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Celtics vs. Clippers preview: Boston starts road trip from Staples Center in Los Angeles

Rajon Rondo and the Boston Celtics (14-13) square off against Chris Paul and the Los Angeles Clippers (22-6) at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

The Boston Celtics will take their talents out West for the first time in the 2012-13 NBA regular season when they match up with the hottest team in the league, Los Angeles Clippers, Thursday at 10:30 pm ET from Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA.

Boston's trip out to the West Coast won't be enjoyable as they meet up with two of the top five teams in the Western Conference on their three-game tilt– Clippers and Golden State Warriors in back-to-back games.

The Celtics will be led by Paul Pierce, who has scored 35 or more points in two of the last three games. But the focus will be on how Boston's undersized interior defends electric big men, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan of Los Angeles, as well as the premier point guard matchup between Rajon Rondo and Chris Paul.

The red-hot Clippers are on a league-best 16-game win streak, led by Griffin's 18 points per game. The star forward hasn't scored fewer than 13 points since the end of November and has recorded six double-doubles in the month of December alone.

Rondo and Paul, however, will surely take center stage on the evening. The two stud guards rank No. 1 and 2 in assists per game, with 11.9 and 9.5 respectively. Long known for his all-around game, Paul will be tested by Rondo's newfound shooting stroke and energy with the veteran Celtics.

After losing all three games on their most recent road trip, and four of their last six, the Celtics are desperate for a statement win on the early season.

Winning against the streaking Clippers might just be enough to calm some of the nerves off Causeway Street.

Boston will also match up with the Warriors and Sacramento Kings on the road trip, before traveling back home after New Years.

Next Game

Boston Celtics
@ Los Angeles Clippers

Thursday, Dec 27, 2012, 10:30 PM EST

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