Two eras come together as the Big Three and the Boston Celtics battle Blake Griffin, Chris Paul and Lob City (a.k.a. the Los Angeles Clippers) at 10:30 p.m. EDT on Monday night at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA (TV/Radio: ESPN/WEEI).
Both the Celtics and Clippers played games in Los Angeles on Sunday, with the Celtics meeting the rival Lakers in the afternoon and the Clippers facing the Golden State Warriors at night. Heading into their game against the Warriors, the Clippers owned a 23-15 record and were second in the Pacific Division behind the Lakers.
Rajon Rondo led the Celtics with 24 points and 10 assists, but it wasn't enough as Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum carried the Lakers past the C's, 97-94, on Sunday. Boston got off to a terrible start, missing its first five shots and being held to under 30 percent shooting in the first quarter, but outscored L.A. by eight, 28-20, in the second to make it a two-point game at halftime. The Lakers had a big third quarter and took a two-point edge into the fourth before ultimately winning.
This is the only meeting of the year between Boston and Los Angeles' other team. Last season, the Celtics and Clippers played twice, with each team winning on the other's home court. Randy Foye's 32-point performance wasn't enough for the Clips in their first game against Boston, falling 99-92 on Feb. 26, 2011 at Staples Center. Over one week later, the Clippers beat the Celtics, 108-103, behind 28 points from Mo Williams on Mar. 9 at TD Garden.
Boston started the second half of the season playing much better basketball than they had heading into the All-Star break, when they lost five in a row. The Celtics won five straight after the break before being blown out by the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday, only to resume their winning streak with a blowout win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday in their final home game before heading out on the road for an eight-game West coast trip.
The Clippers, meanwhile, have struggled since the All-Star break, losing four of seven games. Despite wins over the Sacramento Kings, Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs, the Clippers suffered losses to mediocre teams such as the Minnesota Timberwolves (twice), Phoenix Suns and New Jersey Nets heading into their game with the Warriors.
Boston resumes its road trip on Wednesday night against the Golden State Warriors.