Clippers 92, Celtics 90
For the first 47 1/2 minutes, Rajon Rondo was quicker, sharper
and smoother than Baron Davis.
In the final seconds, the Boston youngster just couldn’t match
the bearded one’s California cool.
Davis hit a long fallaway jumper at the buzzer after Rondo
missed two free throws 1.5 seconds earlier, and the Los Angeles
Clippers dramatically snapped the Celtics’ nine-game road winning
streak with a 92-90 victory on Sunday night.
Davis had 24 points and 13 assists for the Clippers, whose
three-game losing streak ended when Davis took an inbounds pass
with a second left, pivoted and hopped backward for a perfect
22-footer while drawing a little contact from Rondo, giving Los
Angeles its only lead of the second half.
Davis knows drama, as he proved during his thrill-filled tenure
with the Golden State Warriors before joining the Clippers last
“I’m used to taking them and making them,” Davis said with a
shrug. “I’ve been in that situation before. Every time I get in
that situation, I feel like I can make that shot. You’ve just got
to prepare your mind for it when you go out there to take that
On the verge of a fourth straight loss that would have dropped
them a season-worst six games below .500, the Clippers erased an
11-point deficit against the team with the NBA’s second-best record
and just one loss in its previous 15 games. Los Angeles tied it
when Rasual Butler hit a 3-pointer off a drive-and-dish pass from
Davis with 8.5 seconds left.
Rondo scored 20 points in another impressive offensive game for
the Celtics, but his free throw woes – he’s hovering near 53
percent for the season – cost the Celtics dearly. After drawing a
foul from Davis, his two misses were actually three, including
another shot that was waved off in between the two that
“I made it tough,” Rondo said. “We just didn’t execute down
the stretch. I felt confidence shooting them. I wasn’t antsy or
nervous. I took my time and I kept my follow-through up. But the
first one was just long, and the second one was long.”
Davis then had a Jimmy Chitwood moment, although his
“Hoosiers”-style declaration didn’t surprise anybody in the
“Baron said, ‘Coach, draw it up and I will make this,”’ coach
Mike Dunleavy said. “He told us to give him the ball, so we draw
up a play and it paid off.”
Eric Gordon scored 15 points for the underachieving Clippers,
who stunned their first sellout crowd of the season with their
comeback. Staples Center was filled with a large percentage of
Boston fans, yet the home team rebounded just in time from its
worst loss of the season in Phoenix on Friday.
Kevin Garnett had 12 points and eight rebounds while playing
mostly on the perimeter with a sore back for the Celtics, whose
three-game winning streak ended two days after their impressive
Christmas victory over the Orlando Magic. Boston managed just two
points in the final 3:30 of its second straight road loss to the
Clippers, who got 27 points and 12 rebounds from Chris Kaman.
Ray Allen scored 13 points for the Celtics, who played without
injured star Paul Pierce for the second straight game. The Celtics
hadn’t lost on the road since Nov. 14 at Indiana.
“The free throws didn’t bother me, honestly,” Celtics coach
Doc Rivers said. “I would love for Rondo to make the free throws,
but I thought, for a veteran team, we played with absolutely zero
composure … We just didn’t play like a veteran basketball team,
and I thought it was more composure than anything else.”
The loss also left the Lakers alone atop the overall NBA
standings at 24-5.
After the Clippers missed several chances to tie it in the final
minutes when Boston’s offense stalled, Davis drove the lane and
dished to Butler for a wide-open tying 3-pointer. Rondo then blew
past Davis, who clearly hacked him on the arm during a layup
attempt. The game clock expired during the play, but officials put
1.5 seconds back on the clock after video review, setting up
Rondo’s misses and Davis’ heroics.
Rivers doesn’t expect Pierce to join the Celtics on their
four-game road trip, keeping him home to rest his infected right
knee. Rivers said the Los Angeles native’s condition fluctuates,
and nobody is certain whether Pierce will play even when the
Celtics return home.
Marcus Camby was inactive for the Clippers after aggravating his
hyperextended left knee in their Christmas night loss at Phoenix.
Dunleavy isn’t certain when he’ll be back.
NOTES: Tony Allen replaced Pierce in the starting lineup for the
second straight game, while Jordan filled in for Camby in his first
start of the season. … The Clippers won a two-point decision over
the Celtics at Staples Center last season. … Rapper/actor Common
and electro-hop band LMFAO watched the game near courtside.