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Welcome to Staples Center for Celtics-Clippers

Posted by Gary Washburn Globe Staff  December 27, 2012 10:10 PM

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LOS ANGELES -- After a gritty win against the Brooklyn Nets, the Celtics face the hottest team in the NBA, the Los Angeles Clippers. That's a correct statement. The Clippers have won 14 straight games, a franchise record, and they may have the deepest team in the NBA. Of course, there are two marquee matchups: Rajon Rondo vs. Chris Paul and Kevin Garnett vs. Blake Griffin. The Celtics have been effective in shutting down Griffin over the years but this season he has an improved supporting cast.

STARTING LINEUPS
BOSTON CELTICS (14-13)

PG Rajon Rondo
SG Jason Terry
SF Paul Pierce
PF Kevin Garnett
C Jason Collins

LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS (22-6)
PG Chris Paul
SG Willie Green
SF Caron Butler
PF Blake Griffin
C DeAndre Jordan

Officials: Marc Davis, Eric Lewis, Trey Maddox

TV/Radio: 10:30 p.m. TNT / WEEI

Pregame notes:

• Doc Rivers expressed disappointment over the firing of close friend Avery Johnson by the Brooklyn Nets but said coaches understand that being fired is the nature of the business.

• Team president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said Leandro Barbosa will return Friday for from personal matter and should be available for Saturday's game against the Golden State Warriors.

• Former Celtic Chauncey Billups and veteran Grant Hill remain out with injuries for the Clippers.

• Despite 23 blocked shots in his past two games, Fab Melo will not be recalled from NBADL Maine any time soon, according to Ainge.

• The Clippers lead the league in steals, are second in assists and third in field goal percentage. They are 26th in the league in free throw percentage.

• The Celtics will wear their green on black alternate uniforms.

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