for this game

Randolph, Clippers sink Celtics in closing seconds

Feb 26, 2009 - 7:02 AM LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- Kevin Garnett's absence finally caught up to the Boston Celtics.

Zach Randolph's layup with 19 seconds remaining lifted the Los Angeles Clippers to a thrilling 93-91 victory over the Celtics on Wednesday.

Boston had little trouble claiming back-to-back wins after Garnett suffered a right knee injury that is expected to keep him sidelined for two to three weeks during a 90-85 setback to the Utah Jazz on Thursday.

It was a different story against the Clippers as Randolph and Marcus Camby dominated Boston's low-post trio of Kendrick Perkins, Glen Davis and Leon Powe.

"We were awful, we absolutely did not deserve to win that game," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "We played slow all night, we pouted all night, we just thought we could show up and win a game. I didn't think we deserved to win.

"We had no business winning that game tonight. There were so many things we did poor, the fact that we actually had a chance to win is amazing."

Randolph had 30 points and 12 rebounds and Camby added 14 and 11 in his second game back from an ear infection as Los Angeles outscored the Celtics, 53-22, in the paint.

"That was the plan. Coach said get the ball to the post and get good shots and that's what we did," Randolph said. "We just kept coming back. We know they are going to score. We just kept trying to get stops in that fourth quarter.

"It's a big game for us. Everybody knows that. I told guys we had to come out and be ready to play. They did that. Guys stepped up. Everybody played big tonight."

Perkins, Davis and Powe combined for 20 points, 22 rebounds and 15 fouls, many of which came on the offensive end of the floor.

"We didn't execute the way we should," Boston forward Paul Pierce said. "We turned the ball over way too many times. Down the stretch we couldn't get that big stop that we needed. I don't know if it was fatigue or thinking ahead."

Despite its struggles down low, the Celtics took a one-point lead with 33 seconds left on Rajon Rondo's free throw.

Randolph received the ball underneath the basket on the other end and battled a number of defenders to score the layup.

Pierce's jumper from the free-throw line on the ensuing possession missed, and the Clippers came down with the rebound.

Randolph, who made 12-of-30 shots from the field, made the second of a pair free throws with five seconds left and the Celtics failed to get a final shot off as time expired.

"I think this win was huge," said Clippers guard Baron Davis, who finished with 16 points and seven assists before fouling out with 33 seconds remaining. "We haven't beaten a top team in the league yet and this is one of those games you cherish and build on.

"I think our defensive intensity was key. We forced them into a lot of turnovers and we got some easy buckets. That is what we have to do if we are going to win."

Pierce led Boston with 20 points and missed four minutes in the third quarter after he suffered an injury to his right thumb when he was fouled by Clippers' guard Mardy Collins while driving the lane.

"It's sore right now, throbbing," Pierce said of his thumb. "I dislocated it a couple of times. X-rays are negative, so it should be all right. I don't know if it really affected me."

Ray Allen contributed 17 points and six assists for the Celtics, who completed their season-high, six-game Western Conference road trip with a 4-2 record.