L.A. Clippers 100, Boston 77

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 27 (AP) -- After their most lopsided victory against Boston, the Los Angeles Clippers hardly cared that Paul Pierce was missing from the Celtics' lineup.

Elton Brand had 25 points and 10 rebounds, Tim Thomas also scored 25 and the Clippers snapped a four-game home losing streak with a 100-77 victory Wednesday night as the Celtics' leading scorer watched helplessly from the bench in street clothes.

"I know their best player's down, but we have one of our best players down as well,'' Corey Maggette said, referring to Clippers point guard Sam Cassell. "Our team's been really struggling, so we needed a win. We're just trying to stay afloat. We've got a couple more games at home before we take a long road trip, so hopefully we can do some damage.''

The Clippers won for only the second time in nine games overall, while Cassell sat out due to a chronic case of plantar fasciitis in his left heel. The injury has forced him to miss four of the last eight games and has limited him to just 58 minutes of playing time during that stretch.

Boston played its third straight game without Pierce, expected to be sidelined for at least another week because of a stress reaction in his left foot.

"We'll have to wait and see,'' Pierce said. "I'll stay in L.A., stay off of it and after New Year's head back to Boston.''

Sebastian Telfair had a team-high 18 points for the Celtics, who have lost four in a row after winning five straight. Al Jefferson, who had a career-high 15 rebounds in Tuesday's loss at Denver, had 14 boards against the Clippers and scored 10 points. But he shot only 4-for-16 from the field, and Boston finished at 31.9 percent overall.

``With Paul and Wally Szczerbiak out of there, every time Al touches the ball he's going to get double-teamed,'' Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "Where Al's different is that last year, when he got trapped, he couldn't take a shot. It was a turnover every time and he would get completely frustrated. But now, he's really handling the double-team well. He's dribbling out of them, making good passes and finding other ways to stay involved.''

The 77 points matched Boston's lowest total of the season. The Celtics were beaten 101-77 by the New York Knicks on Nov. 24 at home. The Clippers were one point off their best defensive effort of the campaign, when they beat the New Orleans Hornets 92-76 on Nov. 12 at Staples Center.

"Coach talked about getting deflections and blocked shots and getting into the open court. And that's what we did,'' Brand said. "We defended the ball well. They have some threats in Jefferson and Tony Allen, who have been posting up well in the 2 and 3 spots, so we wanted to neutralize those guys and make them fan out to the shooters.''

Los Angeles opened the game with a 25-9 run before Boston sliced the margin to 27-26 in the final minute of the first quarter with a 17-2 burst, capped by Telfair's 13-footer and three-point play.

But that was as close as the Celtics got the rest of the night. The Clippers outscored them 12-3 over the first four minutes of the second quarter and built the margin to as many as 27 points with 5:36 remaining.

"It wasn't a pretty one to watch,'' Rivers said. "Our guys were playing hard, but obviously we couldn't make shots. We tried to keep going to Al, but our guards went away from him. I mean, when you've got (Chris) Kaman and Thomas in foul trouble, you've got to milk that - not go away from it.''

Szczerbiak, who missed the previous three games with a sprained right ankle, had nine points and six rebounds in 28-plus minutes.

"I probably played him a little bit more than I wanted to, but Tony Allen got in foul trouble and we really didn't have any choice,'' Rivers said.

Former Clippers center Michael Olowokandi, still playing his way back into shape with the Celtics after sustaining a slight tear in his abdominal muscle on Nov. 17, played for the first time since the injury. He entered with 4:45 to play and Boston down by 26.

Notes: A moment of silence was observed in memory of President Gerald Ford, who died Tuesday night at his home in nearby Rancho Mirage, Calif. ... Boston G Delonte West was scratched because of back spasms. He was injured in Tuesday's loss at Denver when he tried to block a layup by Earl Boykins and crashed to the floor. "I anticipate him playing on Friday. I don't have any knowledge of that, but that would be my guess,'' Rivers said. "He took a horrible fall yesterday that could have been a lot worse. What makes Delonte Delonte is his heart and how hard he plays every night. He was the only guy who didn't give up on that play. That's why he got hurt - but I would never ever tell him not to play the way he plays.''

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