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The Boston Celtics are just full of surprises these days. After a disappointing late loss to the Lakers on Sunday, they defeated the Los Angeles Clippers late Monday night 94-85 in a highlight-filled second-game of a back-to-back.
The teams exchanged significant leads throughout the contest, including two dramatic 9-0 runs by the Celtics and a 17-3 run by the Clippers, all in the fourth quarter.
Los Angeles finished their impressive comeback-run in the fourth with an unexpected three-point shot from Bobby Simmons, extending the Clippers lead to 78-74. The Celtics followed with their second 9-0 run, capped with a three of their own from Paul Pierce. The Celtics captain finished with a game-high 25 points. The Clippers managed to keep up with the Celtics heading into the final minute, but couldn’t overcome the deficit.
Los Angeles got their biggest production unexpectedly off the bench from Mo Williams, who finished with 21 points. Big man Blake Griffin added 24 of his own, and rebound machine DeAndre Jordan was a beast all night long, as he went at it with Kevin Garnett and the other C’s bigs and grabbed 8 offensive boards.
Though a close game throughout, the two teams played very different styles. The high-flying Clippers couldn’t get their fast-paced offense going early, allowing the Celtics to take an early lead. The Celtics held their ground defensively and complimented it by shooting nearly 50 percent from the floor.
The Clippers big fourth-quarter run included quick scores running up and down the court, but their overall 37-percent shooting hurt them in the long run. The big-name point guard match up between Rajon Rondo and Chris Paul was pretty quiet, as neither point guard played their best, though Rondo finished with 12 points and 10 assists for a double-double.
This was a big one for the Celtics. They kept up with a much younger and more athletic Clippers team after losing several times to other such teams previously. But more importantly, it could greatly impact how the team handles the upcoming trading deadline. Perhaps Danny Ainge saw enough from this victory to make a move or two more geared towards this season instead of future ones.
Boston gets a much deserved night off before they return to action on Wednesday night against the Golden State Warriors.