Coming off a dominating Christmas Day performance against the defending Eastern Conference champions, the Boston Celtics look to continue their road superiority.
Boston goes for a 10th straight win away from home Sunday when it faces a struggling Los Angeles Clippers team trying to bounce back from its most lopsided loss of the season.
Behind Rajon Rondo’s(notes) 17 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists, the Celtics (23-5) won their third straight and 14th in 15th games with Friday’s 86-77 victory at Orlando. Boston shot 42.5 percent from the field but held the Magic to a season-low 33.3 percent.
“It wasn’t the prettiest ball,” said Celtics coach Doc Rivers, whose team continues its four-game trip 1 1/2 games ahead of Cleveland for the East lead. “It was ugly ball. I don’t necessarily think it was bad basketball, but two teams playing extremely hard and great defense.”
Boston is among the NBA leaders defensively, allowing 91.5 points per game and 43.6 percent shooting.
That kind of pressure could give the Clippers plenty of difficulty Sunday.
Los Angeles (12-17), averaging 93.0 points during its three-game losing streak, made 40.2 percent from the floor in Friday’s 124-93 loss at Phoenix.
It was the Clippers’ worst loss since a 126-85 defeat to Oklahoma City on April 15.
“We just stopped playing,” Baron Davis(notes) said after Los Angeles was outscored by 19 in the second half. “We stopped hustling. We can’t win if we don’t hustle. With our athleticism, what we need on this team is hustle.”
If the Clippers don’t give an improved effort, Boston could match the second-longest road winning streak in franchise history. While the team record is 13, the Celtics have previously won 10 consecutive road games four times, most recently Nov. 4-Dec. 17, 2008.
Boston owns an NBA-best 13-1 road record, limiting opponents to an average of 89.7 points.
Allen is averaging 23.5 points and shooting 43.3 percent from 3-point range in 28 career games versus the Clippers.
Tony Allen(notes) will likely get his second start of the season Sunday with Los Angeles native Paul Pierce(notes) sidelined by a right knee infection. Pierce led the Celtics with 20 points in their last road game versus the Clippers - a 93-91 loss Feb. 25.
Kevin Garnett(notes) missed that contest with a sprained right knee. He is expected to play in this matchup despite leaving Friday’s game in the final minutes after falling on his back and hitting his head on the floor.
Clippers center Marcus Camby(notes) is questionable after playing only the first quarter of Friday’s loss due to a sore left knee. Camby, among the league leaders with 11.5 rebounds per game, hyperextended his knee in Tuesday’s 108-99 loss at Houston.
Eric Gordon(notes) entered this week averaging 18.1 points but has been held to 12.0 per game on 31.7 percent shooting during the Clippers’ losing streak. He averaged 6.0 points and shot 21.1 percent as Los Angeles and Boston split two meetings last season.
The Celtics host the Clippers on Jan. 25.