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National Basketball Association
                  === Pierce guides Celtics past Clippers ===
 Boston,  MA (Sports  Network) - Paul Pierce finished with 22 points, including
 the  game-sealing 3-pointer in the closing seconds, as the Boston Celtics held
 off the Los Angeles Clippers, 106-104, at TD Garden.
 Jeff  Green and  Leandro Barbosa added 14 points apiece, Jason Terry netted 13
 with  six  assists and  Kevin Garnett  posted 12 points  and five rebounds for
 Boston, which won its fourth straight game.
 "Balance  is the  formula  for  our success,  you  know we  got  to  do it  by
 committee,"  said Terry.  "We  got to  make sure  everyone  gets involved  and
 everybody's into the game."
 Eric  Bledsoe had 23  points and 10 assists, while Blake Griffin had 20 points
 and  11  rebounds for the Clippers,  who have dropped two  in a row and six of
 their last eight overall. Jamal Crawford poured in 23 points and Caron  Butler
 finished with 18 in defeat.
 The  Clippers trailed, 92-77, entering the fourth quarter after falling behind
 by  as many  as 19  points  on several  occasions  over the  second and  third
 quarters, but opened the final frame with a 21-9 run to get back within 101-98
 on Crawford's layup with just over three minutes left in the game.
 Crawford  then had  a chance  to tie  the game  with a  3-pointer following  a
 Courtney  Lee turnover  at the other end,  but his attempt from the top of the
 key rimmed out.
 The  teams would trade a Terry fadeaway jumper and a Bledsoe 3-pointer to make
 it  a 103-101 game  with 56 seconds to play, but an offensive foul on Crawford
 after  a  missed Terry  three gave the  ball back to  Boston with 26.6 seconds
 Los  Angeles, however,  decided not to foul on the Celtics' ensuing possession
 and  Pierce let  the shot clock run  all the way down before drilling a triple
 from the left wing for a 106-101 lead with 2.5 seconds showing on the clock.
 Crawford's 3-pointer at the buzzer accounted for the final margin.
 "I  thought  we fought back well,"  Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said. "They
 made  some tough  shots, which  sometimes  you expect.  Paul hit  a big  three
 obviously,  but  you know we  battled, we had our  chances and we just weren't
 able to execute there down the stretch."
 The  Celtics battled back from an early 11-6 deficit to knot the game at 15 on
 consecutive  baskets  by Pierce and Garnett,  but they could not take the lead
 until  Terry  later capped  a string of  six straight points  with a shot from
 beyond  the arc to  hand Boston a 25-23 advantage with just under four minutes
 left in the first quarter.
 Boston  held a  33-30 edge heading into  the second, and then netted the first
 six  points  of the frame as  the Clippers failed  to record a basket for over
 four minutes to stretch its lead up to nine.
 Lamar  Odom's  jumper snapped the  drought for  Los Angeles, but the Clippers'
 offense remained cold in the frame as the Celtics recorded the next six points
 to go on top by double digits, 45-32.
 The Clippers would get no closer than 11 points for the remainder of the first
 half  as Boston outscored them, 26-10, in the second quarter while Los Angeles
 shot  just 4-for-18 from the floor and 0-for-5 from three-point range en route
 to a 59-40 deficit at the break.
 Los Angeles opened the third quarter with an 8-0 run to get back within 59-48,
 but could not get within single digits and fell behind by as much as 19 points
 before  Barbosa's runner  at the  buzzer gave  the Celtics  a 92-77  advantage
 heading into the fourth.
                                   Game Notes
 Clippers  guard  Chris Paul  missed his  seventh straight  game with a bruised
 right  kneecap ... Los Angeles fell to 4-11 in its last 15 trips to Boston ...
 The  Clippers held a  41-29 advantage on the glass ... Boston scored 33 points
 off  21 Los  Angeles turnovers ... The  Celtics turned the ball over 17 times,
 resulting in 17 Clipper points.
 02/03 17:26:05 ET

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