LOS ANGELES (AP) — Paul Pierce scored 24 points, Ray Allen added 22, and the Boston Celtics rallied in the second half for their fourth victory in five games, 99-92 over the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday night.
Kevin Garnett had 16 points and 11 rebounds for the defending Eastern Conference champions, who began the process of integrating newcomers Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic into their lineup after acquiring them from Oklahoma City in a trade for Kendrick Perkins.
Krstic had nine points and six rebounds while starting at center for the Celtics, who made a 24-7 run spanning halftime.
Randy Foye scored 32 points and Blake Griffin added 21 points and 11 rebounds for the Clippers in their first home game since Feb. 2 following an 11-game road trip. The Clippers had won nine straight home games before losing to Chicago right before their epic trip.
The Clippers committed 21 turnovers in their 10th loss in 12 games, but at least they’re home after what’s thought to be the second-longest road trip in NBA history, stretching nearly four weeks while the Grammys and the NBA All-Star weekend occupied Staples Center. The game also was Los Angeles’ fourth in five nights out of the All-Star break, including last night’s loss to the Lakers.
Green struggled early off the bench in his first game with the Celtics, finishing with seven points and one rebound in 17 minutes. Coach Doc Rivers intends to use Green early as Pierce’s backup, but he gave a debut start to Krstic, who also committed five fouls while getting to know his teammates.
Although Rajon Rondo managed just two points while taking two shots and racking up 11 assists, the Celtics’ four All-Stars didn’t need much backup against the Clippers. Pierce scored 16 in the second half, and the Celtics maintained a lead over Los Angeles down the stretch, delighting thousands of green-clad Celtics fans.
While the Celtics had their newcomers in uniform, new Clippers Mo Williams and Jamario Moon still weren’t allowed to suit up while the club finishes up the paperwork after acquiring them from Cleveland for Baron Davis, who apparently still hasn’t taken his physical for the Cavaliers.
Rookie Eric Bledsoe had another tough game while starting in Davis’ usual spot, scoring six points on 3-of-10 shooting with six assists.
NOTES: Reserve Chris Kaman had 16 points and nine rebounds for the Clippers. … Los Angeles led by 13 points in the first half before Boston’s rally spanning halftime, capped by a ferocious dunk by Garnett on an alley-oop pass from Rondo. … In the Celtics’ last visit to the Clippers on Dec. 27, 2009, Davis won it 92-90 with a fallaway jumper at the buzzer after Rondo missed two free throws in the final seconds.
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