Boston (46-12) at Los Angeles (14-43)

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  • Game info: 10:30 pm EST Wed Feb 25, 2009
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Boston managed just fine with Kevin Garnett hurt in its first matchup with the Los Angeles Clippers last season. The veteran big man’s absence isn’t slowing the Celtics down now, either.

The Celtics look to win their third straight game since Garnett injured his knee as they kick off their season series with the lowly Clippers on Wednesday night.

Garnett will miss at least two weeks after straining a muscle in his right knee on an alley-oop in a loss to Utah on Thursday night. But Boston (46-12) has won two straight since then and was dominant in its last contest, routing Denver 114-76 on Monday night.

“We were focused on what we needed to do because we’re a different team now with Kevin out,” Celtics guard Ray Allen said.

Garnett missed nine games a little over a year ago, and Boston went 7-2 during that stretch. That included a 111-100 win over Los Angeles on Feb. 6, 2008, with the Celtics shooting 53.2 percent (42-for-79) from the field and 50.0 percent (8-for-16) from 3-point range.

Allen had 19 points in that contest. The veteran guard is averaging 28.5 points and shooting 52.6 percent (10-for-19) from long range in his last two games, including a 26-point effort versus the Nuggets.

Allen bruised his tailbone in that contest after falling in the fourth quarter fall but said he wouldn’t miss any time.

However, Celtics forward Brian Scalabrine, who started for Garnett, strained his neck in the first quarter and didn’t return. His status for this contest is uncertain.

If Scalabrine can’t play, Leon Powe or Glen Davis would likely start.

Despite being short-handed, Boston won for the 11th time in its last 12 road games after losing its previous four. The Celtics are holding opponents to 88.0 points per game during their hot streak.

Los Angeles (14-43), meanwhile, will be trying to win consecutive home games for the first time this season. The Clippers won for the first time in four games overall in their last matchup, beating Golden State 118-105 on Monday night.

Leading scorer Al Thornton missed his second game of the season with a right foot injury, but Los Angeles shot 51.1 percent and had five players score in double figures. Thornton, averaging 17.1 points, is listed as day-to-day.

The Clippers got a boost from forward Zach Randolph, who had 27 points and 11 rebounds after a two-game suspension for punching Phoenix’s Louis Amundson in a loss Feb. 17. Clippers center Marcus Camby, meanwhile, had nine points and six rebounds after missing four games with an inner ear infection.

“It was nice having our two big guys back in our lineup,” Los Angeles coach Mike Dunleavy said. “It was a great game for us to build on.”

With the two big men back and rookie guard Eric Gordon playing well, perhaps the Clippers can build some momentum down the stretch.

Gordon made a career-high six 3-points and had 27 points versus the Warriors. Gordon, the seventh overall pick in last year’s draft, is averaging 25.0 points and shooting 57.1 percent (16-for-28) from long range in his last five games.

“He doesn’t surprise me at all,” Los Angeles guard Baron Davis said. “He is a super talent and he’s a kid that is going to continue to get better in this league.”

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Wednesday, Feb 25