National Basketball Association
Clippers-Celtics Preview
National Basketball Association

Clippers-Celtics Preview

Updated Mar. 4, 2020 10:04 p.m. ET

There might not be another team looking forward to the All-Star break more than the Los Angeles Clippers after surviving multiple health issues and an off-court distraction.

They've kept winning through it all, though.

The Clippers look to complete a perfect four-game road trip Wednesday night and beat Boston for the fifth straight time since Doc Rivers left the Celtics to coach Los Angeles 2 1/2 years ago.

Blake Griffin suffered a quad injury Christmas Day before breaking his hand in an altercation with a team trainer Jan. 23 in Toronto, but the Clippers (35-17) have gone 18-4 without him.


Rivers and owner Steve Ballmer on Tuesday announced a four-game suspension for Griffin that will begin when he's cleared and ready to play, finally giving a resolution to a situation that has drawn plenty of unwanted attention.

Reserve Austin Rivers broke his left hand last Wednesday against Minnesota, though, and is expected to be out four to six weeks. Los Angeles had its issues against lowly Philadelphia in its first game without him, but J.J. Redick and Jamal Crawford scored 23 points apiece in Monday's 98-92 overtime victory.

Chris Paul added 19 points, and DeAndre Jordan added 12 and 21 rebounds.

"We refuse to talk about injury," Doc Rivers said. "We refuse to make excuses… We come to win, that's the only thing we have to think about.

"We're becoming that team that no matter how it looks or the game is being played, we're finding ways at the end."

The Clippers look to head into the break by sweeping this four-game trip and winning on the road for the 13th time in 15 tries. Crawford especially has stepped up lately, averaging 22 points over his last five.

"I think it's a credit to Doc and his system," Crawford told the team's official website. "I think it's a credit to us believing in what he's doing, believing in each other. We just keep buying in together. Coach and his staff keep us focused, and we just take it game by game."

Rivers coached Boston (31-23) for nine seasons and won the 2008 NBA title before leaving to take over the Clippers in 2013-14. He was reunited with Paul Pierce this season when Pierce signed with Los Angeles, and the veteran is expected to play - possibly for the last time - at TD Garden after resting Monday.

The Clippers have won each of the four meetings since Rivers' arrival, including a 119-106 victory March 29 at Boston when Redick finished with 27 points and Paul added 21 and 10 assists.

Rivers' successor, Brad Stevens, has the Celtics sitting third in the Eastern Conference in his third season, and they had won four straight and nine of 10 before Tuesday's wild 112-111 loss at Milwaukee.

Jae Crowder and Avery Bradley scored 18 points apiece as Boston rallied from 18 points down in the fourth quarter, tying it with one second left on Kelly Olynyk's two free throws that resulted from a deadball foul on the alley-oop inbound attempt.

But Bradley inexplicably fouled Khris Middleton with 0.6 left, and Middleton hit a free throw to give the Bucks the win. Stevens refused to blame Bradley and instead praised Crowder, who has been bothered by an ankle injury and bounced back after scoring nine points while going 4 of 16 from the field over his previous two.

''He just wants to get better every single day," Stevens said. "His work ethic is terrific. He sets a good example.''

Boston is averaging 112 points during a seven-game home win streak.


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