The last time these two teams met, the Clippers ran away with it by a score of 106-77. This time was a completely different story.
The Celtics opened up a 59-40 lead by halftime, and the Clippers looked discombobulated with Chris Paul out again due to a bruised kneecap. Boston dominated the second quarter, outscoring L.A. 26-10.
The C's shot well from the field through 24 minutes, knocking down 20 of their 38 shots. While Boston was out-rebounded in the first half (22-15), it also forced 14 turnovers from the Clippers while committing just five.
Boston's scoring was incredibly balanced. At the half, no Celtic had 10 points, but 10 different players had made a field goal.
Still, the Clippers made it very interesting in the fourth quarter, cutting the lead to just two points inside the final minute. Paul Pierce's triple with three seconds remaining sealed the deal and averted disaster.
The Celtics bench was a huge factor in the win. Jason Terry sparkled, and Jeff Green and Leandro Barbosa both scored in double digits as well.
Incredibly, Boston went 11-of-18 from three-point range, which is very uncharacteristic.
While the C's had lost six of their last 10, they had also won three in a row. They are a paltry 7-14 on the road, but they've been strong at TD Garden, with this win putting them at 17-9 at home.
The Clippers had a 34-14 record at tipoff. That put them in third place in the West, 3.5 games behind the San Antonio Spurs. While they're a sensational 20-5 at home, they also have played well on the road (now 14-10).
In the end, Boston barely held on, and it required strong play off the bench and some familiar heroics from Pierce to do so.