BOSTON (AP) -- Paul Pierce and the Boston Celtics needed more
than three quarters to figure out how to beat the Los Angeles
Pierce had 25 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, and the
Celtics used a late run to rally past the Clippers 94-89 Wednesday
"We just came out with a better sense of urgency in the fourth
quarter," Pierce said. "We were tentative in the first half, but
we fought back in the second."
After falling behind 79-65 early in the fourth quarter, the
Celtics scored 16 straight points to take their first lead of the
game on Raef LaFrentz's 3-pointer with 6:19 remaining.
"We are starting to become a pretty gutty basketball team,"
Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "Before this year, we talked about
mental toughness and we are starting to get it."
Boston increased its lead to 90-85 with 20.6 seconds left before
Bobby Simmons hit a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to two. Pierce and
Ricky Davis each then hit a pair of free throws to seal the win.
In their previous game against the Clippers this season on Dec.
13, the Celtics erased a 12 point fourth quarter deficit and won
134-127 in double overtime.
"The same thing happened to us out in L.A. and we should have
known better," Elton Brand said. "It starts to wear on us. We
could have won our last three road games, but couldn't close them
The Clippers lost their last two road games, in Milwaukee and
Philadelphia, by two points.
Brand had 30 points and 10 rebounds for the Clippers, who have
dropped three straight and nine of 10 on the road.
"We thought we were going to bury them in the first half but
they got back in the game," Clippers center Chris Kaman said. "We
got destroyed inside and they carried the momentum."
After trailing 60-40 -- their biggest deficit of the game -- with
45.8 seconds remaining in the first half, the Celtics slowly made
their comeback. They trailed 73-65 after three quarters. The
Clippers shot 3-of-15 in the third, and 8-of-36 overall in the
second half after shooting 58 percent in the first half.
The Celtics closed on a 29-10 run over the final 10:04 of the
fourth quarter. Pierce rebounded after having seven points Tuesday
against Milwaukee, his second worst offensive night of the season.
Mark Blount added 17 points and eight rebounds and LaFrentz had
16 points for the Celtics.
The Clippers led 31-24 after the first quarter, then Corey
Maggette scored eight of his 13 second period points to key a 14-4
run and increase it to 45-28 with 6:57 left in the half.
Maggette had 21 points and eight rebounds for the Clippers.
Brand has 115 points in the last four games against the
Celtics. ... Starting with the 1970-71 season, the Celtics won
their first 22 games against the Buffalo Braves/San Diego and Los
Angeles Clippers' organization and are 77-26 lifetime. ... Clippers
forward Maggette was back in the lineup after missing four games
with a collarbone injury. ... New England Patriots owner Robert
Kraft received a standing ovation in the first quarter. ... The
Clippers are 1-3 on their NBA season-high nine-game road trip. ...
The Celtics are 14-4 in their last 18 home games.