"It still feels like we can get better," said Ronny Turiaf, who had four points and five rebounds. "We're just having fun. We're in the now. We're just trying to ride the wave."
Garnett had six points in the third when the Celtics were narrowly outscored 22-20, but still trailed 82-67. The Clippers' 9-0 run pushed their lead to 21 points before Boston went on a 10-4 run, including 3-pointers by Courtney Lee and Rondo to end the quarter.
The game got chippy at times. In the third, Jared Sullinger was called for a flagrant-1 foul for grabbing the front of Griffin on his way up to dunk. Then Butler and Pierce emerged from a big mass both holding onto the ball, leading to a jump ball. In the first, Rondo was lying on the ball and Paul tried to take it out from under him on the sideline, leading to a testy moment.
The Celtics cut their deficit to four points early in the second quarter — the closest they came after the opening quarter — with consecutive 3-pointers by Terry and Lee before the Clippers' second unit rebuilt the double-digit lead the starters had created. Crawford scored 13 points for Los Angeles, highlighted by a fast-break floater and a rainbow 3. He scored the final four points to keep the Clippers ahead 60-47 heading into halftime.
NOTES: The Clippers are assured of finishing December as their best month ever with two games remaining, including the second half of a back-to-back at Utah. They've already surpassed the franchise record for most wins in a month, bettering the old mark of 12 shared by the 1974-75 Buffalo Braves and the 1991-92 Clippers (which included Celtics coach Doc Rivers). ... Boston fell to 5-9 on the road. ... The Clippers' last loss was on Nov. 26 at home against New Orleans. ... Justin Bieber (who had Paul's young son sitting on his lap), Billy Crystal and Olympic 200 sprint champion Allyson Felix were among the Clippers' 67th consecutive sellout crowd.