3/6 Game Preview: Celtics at Clippers
LOS ANGELES -- When Los Angeles Clippers guard Jamal Crawford is on his game, few players can match his offensive output.
"When he gets going, there's nobody like him off the bench and scoring-wise," Clippers forward Blake Griffin said. "To see him do what he does best is great for our team."
The Clippers could use more of Crawford's production when they host the Boston Celtics on Monday at Staples Center.
Crawford, who has struggled for much of the season, had a solid outing Saturday in a 101-91 road victory over the Chicago Bulls, scoring 25 points to help the Clippers snap a two-game losing streak and record their second win in six games since the All-Star break.
It also was the first contest in five that Crawford, who is averaging 12.3 points per game, scored in double figures. That span includes a scoreless effort in 19 minutes in a 105-97 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Feb. 24.
"(Coach) Doc (Rivers) and my teammates always want me to be more aggressive, to be that weapon and be that threat," Crawford said.
Crawford and the Clippers have won five of their past seven contests against the Celtics. However, Boston won the last meeting 107-102 on Feb. 2 at TD Garden behind 28 points by Isaiah Thomas. Clippers point guard Chris Paul did not play because he was recovering from surgery on his left thumb.
Crawford and Griffin scored 23 points apiece in the loss, a contest remembered more as a celebration by Boston fans of Clippers forward Paul Pierce, who played his last NBA game in the city. Pierce, with Rivers as coach, led the Celtics to the title in 2008 by beating the Los Angeles Lakers in a six-game NBA Finals.
Boston is coming off a 109-106 setback against the Suns at Phoenix on Sunday. Rookie guard Tyler Ulis, who scored a career-high 20 points, hit a 3-pointer from deep on the right wing as time expired to lift the Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena.
Phoenix guard Eric Bledsoe tied the score at 106 on a layup with four seconds remaining, and after Marquese Chriss slapped the ball away from Thomas on an inbounds play, it rolled to Ulis.
Thomas scored 35 points against his former club, while Jae Crowder added 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Celtics (40-23). Crowder, though, and Thomas failed to connect on their final possession.
"I thought Jae would get (the inbounds pass) out quicker than he would," Thomas said. "Then I looked away, looked back, and Marquese was there and he got a hand on it. I couldn't get full control of it."
The Celtics played without starting guard Avery Bradley (sore hamstring) and center Al Horford (elbow). Bradley was held out to avoid playing in back-to-back contests since he returned last week after missing two months with an Achilles injury. He scored 15 points in a 115-95 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday at Staples.
Horford was injured during the contest against the Lakers. His status for the Monday game was unknown.