Celtics Look to Keep Ball Rolling in First Visit to L.A.

Celtics Look to Keep Ball Rolling in First Visit to L.A. Last season, the Celtics lost on Christmas Day in a heartbreaker against L.A. This year, they celebrated the holiday with a hard-earned win over Orlando — and they now visit the Staples Center afterward for a Sunday night showdown.

But it's the lesser L.A. franchise. The Celtics take on the Los Angeles Clippers for the first time this season — it's the C's, winners of three straight games, versus the Clips, losers of three straight. The holiday is behind them, and it's back to business for the Celtics.

When and Where

Sunday, Dec. 27, 9:30 p.m. ET (CSNE)
Staples Center, Los Angeles, Calif.

Records

Celtics (23-5, 1st place in Atlantic Division)
Clippers (12-17, 4th place in Pacific Division)

Head to Head

This is the first meeting between Boston and L.A. (either Clippers or Lakers) this season. The Celtics suffered an embarrassing loss the last time they visited the Clippers, losing 93-91 on Feb. 25 when Zach Randolph went off for 30 points and the C's offense collapsed in the second half. It's a new season now, though, and Boston will be out for revenge.

Skinny

Going into this season, the talk of the Clippers' franchise was all about Blake Griffin, the No. 1 pick in this summer's NBA Draft. But Griffin has yet to play a single game, and the Clips have yet to blossom into the rising Western Conference power that some expected them to be. Right now, though, Griffin is on the way back from an untimely knee injury, and the Clippers are playing the waiting game. This team is still very much a work in progress.

Starting Lineups

Celtics
Point guard: Rajon Rondo
Shooting guard: Ray Allen
Small forward: Tony Allen
Power forward: Kevin Garnett
Center: Kendrick Perkins

Clippers
Point guard: Baron Davis
Shooting guard: Eric Gordon
Small forward: Al Thornton
Power forward: Marcus Camby
Center: Chris Kaman

Stat Sheet

Celtics
The Celtics are 13-1 on the road this season.

They have 679 assists, third-most in the NBA.

Ray Allen is shooting 92.1 percent from the free-throw line, second-best in the NBA.

Kendrick Perkins is fifth in the NBA with 58 blocks.

Rajon Rondo is fourth in the NBA with 9.6 assists per game.

Tony Allen is averaging 7.9 points and 3.1 rebounds in his first eight games this season.

Kevin Garnett is averaging 20.4 points and 10.5 rebounds against the Clippers in his career.

Clippers
The Clippers are 4-4 against Eastern Conference opponents this season.

They lead the NBA with 183 blocks.

Marcus Camby is fifth in the NBA with 2.1 blocks per game.

Chris Kaman has 19.8 points per game, a career high.

Baron Davis leads the Clippers with 1.7 steals per game.

Al Thornton is shooting 48.6 percent from the floor, a career best.

Eric Gordon is averaging 18.1 points per game.

Black and Blue

Celtics
Paul Pierce is out. He underwent minor right knee surgery Wednesday.

Kevin Garnett
took a hard fall late in Boston's win over Orlando on Friday, but the Celtics' forward says he is OK.

Glen Davis made his return Friday from a broken thumb. He played almost four minutes and went 0-for-1 from the floor with one rebound.

Clippers

Blake Griffin is recovering from a stress fracture in his left knee. He may resume basketball-related activities in the next three weeks.

Marcus Camby
left Friday's game against Phoenix with a sore left knee. He is questionable Sunday.

Al Thornton returned Friday from a sore right big toe. He came off the bench to play 25 minutes, contributing eight points and five rebounds.

This Date in Celtics History

In 1955, Celtics star Bill Sharman snapped his streak of consecutive free throws made at 55. Sharman's streak is still an NBA record to this day.

Overheard

"I’m OK. I’ve had harder falls. I’m just glad we won, to be honest. I’m sure I’ll feel it in the morning. But for now, I’m all right."
–Kevin Garnett, in Saturday's Boston Globe, in his health status following a hard fall he took in Friday's win over the Orlando Magic.

Press Box

Celtics
The C's got payback against the Magic.

Kevin Garnett is A-OK.

Lester Hudson has been reassigned.

Clippers
The Clips took a beating in Phoenix.

Blake Griffin is showing improvement.

Former Clipper Elton Brand has seen better days.

NBA
Kobe Bryant led the Lakers to a double-overtime win.

Ron Artest has a concussion.

The Cavaliers are making forward strides.

Outlook

No post-holiday letdown here. The Celtics are going strong after their statement win on Christmas Day, and they should carry that momentum straight into another healthy winning streak. Three straight is just a starting point — the C's have bigger and better things in their future, and the Clippers shouldn't stand in their way. No captain, no problem — even without Paul Pierce in the rotation sparking the offense, the Celtics still have more than enough talent to steamroll through L.A.

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