By Staff

BOSTON (CBS) — You were probably pretty frustrated if you stayed up late to watch the Celtics ultimately hand the undermanned L.A. Clippers a win on Wednesday night. Your reward for the late night was a few comebacks by Boston, but a lot more irritating turnovers that ultimately led to a 114-111 loss.

And if you only stayed up for the first half, you’re probably surprised that the game was even that close. The Boston defense remained missing over the first 24 minutes of the contest, as the Paul George-less Clippers dropped 63 points in the first half, nearly half of which came in the paint. Los Angeles outscored Boston 39-23 in the second quarter, with Brandon Boston (who was in the G League last week) scoring 18 of his career-high 27 points in the frame.

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The Celtics did make a handful of comebacks in the second half, cutting a 21-point deficit down to five in the third quarter. They whittled it down to a one-possession game in the final seconds, and got the ball back with a chance to tie with 1.6 seconds left. But they never got a shot off before the buzzer sounded, and walked off the floor with another frustrating loss.

Boston deserves some credit for the comebacks, but make no mistake. They gave this game away. That was the theme of the evening, as Boston served up 23 turnovers on Wednesday night, leading to 33 points for Los Angeles. Jayson Tatum and Robert Williams each had six giveaways, while Marcus Smart tallied four. Eight of the 10 Boston players to see the floor recorded a turnover against the Clippers.

It was just the sixth time over the last decade that the Celtics have given the ball away 23 times, according to The Athletic’s Jay King. That is no way to win a basketball game, and it left head coach Ime Udoka shaking his head after another defeat.

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“A lot of times they were self inflicted, throwing the ball all over the place. Other than them trapping Jayson, it wasn’t anything pressure-based,” he said of the L.A. defense. “We dug ourselves a hole to give them 33 points off those. It’s hard to come back from that.”

Boston’s comebacks in the second half were usually derailed by turnovers or poor decisions. There were Clippers shooters left open in the corner, and they usually knocked down those easy looks. After the C’s made it a five-point game with just under two minutes left in the third, Grant Williams threw a pass to no one and then compounded that miscue by intentionally fouling Eric Bledsoe even though L.A. was in the bonus. The Clippers closed the frame on a 6-2 run, and led by nine heading into the fourth.

Ultimately, it was just too much for the Celtics to overcome, and now they are just 1-3 on their West Coast swing. Udoka didn’t want to criticize the team’s play in the second half, because he saw his squad actually compete over the third and fourth quarter. But it was their effort to start the game that was inexcusable for the first-year coach.

“To play the way we did in the second half and not have that effort in the second quarter, it is frustrating,” he said. “It was the lack of consistency and effort, in the second quarter specifically. We didn’t do ourselves any favors just handing them points.”

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The 13-13 Celtics will now look to salvage the final game of the trip, but that will be no easy task. The final game of the road trip comes against the 20-4 Suns on Friday night. Staff