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Clippers 108, Celtics 103: Slow Start, Not Enough Late Dooms Celts

A combination of bad defense and too little too late on the offensive end did in the Celtics on Wednesday night at TD Garden as they saw their five-game winning streak come to an end in a 108-103 loss to the road-tripping L.A. Clippers. Newly acquired point guard Mo Williams led the Clippers with 28 points and was 5-of-7 from 3-point range for the visitors, who shot 65 percent in the first half en route to a 60-42 halftime lead.

The Celtics, who shot just 44 percent from the floor, staged a furious comeback attempt in the second half, cutting the Clippers lead, which reached 23 at oine point, to as few as three in the fourth quarter. Ray Allen scored 23 points for the Celts and Nenad Krstic continued his strong play since being traded from Oklahoma City two weeks ago, putting up 20 points and grabbing nine rebounds. But the C's were undone by their greatest strength, their defense. In winning their fourth straight, the Clippers became the fourth consecutive team to score at least 100 points against the Celtics, who came into the game leading the NBA in fewest points allowed, and shot 52 percent from the floor, including 9-of-20 from long distance. DeAndre Jordan added 21 points and nine rebounds for the Clip joint on a relatively quiet night for star rookie Blake Griffin, Griffin had just 12 points and seven rebounds, both numbers well below his season averages.

The Celtics entirely new second unit didn't provide them with much support in this one. Jeff Green scored six points and point guard Carlos Arroyo, in his first game as a Celtic, added four points, three rebounds and two assists in 15 minutes Paul Pierce had 19 for the C's and Rajon Rondo flirted with a triple-double, posting 13 points, nine assists and seven rebounds. Their next game comes Friday night against the resurgent 76ers in Philadelphia.