Notebook: Celtics 106, Clippers 104



Posted Feb 3, 2013 5:31 PM

Brian Robb, for NBA.com

THE FACTS: The Boston Celtics nearly blew a 15-point fourth quarter lead, but managed to get some clutch shooting from Paul Pierce and Jason Terry in the final minute to escape with a 106-104 win over the Los Angeles Clippers. It was the fourth straight win for the Celtics since Rajon Rondo suffered a torn ACL, with all of the wins coming at the TD Garden. Pierce scored 15 of his team-high 22 points for the hosts in the second half, as the Celtics held off a furious comeback from the shorthanded Clippers, who were without Chris Paul (knee) for the seventh straight games. Eric Bledsoe had a game-high 23 points and 10 assists in the setback. It was the Clippers' second straight loss overall.

QUOTABLE: "Balance is the formula for our success, you know we got to do it by committee. Obviously we got two of our key parts down, but again, spreading the wealth. We got to make sure everyone gets involved, everybody's into the game."
-- Terry.

THE STAT: The Celtics hit 11-of-18 attempts from 3-point range. The number of makes (11) and the team's shooting percentage (61.1 percent) were both season-highs for Boston beyond the arc.

TURNING POINT: After the Clippers cut a 19-point second half deficit to two in the game's closing minute, Jamal Crawford had a chance to tie the game for his team. Crawford tried to drive to the hoop against Celtics' guard Avery Bradley, but Boston's toughest perimeter defender drew an offensive foul with 26.6 seconds remaining in the game.

QUOTABLE II: "We won the game, we beat a heck of a team, and I'm very happy with that. But in my mind we can be better, much better, than we were today."
-- Celtics coach Doc Rivers.

HOT: Bledsoe -- The third-year guard filled in admirably for Paul at the point guard position, scoring 17 of his 23 points in the second half to help the Clippers climb back from a 19-point halftime deficit.

NOT: Matt Barnes -- The veteran small forward did not look sharp in his return from a one-game suspension. Barnes went scoreless in 25 minutes of action, missing all six of his field goals attempts, including four from 3-point range.

FANTASY SPOTLIGHT: Terry -- The former Maverick has excelled in the Celtics lineup since Rondo has been sidelined. Sunday was Terry's fifth straight double-digit scoring performance, as he finished with 13 points and six assists in 31 minutes of action. Over his past five games, Terry is averaging 12.4 points and 3.4 assists per game on 55 percent shooting from the field.

BAD MOVE: Trailing by two with just 26 seconds remaining, Vinny Del Negro elected not to have his team foul Pierce, despite the fact Boston had the ball with a full 24-second shot clock. The decision eliminated any chance the Clippers had to tie the game, as Pierce ran down the game clock to two seconds before drilling the game-clinching 3-pointer for Boston.

QUOTABLE III: "I wouldn't have wanted to foul them there. You know it was right on the number we've done it both way. If we get a stop there, three or four seconds to go we've got plenty of time, two point game, could of fouled. We went back and forth with it, we just felt we could get it down."
-- Del Negro on his decision not to foul down two with 26 seconds remaining.

ROOKIE WATCH: Jared Sullinger -- The 20-year-old was released from the hospital Saturday night after undergoing successful back surgery Friday. The rookie power forward is expected to be ready in time for Celtics' training camp next season.

NOTABLE: Brandon Bass tied a career high with four assists. Jason Collins scored a season-high seven points in just 11 minutes of action. The Clippers shot just 22 percent and had nine turnovers during their 10 point second quarter. 12 of Boston's 17 turnovers came in the second half.

UP NEXT: For LA Clippers, Monday @ Washington, Wednesday @ Orlando, Friday @ Miami. For Boston, Wednesday @ Toronto, Thursday vs. LA Lakers, Sunday vs. Denver.