- Chris Forsberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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Rondo logs overtime
After logging a team-high 42 minutes, Rondo, who registered a double-double with 16 points and 12 assists, got a chance to break down his effort. Flanked by Kevin Garnett, he focused on the defensive end, particularly after being burnt by Baron Davis for a winning jumper when the teams met last month.
“[Kendrick] Perkins and I were laughing before [the game] because, for some reason, our two guys got off last game, and we knew that we had to step up and take the challenge," said Rondo. "At the end of the day, we had to man-up and try and get stops. Perk and I were talking and we pride ourselves on defense.”
Davis finished with 16 points on 5-of-13 shooting for the Clippers.
“I just tried to keep [opposing guards] in front of me as much as possible," said Rondo. "We mixed it up as much as possible. We threw a trap at them. I think that kept them off guard all night. For me, it was my job to maintain the ball and try not to reach as much tonight and keep the ball in front of me.”
For those worried, Pierce was spotted in the locker room after the game and Celtics coach Doc Rivers confirmed he was fine. Sending Rondo to the podium might have simply been a tip of the cap for his efforts (and saved Pierce from doing a little talking for a change).
Opposing view: Shots didn't fall
After shooting a dismal 38.8 percent from the floor (31 of 80), the Clippers contended they simply didn't make their shots, as opposed to anything Boston did to frustrate them.
"I thought I had about five or six good looks at the basket," said Clippers center Chris Kaman, who clanged 14 shots as part of a 5-of-19 performance for 10 points.
"On the season we shoot right around the high 40's, low 50's, somewhere in there on a typical night. We did a good job defensively though for the most part. Late in the game, they got some free throws and shots, but for three quarters, and probably three and three-quarters, we did a great job defensively on them. This is one of the best teams in the East, in the NBA period, and for us to beat them one time and play them this well is a positive note. We would have liked to get out of here with another win."
Added coach Mike Dunleavy: "[Kaman] had wide-open looks, and he didn’t make shots, and that’s what I’m saying. The same looks that he’s made in the past that have gotten us a win are the same looks he had tonight. Unfortunately, everybody’s going to have certain nights like that, but they were still wide open and they were good finds, and, hey, maybe next time they’ll go down.”
The Clippers seemed to take home a moral victory.
"Coach just applauded our effort, especially on a back-to-back," said forward Marcus Camby. "We just came up in the loss column, but this is a long trip for us and we can’t hang our heads. We have to find a way to get some energy and go into Jersey and get a win on Wednesday."
Doc's Opinion: No gambling, more passes
Trailing at the half, Rivers said he got on his team about two things at intermission: gambling on defense and making extra passes on offense.
"I counted 12 points on gambles in the first half, and then offensively, [assistant coach] Armond [Hill], who keeps all the offensive stats, I think he had 11 times where we didn’t make the next pass," said Rivers. "So our thought in the second half was ‘Make the next pass.’ The game’s simple -- it really is -- when you do that. And I thought our guys did it, and then they almost started doing it to a fault. But I would rather fix that problem, than the other way."
Boston thrived making the extra pass in the third quarter, shooting 56.3 percent (9 of 16) and opening a five-point lead before the end of the period.
Giddens feeling fine
Celtics guard J.R. Giddens, on assignment with the Maine Red Claws of the NBA Development League, returned to the lineup one night after suffering a minor left knee injury. Giddens, playing against the same Utah Flash team he played for last season while on assignment from Boston, hit 8 of 9 shots for a team-high 22 points in Maine's 107-84 rout.