Game #23 | December 11, 2013
TD Garden | Boston, MA

  • 96

  • 88


22 7 9 2 1














BOSTON – The emotional part of Doc Rivers’ return to TD Garden Wednesday likely subsided sometime in the second quarter.

It was after a heart-felt video tribute, a low-scoring beginning and an early Celtics lead that the Clippers finally got going.

They scored 57 points in the second half and used a pair of 3-pointers spanning less than 15 seconds by Jamal Crawford to extend a tenuous lead in the fourth and aid Rivers in defeating his former team, 96-88.

“I thought at halftime they were really mad at the way they were playing, so that’s good,” Rivers said a few minutes after clearing tears from his eyes when talking about his first game back in Boston after serving nine years as the Celtics’ head coach. “All these little things like this help bring your team together.”

The Clippers (15-8) came together Wednesday after another slow start, something that has been a frequent malady on their seven-game road trip. But a 14-4 run to open the second half turned things around and Crawford helped finish it off with 3-pointers on consecutive fourth-quarter possessions with the Clippers up just two.

Crawford finished with 21 points on 7-for-14 shooting off the bench and the Clippers’ reserves outscored Boston’s 34-4. Blake Griffin had 18 points with seven rebounds and four assists. And Chris Paul had a team-high 22 points with nine assists and seven rebounds.

“It’s one of those things that almost goes unsaid,” Paul said. “You want to win this game for him.”

And it showed. Griffin and Paul scored 18 of the Clippers’ first 20 points, stemming the tide in a game that felt unlike most mid-December Wednesday nights in the NBA. The crowd applauded Rivers when he entered the arena and roared when a two-minute video tribute was displayed on the video board between the first and second quarter.

Boston’s five starters, who all played for Rivers last season, seemed energized. Jeff Green scored a game-high 29 points on the night and led the Celtics (10-14) to a 55.0 percent shooting first quarter and a three-point lead. It wasn’t until another 12 minutes passed before the Clippers answered the bell.

“It started with our defense,” Crawford said of the second half. “Whenever we get stops and get out and run, that’s when we’re at our best. We moved the ball. I think in the second half we had a much clear vision of what we were looking for. Even the second unit, we started getting our groove back.”

Crawford and Collison combined to score the first 13 points of the fourth quarter, and after the Celtics cut L.A.’s lead to 83-81 on a pair of free throws by Green, Paul made a 15-foot jumper from the elbow and Crawford connected twice from long distance.

It was notable night all around for the Clippers bench. In addition to Crawford and Collison, who had 10 points, five rebounds and two steals, Antawn Jamison scored the 20,000th point of his career with 9:21 to go in the second quarter and veteran small forward Stephen Jackson made his debut.

“I was definitely winded, no question,” said Jackson, who went scoreless in 12 minutes. “But as the game comes it was easy. I’ve been doing this for a long time and I’ve been getting in shape. So, I’ll get the timing with the guys. Being out there felt great, it’s an opportunity to play basketball with a great group of guys and I’m happy to be back out there. “


DeAndre Jordan had five points and six rebounds in 31:04… Willie Green scored all eight of his points in the third quarter… The Clippers have 19 steals in their last two games… They are 3-2 on their road trip and moved to 7-6 on the road overall. It is the first time this season their road record has been better than .500… Boston shot 41.3 percent from the field… The Clippers have won three of their last four games… Kelly Olynyk (ankle), Kris Humphries (knee), Rajon Rondo (knee), J.J. Redick (hand/wrist), Matt Barnes (eye), Reggie Bullock (ankle) and Maalik Wayns (knee) all missed Wednesday’s game… Jamison is one of just 20 players all-time to accumulate at least 20,000 points, 8,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists…


Doc Rivers

Clippers head coach Doc Rivers on the challenge coaching against his former team:

“That was hard.  That was hard.  You know, every time they were taking the ball out, one of their guys, Jeff [Green] and everyone talking to you, and you’re trying to keep your focus.  And it’s funny, I told my coaches I needed halftime far more than the players.  And I think they sensed that, I will say that.  You could see at halftime CP (Chris Paul) he was like, ‘We got it.  We got it.’  He kept saying that.  So I think they sensed that a little bit for me, and that was nice.”

  Clippers forward Antawn Jamison on whether or not he’s looked at names on list of players with 20,000 points:
“Yeah I looked at it. That says a lot. You know it was names like Hakeem [Olajuwon], Charles [Barkley] and those guys. You know guys as a kid that I looked up to and to be mentioned in the same category as those guys I mean that speaks volumes. I am grateful and blessed to still be able to do this.”
Clippers forward Stephen Jackson on how he felt in his first game of the season:
“I was winded as soon as I got in the game. But it felt good to get back out there and to get a win, too, in the first one is definitely sweet.”
  Clippers guard Jamal Crawford on getting some momentum early in the fourth quarter with fellow reserve guard Darren Collison:
“Yeah, we had some moments like that in Memphis. If we continue to get that chemistry down and continue to play off of each other I think we will be in pretty good shape the rest of the way.”
  Celtics coach Brad Stevens on the Clippers’ bench:
“Well they got 34 points off the bench and Collison was huge late and when Crawford gets going he’s as good as anyone, he’s hard to stop. They were really good, they were really tough. Their depth will just improve as Jackson (Stephen) gets more adjusted to being around again and he’ll make a couple of those shots that he missed. When they get healthy they’ve obviously got a really deep team. They are 15-8 in the West and the West is loaded and they are one of the contenders for a reason.”



