Boston, MA (SportsNetwork.com) - Jamal Crawford came up huge down the stretch, netting 11 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter to help the Los Angeles Clippers escape Boston with a 96-88 win over the Celtics in Doc Rivers' return to TD Garden.
Rivers, who coached the Celtics to a 416-305 regular-season record and the 17th championship in club history, was traded to the Clippers in an unconventional move this past summer for a 2015 first-round draft pick. Rivers spent nine seasons on the Celtics' bench, leading them to seven playoff appearances.
"It's just such a classy place here," Rivers said of Boston. "So it was really nice when I walked out and, you know I'm not used to walking out on that side, and all those guys, the people, they lined up and I was basically useless for the first eighteen minutes of the game, I thought."
Chris Paul tallied 22 points, nine assists and seven rebounds in the triumph while Blake Griffin scored 18 points. The Clippers improved to 3-2 on their current season-long seven-game road trip.
Jeff Green poured in a game-high 29 points for Boston, which has lost two in a row on the heels of a three-game winning streak. Jordan Crawford had 20 points and nine assists and Brandon Bass registered 17 points with 12 boards.
"I knew they were good and they deserve a lot of credit, but hopefully we can get better and I'll watch film and see if it was more them or more us," Boston head coach Brad Stevens said.
The Clippers held a 66-64 edge entering the fourth quarter and never trailed the rest of the way despite a slew of Boston runs. Green sank a pair of free throws and Jared Sullinger scored at the rim around a Paul jumper for an 85-83 LA lead with 2:56 to play.
Late in the shot clock on the ensuing Clippers' possession, Jamal Crawford put up a 29-foot heave that fell through for a five-point margin, and his more conventional triple next time down the floor put the game away for LA.
Boston led 28-20 early in the second quarter after Green followed his trey with a driving dunk in transition to the roaring approval of the home crowd.
The Clips briefly went in front as Jamal Crawford scored four straight after an Antawn Jamison triple midway through the second, but Bass then made consecutive buckets and the hosts led until early in the third quarter.
Stephen Jackson made his season debut for LA after signing earlier in the week. The 13-year veteran shot 0-for-3 in 12 minutes ... LA outscored Boston 42-24 in the paint ... Jamison's triple in the second quarter put him over 20,000 points in his career.