for this game

Celtics end road trip with dominating win over Clippers

Feb 26, 2008 - 7:24 AM By Jonathan Raber PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- The Boston Celtics' West Coast swing got off to a rocky start, but order eventually was restored.

Paul Pierce and James Posey each scored 17 points as the Celtics - the NBA's top team - secured back-to-back wins following a season-high three-game skid with a 104-76 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday.

Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett - the other two members of "The Big Three" - finished with 15 and 11 points, respectively, for Boston.

"We feel we came out and executed on both ends of the floor," Posey said. "A long road trip, you should always want to finish strong."

The Celtics had previously lost to Denver, Golden State and Phoenix on their five-game trip before digging out of a 17-point hole to pull out a narrow win over Portland on Sunday.

"We started out (the trip) with three tough games, three quality opponents," Allen said. "We faced some adversity, but we didn't waver from what we've been doing and what our goals were."

Boston currently owns the NBA's best record at 43-12, despite suffering four losses in its last 10 games.

"Teams are going to be up for us," Pierce said. "We're on the road, teams are playing well at home, and we lost three close games that we felt we could have won either way. But this team is resilient, we don't get down, we just try to clean up things and move forward."

The undermanned Clippers were without center Chris Kaman for a second straight game on Monday because of a sore lower back. Without its leading rebounder and second-leading scorer in the lineup, Los Angeles has struggled - having now lost six of seven this season with its big man sidelined.

"It's really hard," Clippers rookie forward Al Thornton said. "We miss Kaman controlling the paint, getting boards and altering shots. We definitely missed him (Monday)."

The Celtics built up a double-digit lead in the second quarter but pulled away with a lengthy run in the third.

After claiming a 61-51 lead with 6:18 left in the third, Boston went on a 14-0 surge over the next four minutes which was capped off by Posey's 3-pointer.

"We were able to get stops and, on the offensive end, we moved the ball, we made the extra pass," Posey said. "Guys got easy, wide-open shots, and I think that's what helped us start that run. We play like that, that's good solid basketball."

Corey Maggette, who finished with 11 points, ended the drought with a pair of free throws at the 2:24 mark in the quarter. But it was too late as the Celtics held a 75-53 advantage.

Maggette entered the game averaging 26.8 points on 53 percent shooting during the last eight contests but hit just 1-of-7 shots in the opening half.

Posey continued to stroke the ball by knocking down two more 3-pointers to open the fourth, extending the lead to 83-57 and allowing the Celtics to begin to empty their bench.

Boston will get a break from the road on Wednesday when it opens a season-high five-game homestand against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

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