The Boston Celtics had a huge lead on Saturday night against the Los Angeles Clippers at home. They led by as much as 28 points as they pulled away from the Clippers only to see them come roaring back after star point guard Kyrie Irving went down with what is being called a sprained knee. All of this after they had blown an 18 point lead to the Lakers in the game before. After Irving left the game, the Clippers would outscore the Celtics by a ridiculous total of 75-44 as they ran out shocking 123-112 winners on the night. The problems didn’t stop on court. Irving will have further tests to undergo on Sunday, while the team and the coach talked about the loss. Marcus Morris called it ‘unacceptable’ and Brad Stevens said Irving going down was not an excuse to blow such a lead. It was the largest such lead to be blown in two seasons and the biggest the Celtics had choked away since 2003. The Clippers were paced by Montrezl Harrell, who had 21 points and two big forced turnovers late, in the victory.
Elsewhere, former teammates dueled in as the Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Houston Rockets 117-112 in a thriller on Saturday. All three huge stars that were involved in the game had explosive games that are well worth mentioning, but two of them carried on with historic streaks. Russell Westbrook matched the NBA record for consecutive games with a triple-double at nine with his 21 points, 11 assists, and 10 rebound performance. That, combined with teammate Paul George’s 45 points meant that they were able to erase a 26 point deficit and claw their way back into the game and eventually win. James Harden, I’m sure, would rather have had the ‘W,’ than the personal accolades, but he kept up his own streak as well by scoring 42 points in the loss. He has now had 29 games in a row with 30 or more points. Two more and he will pass Wilt’s second longest record, while Westbrook will pass Wilt by getting a triple-double in his next game.
College basketball had a titanic match up on Saturday as the Virginia Cavaliers hosted the no. 2 Duke Blue Devils. Such was the importance of the game that LeBron James and Rajon Rondo showed up. And it was the Blue Devils, playing in a harsh environment against the no.3 ranked team in the country, that were finally able to shake off the Cavs. The game started about as well as it could have for Duke. They ran out to a lead early on, had Zion Williamson throw down a huge dunk, and looked to be cruising. But they never were able to pull away from Virginia, who are one of the toughest defensive teams in the country year in and year out. They won 81-71 and might have a shot at the #1 ranking now after two wins over the Cavs in conference play. The Blue Devils were led by RJ Barrett, who scored 26 points to lead all scorers.