x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

NBA: Boston Celtics hold out for narrow win over Clippers

The Celtics withstood a determined comeback from the Los Angeles Clippers to notch up their fourth win since losing Rajon Rondo to injury.

Boston's Leandro Barbosa drives towards the basket under pressure from Matt Barnes of the Los Angeles Clippers.
Boston's Leandro Barbosa drives towards the basket under pressure from Matt Barnes of the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Boston Celtics withstood a furious comeback from the Los Angeles Clippers for a 106-104 win to record their fourth consecutive victory since losing Rajon Rondo to injury.

Paul Pierce landed a crucial three-pointer with two seconds remaining to increase Boston's lead to 106-101, and the home team survived despite Jamal Crawford's game-ending three-pointer.

Boston have won four straight since Rondo, the team's third-leading scorer and leader in steals and assists, was ruled out for the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

"Balance is the formula for our success, you know we got to do it by committee," said Jason Terry, who scored 13 points for the Celtics.

"Obviously we got two of our key parts down (with Jared Sullinger also out for season), but again, spreading the wealth. We got to make sure everyone gets involved, everybody's into the game."

Behind Pierce's team-high 22 points the Celtics controlled the way early and led by 15 in the fourth quarter before the visitors fought back to make things tense.

Eric Bledsoe, starting in place of Paul, had 23 points and 10 assists while Blake Griffin finished with 20 and 11 rebounds.

Los Angeles also got 23 from Crawford, who scored 12 in the final quarter to spark the comeback.

On Boston's final possession, the Clippers chose not to foul and the Celtics ran the clock all the way down to two seconds before Pierce nailed the back-breaking shot.

"I wouldn't have wanted to foul them there," said Vinny Del Negro, the Clippers coach. "If we get a stop there, three or four seconds to go we've got plenty of time."

LeBron James poured in 30 points as the Miami Heat bounced back with a 100-85 win over the Toronto Raptors.

James also had eight rebounds and seven assists while Chris Bosh added 28 points and Dwayne Wade 23 for the Heat, who showed no hangover from their loss to the Indiana Pacers.

The win ensures that, as the coach whose side have the best record in the east on February 3, Erik Spolestra will be in charge of the Eastern Conference All-Stars side.

Meanwhile Pau Gasol contributed 23 points and 10 rebounds in the Los Angeles Lakers' 98-97 win over the Detroit Pistons.

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