Paul, Jordan lead Clippers past Celtics
LOS ANGELES >> Chris Paul's reward for posting a double-double was a trip to the bench, where he was quite happy to remain seated.
Paul had 13 points and 14 assists to go with DeAndre Jordan's 15 points and 13 rebounds, and the Los Angeles Clippers cruised to a 114-90 victory over the Boston Celtics on Monday night.
"It's great. It's amazing," Paul said. "Not only do we get a chance to rest, it's all about everybody getting into a rhythm and a flow. We have to make sure everybody has that as we get ready to play in the playoffs."
Clippers coach Doc Rivers was happy to limit Paul to 26 minutes one night after the point guard played just 23 against Denver.
"It's huge. Right after the All-Star break he played a ton of minutes," Rivers said. "I thought that was a tough stretch for him. Now, allowing him to play low minutes in back-to-back games, going on the road, it's good for us."
The Clippers got 67 points from their bench and racked up 29 assists on 44 field goals.
"I think our ball movement was what it was," Paul said. "Doc has a way of coming in the day after a game and telling us how many passes we made in the game. I'm sure tomorrow will be another one of those days when he tells us we made a lot of passes."
Los Angeles won its third in a row and moved 5 1/2 games ahead of Memphis, which lost to San Antonio on Monday night, for fourth place in the Western Conference with nine games to play. The Clippers clinched a playoff berth on Sunday.
Austin Rivers scored 16 points to lead the Clippers, who shot 52 percent. Jamal Crawford added 13, Wesley Johnson 11 and Jeff Green 10.
"I thought (the Clippers) deserved a lot of credit for the way they made shots, the way they made plays," said Boston coach Brad Stevens. "And then any time we got close we didn't play with any composure to back over the hump."
Isaiah Thomas scored 24 points and Avery Bradley and Marcus Smart each added 13 for the Celtics, who shot just 35 percent and had a four-game winning snapped.
Jared Sullinger added nine points and 11 rebounds for Boston.
"I think it is natural for a young team to try and make up a deficit with 'home run plays,' Bradley said. "We were out there playing 1-on-1 basketball, and that's not the kind of team we want to be."
The loss dropped the Celtics, one of four teams separated by two games in a fight for Nos. 3-6 in the Eastern Conference standings, to fifth place, a half-game behind Miami. The Heat beat Brooklyn on Monday night.
Ahead 30-26 in the second quarter, the Clippers ran off a 22-8 burst, taking a 52-34 lead on Rivers' 3-pointer with 4:47 left in the half. The Clippers led 67-50 at halftime shooting 59 percent, 64 percent on 3-pointers.
The Celtics fought within 79-68, only to see the Clippers reel off 13 of the game's next 15 points. Los Angeles took a 92-70 lead on Crawford's second of back-to-back 3-pointers with 33 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
PIERCE IN PAIN
Paul Pierce was removed from the game with 2:06 left in the second quarter after scoring on a driving finger roll. He sprained his right ankle and bruised his right knee on the play, according to the Clippers. He did not return.
In their first meeting on Feb. 10, each team's last game before the NBA All-Star break, the Clippers beat the Celtics 139-134 in overtime.
"Brad and I were laughing," Rivers said. "We said our defense went on All-Star break a day early."
Boston: Jae Crowder, sidelined by a high ankle sprain since March 11, missed his eighth straight game. ... The Celtics have three more games on this West Coast road trip. ... There was plenty of green at Staples Center. Several times during the first half, the chant, "Let's go Celtics!" broke out.
Los Angeles: All 13 Clippers who appeared in the game scored at least 2 points. ... On the Clippers' first 11 baskets, Paul assisted on seven and scored three others. He had a double-double (10 points, 10 assists) with 2:06 left in the first half.
Boston: At Portland on Thursday.
Los Angeles: At Minnesota on Wednesday.
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