The Boston Celtics ran into a buzz saw that is the Los Angeles Clippers two nights ago and look to save face Saturday against the Golden State Warriors in the continuation of a four-game road trip.
The Celtics dropped a 106-77 decision to the streaking Clippers Thursday in the West Coast portion of the trip and trailed 21-6 at one point in the opening quarter. They got as close as four points in the second quarter and later trimmed the deficit to nine points, but never got any closer.
Boston, coming off a Christmas Day win at Brooklyn, committed 18 turnovers, leading to 26 points for L.A.
"They were unbelievable," Celtics head coach Doc Rivers said of the Clippers. "They played well and we played terrible -- the perfect storm."
Kevin Garnett had 16 points and both Paul Pierce and Courtney Lee finished with 12 for Boston, which has lost five of seven games overall and fell to 5-9 away from Beantown. Boston will wrap up the current trek Sunday at Sacramento.
In milestone news for the Celtics, Pierce is 22 points shy of passing Adrian Dantley (23,177) for 23rd on the NBA's all-time scoring list. Garnett is just four games short of passing Sam Perkins (1,286) for 14th on the all-time games played list.
Meanwhile, the Warriors take aim at a third straight win tonight as they continue to be one of the top surprises this season.
Golden State won for the 13th time in 17 games on Friday night, besting the Philadelphia 76ers 96-89 to reach 20 wins (20-10) before New Year's Day for the first time since 1980.
The Warriors led by one after the first quarter before outscoring the Sixers 32-18 in the second. Philadelphia did pull to within two points with 24.2 seconds to go, but Golden State hit some clutch free throws to close things out.
"We've been consistent whether we are home or on the road," Warriors coach Mark Jackson remarked. "We play with an edge; we play with a belief and now our job is just to chalk them up in the win column. Mission accomplished tonight."
David Lee paced the balanced scoring with 25 points and 12 rebounds, while Carl Landry also had a double-double with 15 points and 11 boards. Jarrett Jack added 16 points.
The Warriors improved to 12-2 against the Eastern Conference this season.
Golden State lost its only meeting with Boston, 105-103, last season on March 14 in Oakland. Garnett hit the game-winning jump shot with 6.6 seconds to go for the Celtics, who have won three straight and five of the past seven meetings between the teams.
Boston, though, has still lost 12 of its last 16 at Golden State and will host the Warriors on March 1 at TD Garden.