The Boston Celtics saw a 19-point halftime lead wither away in the second half but a big three-pointer from Paul Pierce helped them hold on for their fourth straight win.
The Boston Celtics won for the fourth straight time without the injured Rajon Rondo, defeating the Los Angeles Clippers, 106-104. Paul Pierce's pull-up three-pointer with just 2.5 seconds remaining put the game out of reach for the Celtics, who at one point led by as many as 19 points. The win puts Boston back above the .500 mark on the season at 24-23.
Boston jumped out to that 19-point lead at halftime, when the score was 59-40. The Celtics held Los Angeles to just 10 points in the second quarter. The Clippers began to chip away in the second half behind the play of Eric Bledsoe and Jamal Crawford. Turnovers played a big part in the Celtics building the big lead and they played a huge part in the Los Angelas comeback. Boston had just five turnovers in the first half, but finished the game with 17.
Los Angeles cut the Boston lead to two on a three by Bledsoe with 56 seconds remaining. Los Angeles had a chance to tie on their next possession, but Crawford was whistled for an offensive foul on Boston's Avery Bradley. That set the stage for Pierce's heroics at the end.
Pierce led the Celtics with 22 points on 7-of-16 shooting, but none were bigger than that final three. Kevin Garnett added 12 points and 5 rebounds. Boston got a big lift from its bench with 14 points each from Jeff Green and Leandro Barbosa. Jason Terry also pitched in 13 off the bench for the Celtics.
Blake Griffin and Bledsoe led the way for the Clippers with a pair of double-doubles. Bledsoe finished with 23 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds. Griffin added 20 points and 11 boards. Crawford did most of his damage in the second half finishing with 23 points off the bench while Caron Butler had a strong game with 18.
Chris Paul missed his seventh straight game with a knee bruise and the Clippers have gone just 2-5 during that span.