Published December 11, 2013
| Sports Network
(SportsNetwork.com) - The storyline for Wednesday's matchup between the Los Angeles Clippers and Boston Celtics at TD Garden is not the possible debut of Clips forward Stephen Jackson.
Clippers head coach Doc Rivers probably had this game circled on his calendar when he took over the job in Los Angeles during the offseason, as he will make his anticipated return to Beantown. Rivers guided the Celtics to an NBA championship during his tenure and was traded to the Clippers for a first- round draft pick under Boston GM Danny Ainge's rebuilding process.
Rivers, who recently tacked on the 600th win of his career, talked about his return to where his coaching prowess took flight.
"Wednesday will be nice, very nice for me. I put nine years in there, nine wonderful years," Rivers said Monday night. "It'll be great to see, hell I wouldn't say all my players, but there's not a lot left, but there are some. It'll be great to see all the people that have worked there. I made some great friends that will be friends for life."
Rivers complied a 416-305 (.576) coaching record while with the Celtics..
Clippers star forward Blake Griffin discussed the situation as well.
"It's one of those things as players we want to rally around him and win this game for him," Griffin said. "It's important when guys come back to their home city or come back to a place where they used to play or coached or whatever it is, it's a good feeling to come back and have a successful trip."
The Clippers have alternated wins and losses through the first four games of their 13-day, seven-game sojourn and recorded a 94-83 victory in Philadelphia Monday night. Chris Paul had 25 points and 13 assists, Griffin scored 26 points and DeAndre Jordan muscled his way to 21 rebounds with 11 points for L.A., which won despite making 42.7 percent from the floor and 5-of-27 3- pointers. Jared Dudley finished with 10 points and the Clips are 8-1 when he has that many this season.
Rivers still wasn't too pleased for allowing the Sixers to make it close.
"We had chances to pull away and we didn't," Rivers said. "I thought we got loose late in the third quarter. We went away from what we were doing. It's a good lesson for us."
Los Angeles is 7-0 this season when Paul scores at least 20 points and improved to 26-3 when he has 20 or more points with at least 10 assists. Clippers reserve Jamal Crawford scored eight points and has made 32 free throws in a row dating back to Nov. 23. He has the Clippers' franchise record with 58 consecutive free throws made from Nov. 3-Dec. 9, 2012.
Jordan is second in the NBA with 13.3 rebounds per game and has grabbed at least 12 boards in a game 16 times this season.
Meanwhile, Jackson joined the Clippers this week and hasn't played in the NBA since being waived by San Antonio just prior to the start of last season's playoffs. Jackson's addition was made necessary by injuries to wing players J.J. Redick, Matt Barnes and rookie Reggie Bullock. Redick is expected to be sidelined well into January by a fractured hand and a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow, while Barnes hasn't played since Nov. 18 due to a retinal tear.
The Clippers are 6-6 on the road and will also visit Brooklyn and Washington.
Boston had its three-game winning streak come to an end with Tuesday's 104-96 loss at the Nets and had the luxury of facing Deron Williams, who returned from a nine-game absence and scored a season-high 25 points to go with seven assists. Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, playing against their former team for the first time, tallied 11 and four points, respectively, in the win.
Avery Bradley led a balanced Boston scoring attack with 22 points, while Jeff Green registered 19 points and six rebounds for the Celtics, who were 4-1 in the previous five games and done in by a 10-0 Brooklyn run after a 60-60 score. The run then extended to 25-8 for an 85-78 Nets' lead.
The Celtics pulled to within five points in the final two minutes.
"We still had a chance," Green said. "We battled ourselves back and had a chance at the end of the game but (ran out of gas). We always give ourselves a chance to win the game. No matter how much time is left, we're going to fight until the end."
The Celtics will now begin a five-game homestand versus the Clippers, New York, Minnesota, Detroit and Washington, and have won three in a row in Beantown. Boston is 5-5 at TD Garden this season.
Boston and the Clippers split a pair of meetings last season with each team winning as the host. The Clippers haven't played so well in Boston recently, losing four of five and 11 of 15 games there.