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Clippers-Celtics Preview

Clippers-Celtics Preview
Kevin Garnett wasn't in uniform when the Boston Celtics were upset by the Los Angeles Clippers last month.

Back from a knee injury that sidelined him in that contest, the All-Star forward could see some extended minutes when the host Celtics look for a fourth straight victory Monday night against the lowly Clippers.

Minus Garnett, Boston (53-18) lost 93-91 at Los Angeles on Feb. 25. The Clippers have won just two of 12 games since, but some players referred to that victory as a certain bright spot during a dismal 17-53 season.

"It was one of those games that you cherish," said Los Angeles guard Baron Davis, who had 16 points in that game.

In order to pull off a second straight upset of Boston, Los Angeles must deal with Garnett, who has posted 10 points and four rebounds in each of his two games - totaling 32 minutes - since missing 13 with a right knee strain.

With Boston having already secured the Atlantic Division title and 4 1/2 games behind Eastern Conference-leading Cleveland, coach Doc Rivers has limited Garnett's minutes. He said Garnett could see an increase in time for this contest.

"We didn't want to do it (Saturday), so we'll just wait," Rivers said before Boston's 105-87 win at Memphis on Saturday."

Garnett is third on the team averaging 16.1 points with 8.6 rebounds and had 11 and six boards in a 104-76 win at Los Angeles on Feb. 25, 2008 in his only game against the Clippers since coming to Boston.

Leading scorer Paul Pierce had 20 points at Los Angeles last month for Boston, which committed 20 turnovers and was outscored 56-22 in the paint in that game.

Averaging 20.3 points this season, Pierce had just six Saturday after finishing with nine in an 80-77 win at San Antonio on Friday. He's gone 5-for-22 from the field in his last two games after shooting 57.4 percent and scoring 73 total points in his previous two contests.

Pierce's teammates picked him up against Memphis. Ray Allen scored 20 points, while Glen Davis had a career-high 24 and Eddie House added 15 off the bench for Boston, which shot 56.2 percent.

"Offensively, we're going to our second and third options when teams take us out of our first option," said Boston guard Rajon Rondo, who had nine points with 10 assists versus the Grizzlies.

The Celtics could again look to their bench against Los Angeles, which fell 100-76 at Toronto on Sunday for its eighth consecutive road loss. The Clippers are 7-27 away from home and haven't won on the road since a 121-97 victory at Atlanta on Feb. 7.

Zach Randolph had 20 points for the Clippers, who shot 38.7 percent and were outrebounded 57-34 by the Raptors.

"Other than Zach Randolph, our starters couldn't really make shots," Los Angeles coach Mike Dunleavy said. "I'm disappointed, I thought we got outworked."

Randolph is averaging 21.3 points in 31 games since being traded to Los Angeles from New York. He had 30 and 12 rebounds last month against Boston.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: March 23, 2009


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