Clippers 102, Celtics 100
LOS ANGELES (AP)—The Los Angeles Clippers’ longest road trip in franchise history lasted longer than they expected when travel problems forced them to stay overnight in Portland.
They didn’t get much sleep, so Eddie House was determined not to let the game go into overtime Thursday night.
House hit an off-balance 19-foot jumper with 1.8 seconds remaining to give the Clippers a 102-100 victory over the Boston Celtics after blowing a 13-point fourth-quarter lead.
The Clippers’ charter flight was delayed until midnight, then pushed back another 1 1/2 hours because of a mechanical problem. They returned to the hotel at 3 a.m., then took a noon flight and didn’t get back to Los Angeles until 1:30 p.m. But coach Mike Dunleavy and his players were back at Staples Center for a walkthrough about 2 1/2 hours before tipoff.
“It was tough,” Elton Brand said. “Coach had a shootaround and guys didn’t want to have one. But we had it anyway, and it was important that we had it, because we won with those defensive sets.”
Brand scored 24 of his season-high 39 points in the first half, and the Clippers overcame the early ejection of Quentin Richardson to end a five-game losing streak. Brand also had 11 rebounds and blocked six shots.
“He was tough tonight—especially when he was hitting those outside jumpers,” Boston’s Chris Mihm said. “We were doing a good job of rotating to him, but I can’t remember many, if any, jumpers he was missing from the outside on pick-and-rolls.
“He’s a big body down low and he knows how to use it to draw contact. So when he’s hitting from the outside, it’s a tough guard for anybody in this league.”
The Clippers, who snapped a string of seven straight losses against Boston with a 95-86 road win Feb. 4, swept the Celtics in a season series for the first time since 1996-97 and handed them their fourth straight defeat.
Keyon Dooling added 16 points for the Clippers, whose 3-6 road trip was the longest for any NBA team this season.
Boston forward Ricky Davis, who shot 11-for-12 from the field and scored 32 points Wednesday night at Sacramento, had 23 points in his first start of the season following Thursday’s three-team trade that sent Mike James to Detroit.
Jiri Welsch had 20 points for Boston and Paul Pierce had 18 on 5-for-19 shooting. But the Celtics committed 24 turnovers, which the Clippers converted into 32 points to send Boston to its fourth straight loss and 10th in 11 games.
“It’s been a problem of ours all year,” said Mihm, the only Boston starter without a turnover. “You just kill yourself when you turn the ball over in this league because you’re taking away points from your own team and giving them easy chances to score.”
The Celtics did not make a field goal during the first 6:39 of the fourth, but stayed within striking distance while the Clippers committed 11 of their 26 turnovers. Boston used a 10-0 run to turn a 93-80 deficit into a 100-99 lead with 46.1 seconds to play.
Rookie Marcus Banks made one of two free throws after a flagrant foul by House with 51.5 seconds left, giving Boston its first lead of the second half.
Dooling’s free throw tied the score, and teammate Corey Maggette rebounded a missed 22-footer by Pierce before calling timeout with 8.6 seconds on the clock. The ball was inbounded to House, who got off the winning shot from the right of the key despite intense pressure from Banks.
Richardson, was ejected by referee Jim Clark with 50.4 seconds left in the first quarter after the guard was whistled for fouling Davis.
The Celtics, down to 10 available players because of the trade, were leading 24-16 when Pierce missed a short jumper with 4:26 left in the opening quarter and landed hard on his back. The three-time All-Star—who strained his back during Thursday’s practice when Tony Massenburg ran into him—left the game less than a minute later and did not return until the start of the secondquarter.
Davis started 22 games this season for Cleveland before the Cavaliers dealt him to Boston on Dec. 15. … This was the ninth different startinglineup used by the Celtics.