Paul hurts ankle as Clippers club Celtics

 29 Mar 2016 - 10:34

Paul hurts ankle as Clippers club Celtics
Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan (6) and Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart (36) look up for the ball in the second half during the NBA game at the Staples Center. (Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports)

 

Doc Rivers couldn't resist needling Los Angeles Lakers' fans after Paul Pierce went down with an ankle injury Monday night.

"It is his ankle, which is good news, because when he went down I thought it was his knee," Rivers said. "Of course, the Lakers' fans thought they were going to bring out the wheelchair at some point, but they didn't do that, so that was good."

Rivers was referring to the 2008 NBA Finals when he was coach of the Boston Celtics and Pierce was one of the team's stars. Pierce left the court in a wheelchair with an apparent leg injury, only to return a short time later and resume playing.

Pierce's ankle sprain put more of a scare into the Clippers than the Celtics did. Austin Rivers scored 16 points, and Los Angeles rolled past Boston 114-90 at Staples Center.

DeAndre Jordan and Jamal Crawford added 15 points apiece for the Clippers, who won their third consecutive decision. Jordan also had 13 rebounds and three blocks in three quarters.

Chris Paul finished with 13 points and 14 assists, Wesley Johnson scored 11 points, and Jeff Green contributed 10 for Los Angeles (46-27). Paul's 14 assists equaled the entire output of the Celtics, while the Clippers had 29.

Isaiah Thomas led Boston with 24 points, while Avery Bradley and Marcus Smart each scored 13. The Celtics (43-31) had their four-game winning streak snapped.

The Clippers' shooting was the difference. The Clippers made 52.4 percent of their shots to 34.8 percent for the Celtics. Los Angeles also connected on 11 of 25 (44 percent) 3-point tries to seven of 19 (36.8 percent) for Boston.

"Any team in this league, if they're knocking down shots, it's tough to guard," said Smart, who connected on six of 12 shots but missed all four of his 3-point attempts. "They were very comfortable out there, and we kind of let them get into their zone. It was hard to stop them in the second half."

Pierce, who scored eight points in 12 minutes, hurt himself with 2:06 left in the second quarter when he drove to the bucket as he was defended by Jared Sullinger. He slumped to the court after he landed at an awkward angle under the basket.

"I was worried about him," Paul said. "I did not even see him fall. Once he made (the shot), my mind clicked straight to defense. Paul is a warrior and a guy that has been through a lot, and we are glad that he is OK."

Pierce's departure occurred when the Clippers were completing a dominating second quarter that allowed them to bolt past the Celtics. They outscored Boston 37-26 in the second and turned a six-point advantage after the first quarter into a 67-50 halftime lead.

Los Angeles increased the margin to 92-70 heading into the final quarter.

Austin Rivers scored 10 points in the second quarter.

"Sometimes, we try to get it back in one play," said Thomas, who collected half of his points on the foul line, where he hit 12 of 13. "A lot of teams do that, though. We can't get down like that, especially to a good team. It's hard to come back against a really good team and get down 20, especially on the road. We can't put ourselves in that hole.

"Honestly, we just didn't make shots. For the most part, we got the looks that we wanted, (but) guys didn't make shots. Like I said, against a team as good as they are, you have to play a perfect game on the road. You have to be able to make shots and defend them at a high level. We didn't do that."

The clubs split the season series. The Celtics won the initial meeting 139-134 in overtime at Boston.

Reuters