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Celtics down Clippers 113-102 to snap 4-game skid

LOS ANGELES (AP) The Boston Celtics refused to panic, even as the Eastern Conference leaders were staring at a four-game losing streak.

One night after falling to the lowly Los Angeles Lakers, they returned to Staples Center to remind everyone why they're among the NBA's best at 35-14. The Celtics' defense hounded the Clippers all night, forcing 19 turnovers and holding them to 44.3 percent shooting in a 113-102 victory on Wednesday night.

''This is a hard league,'' Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. ''You're going to have your ups and downs. We were really fortunate to win 16 games in a row earlier this year. We could have lost about 11 of them. Sometimes things go your way, sometimes they don't.''

They were back to going the Celtics' way Wednesday night.

''They do a good job defending, but we got some good shots, some wide-open shots, and just missed,'' Clippers forward Blake Griffin said.

Griffin led all scorers with 23 points, but after the first quarter, the Celtics forced him to settle for the outside shot. Griffin was just 1 of 7 from 3-point range.

The Celtics countered with five players scoring in double-figures, led by Kyrie Irving's 20 points and Jayson Tatum's 18.

''Our guys, for the first time in a while, got a little disbanded by their ball movement and attack,'' Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. ''They have so many athletes, they really like targeting some of our guys with footspeed.''

Terry Rozier added 15 points off the bench for Boston, and Marcus Morris also had 15.

''It felt like we were getting a lot from a lot of people,'' Stevens said. ''Offensively, this was one of our better games. The way we moved the ball and shared. That was encouraging.''

The Celtics made 14 3-pointers, though it took them 40 attempts. Irving also led the team in assists (seven) and tied for the lead in rebounds (eight).

TIP-INS

Celtics: C Al Horford hit his head in a loose-ball scramble in the closing seconds against the Lakers on Tuesday, but the team said he did not suffer a concussion. Horford, who has had concussions in the past, was held out against the Clippers as a precaution. ... G Marcus Smart was also out after cutting his hand on broken glass at the team hotel Wednesday and needing stitches. The team said it is investigating the incident.

Clippers: C DeAndre Jordan returned after missing five games with a left ankle sprain. By playing Wednesday, he tied Randy Smith (715) for most games played in team history. ... F Danilo Gallinari said his glute injury is improving, but there is still no timetable for his return. He has not played since Dec. 9th, and has played in only two games since Nov. 5th.

JORDAN RETURN

Jordan finished with 15 points and 14 rebounds, playing 31 minutes.

''I thought he looked OK,'' Rivers said. ''I didn't think he was explosive. He had a couple of dunks, but you could see he was ready to play, but he clearly wasn't 100 percent.

''He didn't roll a lot tonight, which is part of our offensive package. He didn't get behind the defense a lot tonight, but I was happy to have him on the floor.''

THAT'S PROGRESS

Stevens was pleased with the way the Celtics battled the Clippers inside. Despite missing Horford, they outrebounded Los Angeles 47-40.

''Defensively, I thought we did as good a job as we could holding our ground,'' he said. ''It was good we battled the way we did. We needed to. We didn't do enough the last couple of games.''

UP NEXT

Celtics: Play the third of their four-game trip Saturday at Golden State.

Clippers: Opens a two-game road trip Friday in Memphis.

