Clippers turn 13-point deficit into big win over Celtics

The Clippers' bench had been tasked with providing deliverance against the Boston Celtics.

With super-sub Jamal Crawford acting as the conductor for the entire group, the Clippers dominated the second half and pulled off a 116-102 win over the Celtics on Monday night at Staples Center.


Crawford had 17 of his 19 points after halftime to help the Clippers win their second straight game. He also had five assists.

He was four for five from three-point range, one of them resulting in a four-point play in the fourth quarter when Crawford was fouled and made the free throw.

The only Clippers starter on the court with a charged-up reserve unit when they took control in the fourth quarter was DeAndre Jordan.

Jordan (15 points, 12 rebounds) took his cue from Crawford, Austin Rivers (seven points), Raymond Felton (nine) and Wesley Johnson (two), the substitutes who built an 18-point lead in the fourth along with their All-Star center.

Later, it was Blake Griffin (26 points) joining the bench squad late in the fourth quarter.

The Clippers scored 41 points in the fourth, and outscored Boston 73-56 in the second half.

"That second unit was great," Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said. "I stuck with them a long time. That was good for us too. Anytime we can win a game and get guys down in minutes, it's never a bad thing."

Early in the fourth quarter, Crawford dribbled the ball up court, sized up his young defender, James Young, and waved off a screen from Jordan.

This was how Crawford's teammates knew he was cooking and ready to dish out more punishment to Boston. And he did, pulling up for a 19-foot jumper that gave the Clippers an 84-76 lead and forced the Celtics to call a timeout.

"When I'm more aggressive, I think that helps," Crawford said. "I think by nature all five of us are unselfish, even though we're scorers. The ball just kind of hops around. When I'm aggressive, I think that kind of sets the tone and I think that's what we kind of figured out."

Crawford had started his assault in the third quarter, when he scored nine points.

He'd been watching one of his best friends from their hometown of Seattle, Isaiah Thomas, put on a show in front of a large contingent of Celtics fans who applauded and cheered everything the visiting team did.

The Boston fans were even bold enough to chant "M-V-P" when Thomas stepped to the free-throw line. Thomas, second in the NBA with a 29.5-point scoring average, had 32 points Monday.

In the first game between the teams last month, the Celtics squeezed off 52 three-point shots, making 16 in a 107-102 victory.


So the point of emphasis for the Clippers on Monday was to run the Celtics off the three-point line, or at least make it a more difficult shot.

By the half, the Celtics had attempted 24 three-pointers, making just six.

The Clippers were just two for six from three-point range in the first half, but they stayed in the game behind an aggressive Chris Paul, who scored 16 of his 23 points in the first two periods, keeping the Clippers within 46-43 at the half.

The Clippers went down by 13 in the third quarter, but surged to a 75-71 lead entering the fourth.

They did it behind the big-time shooting of Crawford, who made back-to-back three-pointers to get the Clippers to within one point.

Griffin then scored to put them ahead, and Marreese Speights took a charge from Marcus Smart, giving the Clippers the ball back and bringing the fans to life.

When Crawford made another three-pointer for that four-point Clippers lead at the end of the third, the fans were delirious.

"Jamal has a great rhythm," Doc Rivers said. "Our guys are finding him, making sure he ends up with the ball."

Twitter: @BA_Turner