It wasn’t always pretty — or entertaining — but the Clippers got the job done on Martin Luther King Day, beating the Boston Celtics, 102-93, at Staples Center on Monday. Here are five takeaways from the game:
1. DeAndre Jordan continued to state his case as the NBA’s most underrated center. He was dominant on both ends of the court, collecting 19 points, 12 rebounds, six blocks, two steals and an assist. He did miss three of four free throws during hack-a-Jordan time late in the game but more than made up for that with his all-around play. He made eight of nine shots from the field and continues to lead the league in field-goal percentage and rebounding.
2. Spencer Hawes showed some unexpected athleticism. He scored on a putback dunk, beating Jordan to the ball, and had one of his better games as a Clipper, finishing with nine points, five rebounds, two blocks and two assists. He also made one of three three-pointers, which raised his percentage from long distance this season.
3. The Clippers got a look at potential roster addition Tayshaun Prince. The veteran small forward didn’t play much in his first game with Boston, logging 19 minutes and scoring two points to go with two rebounds and one assist, but it gave the Clippers a glimpse into what he might be able to give them if the Celtics decide to buy out Prince’s contract. He would be a strong perimeter defender and a good locker room presence for a team already improving in the chemistry department.
4. The Clippers’ defense took a step in the right direction, holding the Celtics to 39.3% shooting and 20 points or fewer in two quarters, not to mention 93 points for the game. Those are all drastic improvements over some of the Clippers’ recent performances.
5. Austin Rivers picked up his first basket as a Clipper. It came on a twisting, one-handed layup in the second quarter. He went on to miss his other two shots and is now one for 10 in three games, but his offense wasn’t the primary reason the Clippers wanted him as Chris Paul’s backup. Rivers continued to be assertive on the defensive end and had more assists (three) than turnovers (two), providing a steady presence running the offense.