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Key Players
K. Irving
11 PG
L. Williams
23 SG
32.2 Min. Per Game 32.2
23.3 Pts. Per Game 23.3
5.1 Ast. Per Game 5.1
2.6 Reb. Per Game 2.6
47.7 Field Goal % 44.8
47.6 Three Point % 44.8
88.8 Free Throw % 90.0
  Bad pass turnover on Sam Dekker, stolen by Jarell Eddie 0:22
  Defensive rebound by Sam Dekker 0:28
  Abdel Nader missed 3-pt. jump shot 0:33
+ 2 Sam Dekker made dunk, assist by Willie Reed 0:48
  Defensive rebound by Willie Reed 0:58
  Aron Baynes missed jump shot 1:01
  Defensive rebound by Abdel Nader 1:15
  Montrezl Harrell missed fade-away jump shot 1:17
  Defensive rebound by Willie Reed 1:28
  Marcus Morris missed jump shot 1:32
+ 3 Wesley Johnson made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Sindarius Thornwell 1:53
Team Stats
Points 113 102
Field Goals 39-93 (41.9%) 35-79 (44.3%)
3-Pointers 14-40 (35.0%) 5-21 (23.8%)
Free Throws 21-22 (95.5%) 27-39 (69.2%)
Total Rebounds 53 58
Offensive 10 10
Defensive 37 30
Team 6 18
Assists 25 26
Steals 10 6
Blocks 3 5
Turnovers 13 19
Fouls 28 15
Technicals 2 1
20 PTS, 8 REB, 7 AST
23 PTS, 5 REB, 3 AST
1234T
away team logo Celtics 35-14 25372922113
home team logo Clippers 23-24 22332225102
Team Stats
away team logo Celtics 35-14 101.4 PPG 41.7 RPG 21.2 APG
home team logo Clippers 23-24 PPG RPG APG
Key Players
K. Irving PG 24.4 PPG 3.8 RPG 5.1 APG 49.1 FG%
B. Griffin PF PPG RPG APG FG%
Top Scorers
K. Irving PG 20 PTS 8 REB 7 AST
B. Griffin PF 23 PTS 5 REB 3 AST
41.9 FG% 44.3
35.0 3PT FG% 23.8
95.5 FT% 69.2
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
K. Irving 28 20 8 7 1 0 1 0 7/16 2/8 4/4 0 8 42 +2
J. Tatum 33 18 6 3 1 0 2 2 7/16 2/4 2/2 1 5 29 +6
M. Morris 27 15 2 2 1 0 3 4 5/13 3/9 2/2 2 0 19 -1
A. Baynes 24 12 6 1 0 0 1 5 6/8 0/0 0/0 1 5 19 +3
J. Brown 28 9 8 2 2 0 3 4 2/10 0/3 5/6 2 6 20 +6
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
K. Irving 28 20 8 7 1 0 1 0 7/16 2/8 4/4 0 8 42 +2
J. Tatum 33 18 6 3 1 0 2 2 7/16 2/4 2/2 1 5 29 +6
M. Morris 27 15 2 2 1 0 3 4 5/13 3/9 2/2 2 0 19 -1
A. Baynes 24 12 6 1 0 0 1 5 6/8 0/0 0/0 1 5 19 +3
J. Brown 28 9 8 2 2 0 3 4 2/10 0/3 5/6 2 6 20 +6
Bench MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
T. Rozier 23 15 3 4 2 0 0 1 4/10 1/4 6/6 1 2 28 +19
S. Ojeleye 17 8 5 0 1 0 1 5 3/5 2/3 0/0 2 3 13 +8
D. Theis 23 8 8 2 1 2 0 5 2/4 2/3 2/2 1 7 23 +10
S. Larkin 23 5 0 4 0 1 2 1 2/9 1/4 0/0 0 0 12 +3
A. Nader 7 3 1 0 0 0 0 1 1/2 1/2 0/0 0 1 4 +4
J. Eddie 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 0 1 -5
A. Horford - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
G. Hayward - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Bird - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
M. Smart - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
K. Allen - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
G. Yabusele - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 235 113 47 25 10 3 13 28 39/93 14/40 21/22 10 37 210 +55
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
B. Griffin 33 23 5 3 2 0 2 0 8/21 1/7 6/7 0 5 34 -11
D. Jordan 30 15 14 1 0 0 4 3 4/5 0/0 7/13 5 9 27 -2
T. Wallace 33 13 2 1 1 0 1 2 6/11 1/1 0/2 0 2 17 -12
W. Johnson 34 10 4 4 2 4 0 0 4/7 2/3 0/0 0 4 28 0
M. Teodosic 24 2 3 6 0 0 2 1 1/6 0/3 0/0 1 2 15 -10
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
B. Griffin 33 23 5 3 2 0 2 0 8/21 1/7 6/7 0 5 34 -11
D. Jordan 30 15 14 1 0 0 4 3 4/5 0/0 7/13 5 9 27 -2
T. Wallace 33 13 2 1 1 0 1 2 6/11 1/1 0/2 0 2 17 -12
W. Johnson 34 10 4 4 2 4 0 0 4/7 2/3 0/0 0 4 28 0
M. Teodosic 24 2 3 6 0 0 2 1 1/6 0/3 0/0 1 2 15 -10
Bench MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
L. Williams 33 20 1 7 1 1 4 2 6/18 1/7 7/9 0 1 33 -8
M. Harrell 17 10 7 1 0 0 3 5 4/7 0/0 2/2 4 3 16 -9
S. Dekker 14 7 2 1 0 0 2 0 2/4 0/0 3/4 0 2 9 0
S. Thornwell 16 2 0 1 0 0 1 2 0/0 0/0 2/2 0 0 3 -8
W. Reed 2 0 2 1 0 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 2 4 +5
D. Gallinari - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
P. Beverley - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
A. Rivers - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
B. Johnson - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
C. Williams - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Evans - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 236 102 40 26 6 5 19 15 35/79 5/21 27/39 10 30 186 -55