EditorsNote: rewords lede
The Clippers and Celtics put on All Star-caliber performances in their final game before the break Wednesday night as Los Angeles beat host Boston 129-119 in a thriller.
DeAndre Jordan tallied a career-high 30 points with 13 rebounds and four steals, Tobias Harris scored 21 points and Danilo Gallinari added 20 to lead Los Angeles to the victory.
“(My teammates) were just finding the hot hand tonight,” a smiling Jordan told ESPN after his career night. “We’ve got so many guys who draw a lot of attention, and I was able to roll and kind of make the defense pick whether they give up shots or rolls, and my teammates did a really good job of finding me tonight.”
Of the eight Clippers who scored, all but one finished in double figures. Lou Williams scored 19 points off the bench and ex-Celtic Avery Bradley, Austin Rivers and Milos Teodosic each added 10 for Los Angeles.
Kyrie Irving had a game-high 33 points and eight assists to pace the Celtics. Al Horford had 20 points, Terry Rozier and Marcus Morris each contributed 13 and Jaylen Brown added 12 in the losing effort.
Los Angeles enters the All-Star break having won 13 of its last 18 games despite trading away franchise cornerstone Blake Griffin to Detroit during that stretch.
Boston has dropped four of five entering the break.
Jordan went 8 of 9 from the free-throw line, with a number of those shots coming down the stretch in the clutch.
“My teammates have a lot of confidence in me (at the line),” Jordan said. “Just doing the same routine and taking my time and just being patient.”
At one point, Jordan exchanged words with Celtics coach Brad Stevens, who implemented the hack-a-Jordan strategy, with Stevens telling Jordan he was playing the numbers game.
“I think he’s a smart guy. So I was like, ‘Hey, I’m 3-for-4 — that’s 75 percent, that’s pretty good,” Jordan said he told Stevens.
The Celtics were outscored 36-28 in the final period.
A back-and-forth third quarter featuring six ties and 12 lead changes produced a 93-91 lead for the Clippers. Irving had 15 points in the period and 29 through three.
The Clippers led by as many as 14 in the first half before the Celtics pulled within 61-57 at halftime.
Boston won 113-102 when the teams first met Jan. 24 in Los Angeles.
As part of ESPN’s “The Crossover” special, legendary college basketball commentator Dick Vitale was part of the network’s broadcast team for the game.
—Field Level Media