Clippers beat Celtics
Los Angeles Clippers guard Austin Rivers (25) dribbles the ball as Boston Celtics forward Jared Sullinger (7) defends during first half action at Staples Center. Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES – J.J. Redick got hot in the first quarter and the Clippers went into cruise control from there beating the Boston Celtics 102-93 on Monday afternoon.

DeAndre Jordan led the team with 19 points, 12 rebounds, two steals and six blocks and helped them pull away in the fourth quarter when the Celtics got within three.

“There’s 22 guys in the West who should make the All-Star Team. DeAndre is a max player, he’s a great player,” said Redick about Jordan’s performance tonight and throughout the season. “He’s as good as they come defensively, he obviously shoots a very high percentage…from the field. He’s a star.”

Redick hit three triples in the third quarter, stretching the lead to 23 at one point before the Celtics closed the quarter on a 13-3 run.

“They started making shots,” added Redick. They had a stretch there where it seemed like they were scoring every time down the court. That end of the floor (defense) was where we let them back in.”

Blake Griffin had 22 points and 9 rebounds and Jamal Crawford added 16 points off the bench for the Clippers, who have now won two consecutive games and can move into a tie for fourth place in the Western conference depending on the outcome of the Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets games later today.

“It’s always great to win games, especially these games at home, games you should win,” said Griffin. “The rest, we have to take advantage of it and get ready for this one road trip coming up.”

Brandon Bass had 17 points, Marcus Thornton 15, Jared Sullinger added 14, Kelly Olynk 11, Evan Turner had 10 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists and Oklahoma State rookie, Marcus Smart had 14 points and 7 assists as the Celtics had six players in double figures including four off the bench.

“We’re a totally different team then we were on November 1st,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. “We’re a totally different team than we were on January 1st. I think we will be able to gauge the collective progress after a month or so.”

Tayshaun Prince who was acquired by the Celtics on Friday in a trade that sent forward Jeff Green to the Memphis Grizzlies, made his Celtics debut and scored two points while playing almost 20 minutes on the court.

“I didn’t expect to play nearly him nearly that much,” said Stevens about his new perimeter defender. “I felt comfortable with him on the floor because he’s really savvy and he’s always in the right place, especially defensively.”

The Celtics got within three points midway through the fourth quarter after Thornton hit a three, but Clippers head coach Doc Rivers reinserted his starters back into the game and Los Angeles finished on a 12-3 run to close out the C’s.

The Clippers played a rare afternoon game on the NBA’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day slate of games. The Clippers and the NBA joined together at halftime to play an emotional black and white video montage of the diversity in the NBA from Chuck Cooper in 1950, to Jason Collins in 2014. The inspiring montage ran over MLK’s “I Have A Dream” speech and concluded with the word “Dream” next to the NBA logo.

“He [Martin Luther King Jr.] fought for so much, he fought in the right way, he stood for the right things,” said Griffin about MLK. “He did it without violence and he did it the smart way. It’s important to keep that dream alive and educate younger people, and keep his dream intact.”

Game Notes:
The Celtics have lost 24 consecutive games to Western Conference opponents dating back to 2013 when Doc Rivers coached the team. Austin Rivers scored his first basket as a Clipper and he did it against his “former” team. Rivers stepped on the court for the Celtics, but technically was a member of the team for 48 hours.

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