LOS ANGELES — On the checklist of what the Celtics must do to win, or to even be in a ballgame, the top item is to play hard. Very hard. As hard as possible.
You’d think that would be a given for this rebuilding squad, but the first two games — both blowouts — of their five-game Western Conference road trip proved that effort can be optional.
Well, it wasn’t optional Wednesday when the Celtics played the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center. The Celtics played as hard as they have in some time, giving themselves a chance to win.
They still lost, however, by a score of 111-105, which extends their downward spiral. The Celtics (13-23) have lost a season-high-tying six straight and nine of 10. Full story for BostonGlobe.com subscribers.