Paul Pierce came up big in the second half and finished with 25 points as the Boston Celtics, led by a combined 61 points from the Big Three, survived a close contest against the Los Angeles Clippers, 94-85, Monday night to earn a split in a back-to-back against the Lakers and Clippers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.
Pierce, who made 7-of-16 shots, also had seven assists to power Boston to its seventh win in nine games since the All-Star break. Kevin Garnett finished with 21 points and eight rebounds and Ray Allen, who left the game in the final minute after stumbling to the floor with a right leg injury but returned, scored 15. Boston, which shot 49.3 percent (33-for-67) in Monday's win, lost its first game in Los Angeles against Kobe Bryant and the Lakers.
Blake Griffin had 24 points and nine rebounds and Mo Williams scored 21 for L.A., which was limited to 37.3 percent shooting. Chris Paul was held in check by Boston, finishing with only 14 points and five assists with four turnovers. L.A. out-rebounded Boston, 45-31.
A hot start put the Celtics up 9-2 in the opening minutes and went on to shoot 59 percent in the frame to grab a 25-21 lead heading into the second quarter. Both teams kept it close for most of the second quarter, but Los Angeles used a 12-0 run late in the quarter to grab control of the game and take a 48-39 edge heading into the intermission.
Pierce, who had eight points at the break, helped the Celts outscore the Clippers 23-13 in the third and 32-24 in the fourth, including a game-ending 18-7 run in the final 4:05 led by nine points from Pierce and six points from Garnett.
Boston continues its road trip against the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night.