Boston 111, L.A. Clippers 92
LOS ANGELES, Dec. 31 (Ticker) --
After a difficult month, the Boston
Celtics made sure they finished 2005 on a good note.
scored 20 points and Paul Pierce
added 19 as the
Celtics snapped their three-game slide with a 111-92 triumph
over the slumping Los Angeles Clippers, who have dropped seven
of their last nine contests.
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"We got that monkey off our back, we won this and if we play
like we did tonight we'll win again," Boston coach Doc Rivers
said. "I thought everyone played well."
Boston had struggled in the month of December, finishing with a
6-9 record and recording only two road wins overall before
tonight. With the victory, the Celtics improved to 1-3 on their
current five-game West Coast swing.
"We don't want to get over-excited with just one win," said
Pierce, who made 8-of-12 shots. "We are just trying to be
consistent. We have to sustain a group of wins and then I'll be
able to say we are successful."
Boston led, 42-35, in the second quarter and extended its lead
with an 8-0 run as Pierce scored four points during the stretch.
The Celtics held a 64-46 advantage at intermission after
outscoring the Clippers, 33-15, in the second.
"Our defense was good but I thought our energy was the key to
the game," Rivers said. "We also wanted to focus on just giving
them one shot at the basket and I thought we did a good job of
"(In the) second quarter, defensively, we were terrible," Los
Angeles coach Mike Dunleavy
said. "We made a lot of mistakes
and the scoreboard showed it."
The Clippers made a late surge to get within 91-81 on Cuttino Mobley
's jumper with 9:00 remaining, but Boston scored the next
six points to create some breathing room.
"The second half, we came out and did a better job with our
coverages, but they have some players who can just knock down
shots," Dunleavy said.
Los Angeles received little help from its bench as it was
outscored by the Celtics' reserves, 38-8.
"I knew this was going to be an energy game and Raef (LaFrentz
and Marcus (Banks
) came off the bench and gave us some great
relief," Rivers said.
Banks scored 14 points and Al Jefferson
and LaFrentz added 13
for the Celtics, who shot 56 percent (47-of-83) from the field
and collected six blocked shots.
"When we come into the game we have to come with energy and have
focus," LaFrentz said. "Tonight, we had good runs with a good
group on the floor which helped us pull out to a lead in the
"A lot of guys were big for us tonight and we kept our turnovers
down," Pierce said. "We wanted to end 2005 with a win that's
what we did."
Mobley scored 27 points and Sam Cassell
added 24 for the
Clippers, who made 37-of-80 shots (46 percent) and 14-of-19 free
"It's not going to get any easier with the schedule that way it
is," said Cassell, who made 8-of-12 shots. Leading scorer Elton Brand
had a silent game with 11 points on 5-of-16 shooting.
"We started but then fell into a lull in the second quarter with
our defense," said Brand, who committed six turnovers. "We
just kept giving up too many layups throughout that period."
After a four-game winning streak to start the month had Los
Angeles (16-12) atop the Pacific Division, it has dropped seven
of nine games and sits 2 1/2 games behind Phoenix entering