning Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard 17-5 in the fourth quarter and overtime. And what was even more impressive was Tatum matched up defensively with Kawhi, and made every shot tough to convert. It is time to stop calling Tatum a star in the making and admit that he is a superstar right now.
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*Featured image courtesy of LA Times*