"It was one of those games that you cherish," said Los Angeles guard Baron Davis, who watched the final 35 seconds of the game from the bench after fouling out. "It's good to start getting everyone healthy. That's going to help us be a threat as the end of the season approaches."
Zach Randolph scored 30 points, including the final three of the game, to lead the Clippers past the defending NBA champions -- who have run into injury problems of their own.
Already missing Kevin Garnett and Brian Scalabrine, the Celtics lost a bit more of their edge when Paul Pierce dislocated his right thumb in the third quarter, and again in the fourth. He finished with 20 points, but went 7-of-19 from the floor and missed a 13-footer that would have given Boston the lead with 20 seconds remaining.
"I dislocated it a couple of times, but the X-rays are negative, so it should be all right," Pierce said. "I don't know if it really affected me. I mean, it was definitely sore, but it was manageable. It's never happened to me before."
Pierce said injuries are hitting the Celtics hard right now.
"It seems like someone is going down every week. But the most important thing right now is just to battle through it and try to get healthy," he said.
The loss was only the Celtics' 13th of the season. The victory was just the Clippers' 15th.
Boston coach Doc Rivers had a simple explanation.
"We were awful. We absolutely did not deserve to win that game," he said. "I thought we played slow all night, we pouted all night, we just thought we could show up and win a game -- and we didn't. I just didn't think we played with the type of spirit we played with on this entire trip.
"We looked at their record, and not at their personnel."
Randolph hit a layup with 20 seconds remaining to give Los Angeles a 92-91 lead. Pierce missed from the top of the key, then Randolph was fouled after an inbounds play and made one of two free throws with 6 seconds left.
The Celtics had no timeouts, and Rajon Rondo dribbled the length of the court before losing the ball, their 21st turnover of the game. The Clippers converted those into 21 points.
Randolph also had 12 rebounds. Davis had 16 points, seven rebounds and five assists for Los Angeles.
Rondo and Ray Allen each scored 17 in the loss.
The ending reversed a trend by the Clippers this season; they've often kept games close through three quarters only to fade in the fourth. This time, they never let the Celtics take control, didn't trail by more than two points over the final five minutes, and came up with the key plays in the waning seconds.
The Clippers trailed by eight early in the third period, but came back to edge in front 65-63 with 4 minutes left in the quarter. Boston regained the lead on Rondo's fast-break layup and the Celtics were in front 72-71 heading into the final 12 minutes.
Los Angeles rookie Eric Gordon left the game early in the third quarter because of a bruised left shoulder. He was 1-of-7 from the floor and had four points.
Garnett strained a muscle in his right knee in a loss at Utah last Thursday and was expected to be sidelined at least two weeks. Scalabrine will undergo more neurological testing Thursday and will sit out Friday's game against Indiana. He injured his neck in the win at Denver on Tuesday night. He recently had two concussions that caused him to miss nine games and the team wanted him to have the neurological tests as a precaution. ... F Al Thornton, the Clippers' leading scorer with a 17.1 ppg average, missed his third game with a sore right foot.