BOSTON The way the Boston Celtics are scoring right now, they may want to try bottling a little of it before they leave for the All-Star break.
Whatever it is, it has the Celtics looking like a probable playoff team heading into the second half of the season.
Isaiah Thomas had 36 points and 11 assists, including a fade away jumper that sent the game to an extra period, to help the Boston Celtics overtake the Los Angeles Clippers 139-134 in overtime on Wednesday night.
Jared Sullinger added 21 points and 11 rebounds. Jae Crowder finished with 19 points, and Avery Bradley added 18 points as the Celtics won their eighth straight at home. Boston trailed by five with just over a minute left in regulation before rallying to force the extra frame. Boston is averaging 115 points during its current win streak at the Garden.
“We play together and we make adjustments on the fly and I think that’s big,” Sullinger said. “It’s not just from (coach) Brad (Stevens), it’s not from Isaiah or ET (Evan Turner) or Jae Crowder or Avery. It’s from everybody. Everybody makes adjustments and is willing to listen.”
Though possible shakeups to the roster before the trade deadline are possible for this young team, Crowder said no one wants to see any tinkering.
“Guys in the locker room we are sticking together, we’re fighting. We stick up for one another,” Crowder said. “Everyone gets along and it’s a great energy in the locker room.”
Boston played the second half without big man Kelly Olynyk after he left late in the first half with a bruised right shoulder. But the Celtics found a way to make up for the lack of his presence inside.
Chris Paul led the Clippers with 35 points and 13 assists. J.J. Redick added 27 points and DeAndre Jordan finished with 21 points and 16 rebounds.
The loss spoiled what may be Clippers’ forward Paul Pierce’s final game in the Boston Garden. The 38-year-old played 15 seasons with the Celtics and was facing his former team for the eighth time.
The Clippers led by five late in regulation, but were held without a field goal for more than three minutes.
“I think we try to pride ourselves on our defense – so we didn’t defend. That’s probably why we lost,” Paul said.
Clippers: The Clippers did not have a field goal for the final 3:29 of regulation. … Paul had 10 points and five assists in the first quarter. It was the 37th time in his career he’s had at least 10 points and five assists in a quarter. That’s the most in NBA since 2005-06.
Celtics: Improved to 10-3 in the second game of back-to-backs.
Clippers coach Doc Rivers was informed by a member of the Clippers organization immediately after the game about the death of Ingrid Williams, wife of Oklahoma City assistant Monty Williams. The 44-year-old died Wednesday night from injuries sustained in a car crash on Tuesday. Rivers has known both side before they married, and the friendship expanded when Monty coached his son and current Clippers’ guard Austin Rivers after he was drafted by the New Orleans Pelicans. “I’m heartbroken,” said a teary-eyed Rivers. “Sometimes it doesn’t seem fair. There’s no better human being in the world than Monte and Ingrid. Sometimes you question everything, and this is one of those times.”
For all the late-game plays by the Celtics, the pregame spotlight belonged to Pierce. In his eighth game against his former team, the 38-year-old received the starting nod in what could possibly be final game in the Garden against his former team. The moment resulted in a huge ovation by the Boston fans when his name was announced. Pierce, who spent 15 seasons in Boston and won a championship in 2008, acknowledged them, raising his right hand before his teammates started playfully pounding on him.
“I think the NBA had a lot of say so in it, and so did we. And that’s the way it should work. I thought it was really well done in that light. They have more people that can investigate things than us because they do it all the time. I just thought as far as that went I thought it was really well handled by both sides.” – Rivers on the team and NBA collaborating to decide on a suspension for Blake Griffin.
Boxing legend “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler sat courtside.
Boston travels to Utah on Feb. 19.