BOSTON (AP) – Mo Williams scored 28 points and the Los Angeles Clippers withstood a late Boston surge to beat the Celtics 108-103 on Wednesday night for their fourth straight win despite a mediocre performance by Blake Griffin.
The Clippers took their biggest lead 65-42 two minutes into the third quarter. They still led 84-68 with 10:28 left in the game before the Celtics went on a 15-2 run that closed the gap to 86-83 on a jumper by Kevin Garnett with 5:39 remaining.
Los Angeles increased that to 104-93, but Boston had one last comeback, scoring the next seven points to make it 104-100. But it came no closer.
Williams scored the most points in his five games since being traded by the Cleveland Cavaliers. DeAndre Jordan had 21 points for the Clippers, while Griffin managed just 12 points as he missed 10 of 14 shots.
The Celtics were led by Ray Allen with 23 points, Nenad Krstic with 20 and Paul Pierce with 19. They lost for the first time in six games since obtaining Krstic and Jeff Green in a trade with Oklahoma City.
The Celtics trailed 60-42 at halftime as the Clippers outshot them 67.6 to 40 percent, despite only six points and one rebound from Griffin.
Los Angeles took its 65-42 lead when Ryan Gomes started the third quarter with a 3-pointer and Randy Foye got a basket on a goaltending call against Garnett.
But Boston came back, finishing the quarter with an 11-3 run. A layup by Green with 2.1 seconds remaining cut the lead to 76-66 heading into the final period. That didn’t start well for Boston, as Los Angeles scored the first six points. Two free throws by Krstic and a basket by Los Angeles’ Eric Bledsoe made it 84-68. That’s when the Celtics went on their first big run that had the fans on their feet, clapping loudly.
Krstic scored the first five points in that surge before Chris Kaman hit a jumper for the Clippers. Then Boston scored the next 10 and, suddenly, it was 86-83 with nearly half a quarter to go.
But Los Angeles responded with an 18-10 spurt in which Williams had nine points on two 3-pointers and three free throws, making it 104-93. After Boston cut that to 104-100, Pierce missed a 3-pointer and Jordan hit two free throws. Allen then sank a 3-pointer with 10 seconds to go, giving Boston hope at 106-103. But Foye was fouled and made both free throws before Pierce threw up a desperation 3-pointer that missed badly.
Notes: The Clippers’ 60 points in the first half were the second-most against the Celtics in any half this season. Boston
allowed 61 points in a half in three other games. … The Celtics were called for defensive 3-second violations twice in the first half. … The Clippers tried to get fancy at the end of the first half, but Williams’ alley-oop pass was several feet too high for even Griffin. … Eric Gordon, the Clippers’ top scorer, missed his second straight game with a fracture and a sprain in his right wrist. … For Boston, Glen Davis sat out his third game with a strained left patella tendon and Delonte West missed his fifth with a sprained right ankle.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)