The Clippers finally got even with Dominique Wilkins, who predicted that the Clippers would break the NBA record for most losses in a season.
The Clippers ensured themselves of no worse than a tie for the record Friday night, beating the Celtics, 127-121, in double overtime for their ninth victory before an announced crowd of 8,805 at the Sports Arena.
Guard Malik Sealy had 28 points and forward Loy Vaught had 25 points and 16 rebounds for the Clippers. Guard Pooh Richardson had 22 points and 10 assists as the Clippers swept the Celtics for the first time in franchise history.
"Yes, it (Wilkins' statement) motivated us," Clipper forward Harold Ellis said. "That's the first time we ever swept Boston."
Richardson agreed, saying, "I know in the beginning it looked kind of bad, but we've improved a lot and we've still got a long way to go.
When the Clippers arrived before the game, they found an enlarged copy of Wilkins' quote--"I think that they're going to set the record, I honestly do"--inside their stalls.
"This is our motivation," said Clipper guard Randy Woods, holding up a copy of Wilkins' statement. "It's in quotes, right there. So, you figure we need two wins (to avoid setting the record for most losses in a season). We're going to start tonight on Boston."
Wilkins, booed at Boston Garden after scoring only two points in a nine-point loss to the Clippers last month, scored 23 this time, including 21 after halftime.
Wilkins banked in a three-pointer from the top of the key with 2.6 seconds remaining in regulation to send the game into overtime, 99-99. He celebrated by pumping his fists and running around the court.
With the Clippers trailing, 111-109, in the first overtime after Wilkins' free throw with 22 seconds remaining, Clipper forward Eric Piatkowski tipped in a miss by Richardson with 1.7 seconds remaining to force a second overtime.
The Clippers controlled this one, outscoring the Celtics 16-10.
Center Eric Montross had 28 points and nine rebounds and forward Dino Radja had 22 points and 12 rebounds for the Celtics.
Wilkins, who signed an $11-million, three-year contract with Boston after the Clippers' rejected his demand for a $21-million, three-year deal, said his gripe is with Clipper management, not the players.
"You have some good guys who are fun to play with," Wilkins said.
And the Clippers played hard in the rematch, refusing to fold in the first overtime after falling behind by five points in the first 3:40.
Clipper forward Loy Vaught set a team-record by playing 58 minutes. . . . Clipper guard Gary Grant sat out the second half with a strained lower back. . . . Clipper center Tony Massenburg, who sprained his right thumb in Tuesday night's loss at Houston, was in uniform but did not play.