Rajon Rondo had 10 points, six assists and five rebounds as the Boston Celtics (14-14) fell to the Los Angeles Clippers (23-6), 106-77, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA.
Boston started their three-game road trip out West to close out 2012 by traveling to Los Angeles, to meet with the streaking Clippers.
With all the talk about "Lob City" and the Clippers' ability to play above the rim, it was their defense and outside shooting that carried them throughout the first half.
Los Angeles only scored eight of their 30 points in the first quarter inside the paint. They finished the half with 26 of their 60 points in the paint though, as Blake Griffin led the charge with 14 points.
While the Clippers got to the rim with ease, the Celtics couldn't maneuver their way inside.
Boston was crisp with their passes through the first half, but the Los Angeles defense controlled the paint and the pace.The Clippers forced nine first-half turnovers and connected on jump shot after jump shot.
Jamal Crawford and Matt Barnes scored 11 points each off the bench and Los Angeles nailed 50 percent of their attempted three-pointers in the half, leading Boston 60-47.
Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry each had 10 points to lead Boston at the end of the half.
The Celtics opened the third quarter, trailing by 13, and could never find their footing the second half. Boston's offense relied on passing around the perimeter and kicking the ball inside, occasionally, to Garnett, while the Clippers never lost momentum in the game.
Los Angeles continued getting out in transition and finding the open man to beat down Boston's undersized interior and slow-rotating defensive unit.
Toward the end of the third, with the tempers flaring, the Clippers used a 9-0 run to push the lead to 21. The Celtics would climb back over the final minutes of the quarter, to only trail Los Angeles by 15 heading into the fourth.
The fourth quarter would provide mostly garbage time, with the Los Angeles second unit running the floor with ease and continuing to tack on points.
The Clippers bench outscored Boston's second unit, 54-27, as Los Angeles truly dominated every facet of the game.
Griffin and Caron Butler led the starters with 15 and 14 points, respectively. Each Celtics starter had double-digit points other than their defensive clog, Jason Collins, who didn't attempt a shot, but grabbed one rebound in 16 minutes.
The Celtics shot 40 percent from the field, while Los Angeles connected on 48 percent of their attempts.
Developmental League call-up, Jarvis Varnado, made his debut for the short-handed Celtics in the blowout.
Boston will travel to the Oracle Arena from Oakland, CA Saturday where they will look to get back on track against Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors.
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