LOS ANGELES: The Los Angeles Clippers left the Boston Celtics battered and bruised in a physical 106-77 victory on Thursday to extend their franchise-record winning streak to 15 games and remain on top of the NBA standings.
Building on contributions from their All-Stars, balanced bench and ferocious defense, the Clippers (23-6) continued to prove they are legitimate title contenders with another impressive home win over a highly regarded opponent.
Reserves Matt Barnes (21 points) and Jamal Crawford (17) led the way as all 11 Los Angeles players who stepped on the Staples Center court put a number in the scoring column.
“The special thing about our team is no one cares who gets the credit,” Clippers point guard Chris Paul told reporters after finishing with eight points and 11 assists.
“Right now our entire organisation has a winning mentality and we expect nothing less than that.” At the other end, the Celtics were held to just 40 percent shooting and out-scored 24-10 in the final quarter to complete the formalities of a blowout victory.
Kevin Garnett recorded 16 points but Boston suffered their fifth loss in seven games and heaviest defeat of the season.
Considered one of the grittier teams in the league, the Celtics (14-14) were no match for the Clippers in a scrappy battle that featured bodies flying around, a flagrant foul and a bloodied lip for Paul Pierce after a collision with Paul. Boston left the Staples Center clearly frustrated by the reality of being manhandled. Point guard Rajon Rondo, the NBA’s leading assist man, finished with just six as he failed to reach double figures in that category for the second straight game.
nets Coach sacked
The Brooklyn Nets on Thursday sacked Avery Johnson as head coach, just a day after his side slipped to a 108-93 defeat to Milwaukee, the club’s general manager Billy King announced.
Johnson was named head coach of the Nets on June 15, 2010 and in over two seasons he compiled a record of 60-116.
The Nets are 14-14 this season but have lost 10 of their last 13 games — the demoralising December slump coming after Johnson was named the NBA’s Eastern Conference coach of the month for November.
King said assistant coach PJ Carlesimo would take over as interim coach.
“PJ’s our coach,” King said. “Right now, we’re going to give all our support to PJ and see where it goes from there.”
King said that during the recent spate of defeats the Nets “just didn’t have the same fire that we had at 11-4”.
“Are we as good as 11-4? I’m not sure,” he said. “As bad as 14-14? Not sure. But I think we can be a better team than we have been.”