Jordan records double-double as LA clips Celtics

Boston Celtics center Aron Baynes, right, and Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan (6) watch the ball get away during the second quarter of an NBA basketball game in Boston, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. The Clippers defeated the Celtics 129-119. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

BOSTON (AP) — Guarding DeAndre Jordan in the paint is hard enough.

When he’s making his free throws, that makes it a much bigger problem.

Jordan had a career-high 30 points and 13 rebounds and the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Boston Celtics 129-119 on Wednesday night for their fourth victory in five games.

The 6-foot-11 center, a 59 percent shooter from the free-throw line coming into the game, went 8 for 9, including hitting all four when Boston coach Brad Stevens called for his team to foul him twice intentionally.

“Made his free throws,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “We were jokingly saying: ‘When we find the hot hand, keep going to it.'”

Tobias Harris added 21 points, Danilo Gallinari had 20, and Lou Williams 19.

Jordan seemed to feed off Boston’s poor pick-and-roll defense every time the Clippers needed a basket.

“Whenever I’m setting picks and rolling, it puts a lot of pressure on the defense,” he said.

Jordan was 11 of 14 from the field. He entered hitting 64.7 percent of his shots this season.

Kyrie Irving led Boston with 33 points and eight assists. Al Horford had 20 points, and Marcus Morris added 13 points and 11 rebounds. The Celtics lost for the fourth time in five games, a stretch that has seen them fall behind Toronto for the best record in the Eastern Conference.

The Celtics gave up over 120 points for the second straight game, allowing a season-high to the Clippers after giving up 121 against Cleveland on Sunday.

Boston hadn’t given up 120 before the last two games.

“We couldn’t guard them all night,” Stevens said. “So that had nothing to do with the start, middle or finish.”

The Celtics are 6-9 in their last 15 games.

“I think the theme here is our defense needs to be better,” Horford said. “We’re a group that’s built what we have so far based on the defensive end. We’ve taken a big step back on that, it’s obvious, the last few games.”

Boston had opened a 99-95 lead early in the final quarter on Terry Rozier’s 3 from the left wing before the Clippers went on 10-0 run over a 1:57 stretch.

Williams sparked the spree by scoring the initial six points, with the first 3 coming on a shot from beyond the arc in front of the Celtics’ bench. He added a conventional 3-point play after his driving basket.

Los Angeles saw its lead sliced to three twice before Jordan had an alley-oop dunk and Harris followed with a 3-point play with just under three minutes to play.

Williams’ 3-point play made it 126-116 in the final two minutes.

In the third quarter, the lead changed hands 10 times in the final 3:11, with the Clippers taking the final one, 93-91, on Harris’ 3 from the left wing.

 

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