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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Clippers shock the Celtics at TD Garden

If I told you that Blake Griffin only had 12 points, seven rebounds and five assists when the Los Angeles Clippers visited the TD Garden, you would have thought the Celtics had rolled by like 20+ points, right?

Welcome to bizarro world as the young superstar was held completely in check yet the Clips (25-40) won 108-103 over the Celtics (46-16), who were disinterested in playing defense all game.

Despite basically no-showing for three quarters, it looked like Boston might make an epic comeback as they whittled a 23-point lead (65-42) down to three (86-83) with less than six minutes remaining. That's as close as they would get though as Los Angeles made all their shots down the stretch and deservedly came away with only their seventh road win of the season.

Mo Williams (game-high 28 points) and DeAndre Jordan (21 points on almost all dunks) were the unlikely stars for the Clippers. Former Celtic and my old college buddy Ryan Gomes added 12 points, Randy Foye notched nine points and 12 assists while Chris Kaman scored 10 off the bench.

Ray Allen led Boston with 23 points, Nenad Krstic added 20 points and nine rebounds while Paul Pierce had 19 points. Kevin Garnett (5-for-19) put up 16 points and eight rebounds despite the worst shooting performance I can ever remember from him. Rajon Rondo also struggled from the field (6-for-15) but he had 13 points, nine assists and seven rebounds.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the game was when Boston's five newest players: Krstic, Jeff Green (6 points), Carlos Arroyo (4 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists in his debut), Sasha Pavlovic (2 points) and Troy Murphy (2 steals) were all on the floor at the same time. It speaks to Boston's immense depth (if Shaq and Delonte West ever get healthy) that these will mostly be bench players when Glen Davis returns.

Los Angeles was ahead right from the start, 30-17 after the first quarter and 60-42 at halftime. Boston recovered with a strong third quarter (24-16) and fourth (37-32) but it wasn't enough.

The Clippers shot 52.0% to 44.0% for the Celtics. LA hit three more 3-pointers (9-6) and had seven more assists (28-21). Boston made the comeback with six more steals (10-4), four more fast break points (12-8) and eight more points in the paint (48-40).

After seeing their five-game win streak snapped, Boston will try to get a new one started tomorrow night when they visit the City of Brotherly Love. The Sixers have been playing great lately but the Cs have owned them the last few years. This could be a potential first round matchup in the playoffs this season.

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