Pierce, Posey lead Celtics’ well-balanced scoring in 104-76 rout of Clippers

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LOS ANGELES (AP)—Their longest losing skid of the season behind them, the Celtics head back to Boston with a modest two-game winning streak.

“We started out with three tough games against three quality opponents and we faced some adversity, but we didn’t waiver from what we’ve been wanting to do and what our goals were,” the Celtics’ Ray Allen said after Boston routed the Los Angeles Clippers 104-76.

“The last game of a road trip is always the toughest game because you have a tendency of wanting to be back home.”

Boston began the season 16-0 against Western Conference teams, but went 2-3 in their five-game road trip, losing at Denver, Golden State and Phoenix before beating Portland and the Clippers.

The Celtics, who have an NBA-best 43-12 record, had virtually no trouble rolling over the injury-decimated Clippers. Paul Pierce and James Posey had 17 points each in Boston’s well-balanced offense, and Allen added 15.

Allen said he and his teammates weren’t going to take the Clippers lightly, despite all their missing players.

“They were on the mend and had some guys out, but we didn’t want to change anything we were doing,” he said. “We’ve been trying to get back to playing the type of basketball we want to play. So we didn’t look at this team any differently than if they had all their guys in the starting lineup.”

Boston coach Doc Rivers called it a “professional win.”

“The Clippers had so many guys out, and I thought we just needed to have a great focus and our guys did that. It’s good to get this last win before going back home.”

Kevin Garnett had 11 points, six rebounds and four assists in 24 minutes for the Celtics, who moved in front for good five minutes into the game.

Both teams used reserves for most of the fourth quarter.

Tim Thomas scored 14 points for the Clippers, and Corey Maggette had 10.

The Clippers again were without center Chris Kaman, who missed his second straight game because of a sore lower back, and point guard Sam Cassell sat out his third straight with a sprained right wrist.

Los Angeles coach Mike Dunleavy gave the Celtics their due.

“They overpowered us with size and they shot the ball well from the 3-point line, so they stretched the court,” he said. “I think they defend well, for sure. They are a very physical team and they get after it. Even when we had decent looks, we struggled to make shots. It was an extremely tough game for us. We didn’t play well.”

The 28-point victory was by six points the Celtics’ biggest margin ever on the Clippers’ home court.

Pierce’s 3-pointer two minutes into the second half gave Boston a 52-38 lead and made him the first player on either side to reach double figures. The Celtics pulled away to a 77-57 lead by the end of the third quarter.

Boston methodically opened a 45-36 by halftime after leading 23-17 at the end of the first quarter.

Notes

The win over the Clippers gave the Celtics their first Los Angeles sweep against the Clippers and Lakers since the 2001-2002 season. .. Kaman had 14 points, nine rebounds and three blocks in 36 minutes of the Clippers’ 114-104 win over Utah on Friday, then sat out their 113-95 loss to the Lakers the following night. … Los Angeles is 1-6 this season when Kaman isn’t in the lineup.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 Boston
R. Allen Ray Allen
6-12,  15 Pts
4 Rebs, 7 Assists
 LA Clippers
T. Thomas Tim Thomas
5-16,  15 Pts
9 Rebs, 2 Assists

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Rebounds
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Monday, Feb 25