NBA Preview from The Sports Network|
Thursday, December 27th
(All times Eastern)
Boston Celtics (14-13) at Los Angeles Clippers (22-6). 10:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Los Angeles Clippers will try to make it 15 wins in a
row Thursday night when they welcome the Boston Celtics to Staples Center.
Their 14-game winning streak is not just a franchise record, but also a
season-best in the NBA. They haven't lost in the month of December and here's
an alarming stat to put it all in perspective for Clippers fans: nine times
since the 1981-82 season, the Clippers failed to win 20 games in an entire
season. The Clips reached that number before Christmas.
"It's nice, but it's Christmas and we've got a long way to go," Clippers coach
Vinny Del Negro said of his team owning the league's best record. "A lot of
games to play and a lot of improving to do."
The 14th consecutive win came on Christmas Day when the Clippers bested the
Denver Nuggets, 112-100, at home. It was only the second time during this
brilliant stretch the Clippers allowed 100 points. The other time came on Dec.
3 to the Utah Jazz.
The bench continued to be outstanding for the Clippers, who are still without
Chauncey Billups and Grant Hill. Jamal Crawford led the way for L.A. with 22
points and reserve Matt Barnes chipped in 20. Eric Bledsoe scored 12 off the
bench and Lamar Odom had six points and 10 rebounds.
The reserves tallied 64 points, 25 rebounds, 14 assists, six steals and three
"We (the bench) are just trying to keep pushing it," Ronny Turiaf said. "We're
trying to do whatever we've got to do to give us a chance to win a ball game;
by moving the ball from side to side and playing together. If we do that,
Chris Paul, who is emerging as a real MVP candidate, had 14 points and Blake
Griffin added 13.
The Celtics are coming off a Christmas victory of their own on Tuesday. They
pummeled the listless Brooklyn Nets, 93-76, in Brooklyn, but left on a three-
game west-coast trip right after.
The Celtics used a dominant second quarter to thwart the Nets in the first
matchup between the two teams since their last game was marred by a little
scuffle. Boston won the second frame, 34-18, for its second victory in its
last three games.
"I think we're getting better," said Celtics head coach Doc Rivers. "I think
we're very, very close to becoming a good team, but we're not yet."
The Celtics were led against the Nets by 19 points from Rajon Rondo, but it
was a group effort. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett only managed eight points
apiece, but Pierce handed out 10 assists and Garnett grabbed 10 rebounds.
Jeff Green chipped in 15 points off the bench and rookie Jared Sullinger added
16 points and seven rebounds.
The Celtics have won three of the last four meetings, including last season's
only meeting in Los Angeles.
12/27 10:32:14 ET