After kicking off a four-game trek with a much-needed win Christmas Day, the Boston Celtics saw their road woes resume their last time out.
They're likely to have their hands full again with a visit to the Bay up next.
The Celtics try to avoid falling below .500 for the first time in seven weeks Saturday night as they visit a Golden State Warriors team that continues to turn heads.
Boston (14-14) entered Tuesday having dropped five straight and seven of eight in opposing arenas before handily beating Brooklyn 93-76. The Celtics, though, got all they could handle two nights later in a 106-77 rout at the hands of the surging Los Angeles Clippers, who held a 42-26 edge in the paint and scored 26 points off 18 turnovers.
"Right now, they are a better team than us - that is the way they play," Boston's Jason Terry told the Clippers' official website. "So for us it is not something to be frustrated about, we just have to move forward and keep grinding. Last game we did some great things and (Thursday) it wasn't so great."
Kevin Garnett had a team-high 16 points while Paul Pierce scored 12. Terry and Rajon Rondo added 10 apiece on a combined 8-of-22 shooting.
"Every individual on our team wanted to beat them and every individual tried to do it by themselves instead of just playing our game," said coach Doc Rivers, whose team hasn't been under .500 since it was 2-3 on Nov. 9.
The Celtics are seeking a fourth consecutive win in this series after pulling out a 105-103 road victory March 14 behind Garnett's 20-foot jumper with seven seconds left. Boston has posted back-to-back wins at Golden State (20-10) after dropping 12 of its previous 14 there.
While some have been hesitant to jump on the Warriors' bandwagon, they're looking more and more like the real deal. Two nights after winning 94-83 at Utah, Golden State beat Philadelphia 96-89 to improve to 13-4 over its last 17 games Friday.
David Lee led the way with 25 points and 12 boards for the Warriors, who outrebounded the 76ers 52-43 and limited them to 40.2 percent shooting.
"We've been consistent whether we are home or on the road," coach Mark Jackson said. "We play with an edge, we play with a belief, and now our job is just to chalk them up in the win column. Mission accomplished tonight."
This is the first time since 1980-81 that the Warriors have compiled 20 wins before New Year's Day.
"We're just trying to make our own history here," Lee told the league's official website. "The biggest thing is that our team is doing this together and we're continuing to get better and better. I don't think our best ball's even been played yet."
The Warriors continue to thrive on the defense end of the court. Golden State is 15-1 when holding foes to 98 points or fewer and has posted a 43.1 opponent field-goal percentage to rank fifth in the league.
The Warriors will surely try to add to Pierce's recent woes. The 10-time All-Star is averaging a team-high 20.2 points but has put up a combined 20 in his last two games while going 8 for 23 (34.8 percent) from the field.
Pierce is averaging 24.9 points versus Golden State since the start of 2000-01 - tied for his second-highest mark against any team over that stretch.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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