Celtics slip past Clippers 95-89
Paul Pierce(notes) scored 22 points and Rajon Rondo(notes) had 16 points and 12 assists, leading the Celtics to a 95-89 win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night in a game played on a TD Garden floor that had to be continually wiped because of condensation.
“The first seven, eight minutes I didn’t think we were going to even finish the game,” Rivers said. “I was nervous, though. I really was.”
The sometimes-slippery parquet floor forced the ball boys to mop one end while play was going on at the other for most of the game. Early in the game, a few players slipped, causing a brief delay with 2:28 left in the first quarter.
Rivers and Los Angeles coach Mike Dunleavy spoke about the conditions early in the game.
“Mike and I came together, if anybody else slipped in the next two minutes the game was going to be canceled,” Rivers said. “We, at that point, were very close. Mike said the same thing, `We can’t afford to get a guy injured on this floor.”’
“It was wet,” said Rondo, who shared a postgame podium with Garnett.
Garnett played 30 minutes and scored 17 points, while being the center of the defense.
“I think I’m just talking,” Garnett said of his defensive presence. “I’m trying to bring a continued awareness of defense, a continued awareness of energy.”
It was the Celtics’ second straight win after they lost four of five games.
Dunleavy knew the floor was a problem before the start.
“Our guys complained about it before we even played the game, guys were at risk and you hate for that to be the case,” he said. “We kept having to go out and wipe it. There were three kids on each end trying to wipe it. It must have been better because I didn’t see guys—we had four guys in the first quarter slip.”
Both teams shot under 37 percent in the opening 12 minutes.
“We were all slipping. It seemed like every Clipper was slipping, then when Ray Allen slips, they want to bring it in and address the issue, so that’s what we were chirping about,” he said. “It was kind of dangerous out there for both teams.”
Los Angeles, which snapped an eight-game road losing streak at Washington Sunday, fell to 6-15 on the road.
Boston opened a 71-61 edge on Tony Allen’s(notes) steal and breakaway layup with just under 11 minutes to play before Smith scored either from the floor or free throw line on seven straight possessions, closing the gap to 77-73 with 5:43 left.
But Pierce answered with a 3-pointer, pushing the Celtics lead to seven.
The Clippers never closed the gap to below four points the rest of the way.
The Celtics, who trailed by one at halftime, opened the third quarter by scoring the first six points to move ahead 49-44. They pushed their lead to 58-50 on Rondo’s driving basket midway into the quarter and led 64-59 after three.
NOTES: Clippers G Eric Gordon(notes) was sidelined for his third straight game with a sprained left big toe. … Boston Celtics F Glen “Big Baby” Davis said before the game that he’s looking to change his image and wants to drop his nickname. … The Clippers have not won consecutive road games this season. … Rivers said he’ll know more Tuesday when F Brian Scalabrine(notes) will return from a sore right shoulder, which sidelined him for the second game in a row.