By: Eric Patten | Follow @EricPatten

BOSTON – He’s back.

After nine seasons coaching the Celtics, including two Finals appearances and one championship, Doc Rivers makes his first and only stop at TD Garden this season as the visitor.

“Wednesday will be nice,” Rivers said. “It will be very nice for me. I put in nine wonderful years there and that will be really cool. It will be great to see, hell, I’d say all of my players but there are not many of them left. But there are some. It will be great to see all of the people who have worked there.”

The Clippers (14-8) enter the home stretch of their seven-game road trip Wednesday in snowy Boston. They have alternated wins and losses on the trip so far and have three games in the next four nights to try and turn things around.

“We’re .500 on this trip now with three games left,” Rivers said, “so we have a chance to turn this into a good trip.”

To do so, they’ll have to go through a Celtics team that has been playing better of late. They lost 104-96 Tuesday in Brooklyn, but are 5-5 at home this season, including winning three in row. They have seven wins in their last 10 games overall.

“They still have a lot of good players left,” Rivers said. “Jared Sullinger is a starter on most teams. Brandon Bass is a starter on most teams. Avery Bradley’s a starter. Jeff Green’s a starter. I just named four terrific basketball players and veterans. So, they’re talented.

“When [Rajon] Rondo comes back it will be interesting. They’re going to be a playoff team and I’ve said that since the preseason.”


Jared Dudley vs. Jeff Green



The Clippers are 8-1 when Dudley scores at least 10 points. On Wednesday, he’ll be counted on mostly to guard Green, who leads the Celtics in scoring and minutes. Green is long and athletic for a small forward, which could give Dudley some trouble as he continues playing through knee pain.

They know each other well. Green and Dudley were selected 17 picks apart in the 2007 NBA Draft and were Big East rivals for a brief period, while Green was at Georgetown and Dudley was at Boston College. In the NBA, though, Green has gotten the best of Dudley, including scoring 31 points in a meeting between the Celtics and Suns last season.


1. Winning one for Rivers. Despite only facing the Celtics twice a year, the fact that they are without Boston legends Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo remains sidelined, the Clippers will be up for Wednesday’s game. Blake Griffin said they need a win no matter what, but Rivers’ return adds a little incentive.

“It’s one of those things as players we want to rally around him and win this game for him,” Griffin said. “It’s important when guys come back to their home city or come back to a place where they used to play or coached or whatever it is, it’s a good feeling to come back and have a successful trip.”

2. Consistency. Throughout the season, especially in the last week or two, Chris Paul has been adamant that the Clippers have to be more consistent. After a convincing win in Memphis, he said he wanted to see how the team responded in Cleveland. It was a similar conversation with the media in Philadelphia two nights later after the Clippers’ second win on the trip.

“The thing about this league is when you really start to become a good team is when you start doing it consistently,” Paul said. “It’s tough because I know we’re more than capable of it.”

3. Field goal percentage. Since Nov. 19 the Clippers and Celtics have been amongst the league leaders in opponent field goal percentage. But while the Clippers have consistently held opponents 42-percent shooting or worse, Boston has put together a couple of stellar defensive efforts, but have also allowed opponents to shoot upwards of 46 percent several times in recent games.

Better, perhaps, for a Clippers’ offense that is struggling to make shots, the Celtics have allowed eight or more 3-pointers in their last four games. L.A., on the other hand, is shooting 31-for-116 (26.7 percent) from 3-point range since Dec. 1 and that includes an 11-for-20 performance at Memphis last week.


The Clippers and Celtics have alternated wins and losses in their last five meetings, including the Clippers last losing 106-104 on Feb. 3, 2013 at TD Garden… Overall, the Clippers have won just 12 times in Boston in 55 games in franchise history… Seven players on the Celtics roster played for Rivers last season, including all five starters… Rookie Kelly Olynyk has missed the past two weeks with a sprained ankle. He did not play against Brooklyn, but returned to practice Monday, according to… The Clippers are 6-6 on the road this season… New Clippers forward Stephen Jackson is expected to make his debut…



Clippers Leaders:
Pts: Griffin 26
Reb: Jordan 21
Ast: Paul 13

Last Time Out




Celtics Leaders:
Pts: Bradley 22
Reb: Bass 11
Ast: Crawford 4