A loss for Boston (12-33) would extend the team’s record losing streak to 14 games, surpassing the mark of 13 set during the 1993-94 season and matched in 1996-97.
The Celtics—the most decorated franchise in NBA history with a record 16 titles—equaled the dubious mark with a 111-98 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday. They have not won since Jan. 5 in a 128-119 victory at Memphis, the team with the worst record in the NBA.
“Well, I guess that’s one way to get in the record books,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. “Not the way you want to.”
Boston has fallen to the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, going 2-20 since a season-high five game winning streak from Dec. 9-16. One of the losses was a 100-77 defeat to the Los Angeles Clippers on Dec. 27 at Staples Center.
The Celtics’ dismal run has coincided with the loss of leading scorer Paul Pierce. Averaging 26.6 points, Pierce will miss his 22nd consecutive game Thursday with a foot injury. The swingman is expected to miss at least another two weeks.
Without him, the Celtics are averaging 92.5 points, a drop of more than eight points per game.
The injuries to Pierce and other key players have created roster consistency issues for Boston, as no player on the team has appeared in all 45 games.
The Celtics also have lost a club-record 10 consecutive home games, and are a league-worst 4-18 at home this season. Their only victory in the last 15 home games was a 119-114 victory over Denver on Dec. 15.
The Clippers (23-22) look to capitalize on the woeful Celtics and win for the seventh time in eight games.
Elton Brand scored 26 points Wednesday to lead the Clippers to a 110-98 win over Chicago.
“The first half of the season, we didn’t play up to our standards,” said Clippers guard Sam Cassell, who had 18 points, six rebounds and six assists. “There are two parts to the season. We have an opportunity.
“This game is 80 percent confidence. It’s crucial for us right now—we’ve got to put forth more effort, better energy, win some games.”
The Clippers appear to have regained some of that confidence they had last season, when they finished 47-35 for their best record since relocating to California after spending their first eight seasons as the Buffalo Braves.
Brand, the team’s leading scorer with 20.9 points per game, has averaged 25.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 3.0 blocks over his last seven outings. He’s scored 30 points in each of his last two games at Boston.