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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Sunday, February 3rd (All times Eastern)

Los Angeles Clippers (34-14) at Boston Celtics (23-23), 1 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Los Angeles Clippers will try and get back on track Sunday afternoon when they visit the TD Bank Garden to take on the Boston Celtics.

The Clippers have lost five of their last seven while All-Star guard Chris Paul has battled a bruised right kneecap. Both Paul and Sixth Man of the Year candidate Jamal Crawford, who is suffering from a nasal fracture, will be game-time decisions.

This is the third of an eight-game road odyssey known as the "Grammy" trip for the Clippers. They are 1-1 thus far with battles against the Washington Wizards, Orlando Magic, Miami Heat, New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers on the horizon before heading back to L.A.

"We've got to handle this schedule right now and handle the injuries and manage it the best we can," head coach Vinny Del Negro said. "Not making any excuses, the guys who are out there have to understand how to play the right way. We've had different lineups out there. We've got different rotations out there, so we've just got to manage it."

The last time out for the Clippers was a disaster.

They suffered their worst loss of the season to the Toronto Raptors, 98-73. L.A. played without Paul and key bench man, Matt Barnes, who was suspended for punching Greg Stiemsma of the Minnesota Timberwolves in the throat.

The Clippers only shot 34.7 percent from the field and 15.8 percent from 3- point range.

The Celtics are actually playing great basketball, especially considering how hard injuries have hammered Boston. They've won three in a row, all without All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo, who tore his ACL.

The C's also lost starting power forward Jared Sullinger when the rookie underwent back surgery, but they beat the Orlando Magic, 97-84 on Friday.

Boston grabbed an 11-point lead at the half and Orlando cut it to four. Jameer Nelson left the game for the Magic and the Celtics handled their business.

"One of the things we talked about before the game is, 'Don't try to be different. Just do what you do, do what we've asked you to do. We don't have to do anything more,'" said head coach Doc Rivers.

With Courtney Lee and Brandon Bass in the starting lineup, six Celtics scored in double figures, led by 17 from Jeff Green off the bench. Jason Terry and Leandro Barbosa both had 12 in reserve roles.

Paul Pierce once again had a great all-around game. He accounted for 14 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists. Kevin Garnett and Lee both netted 14 as well.

The Celtics turned up the defensive intensity, starting with their win last Sunday against the defending champion Miami Heat. They allowed 98 points to LeBron James and company and to make that more impressive, the Heat are sixth in the NBA in scoring and the game went to double-overtime.

During this winning streak, the Celtics have surrendered 87.6 ppg.

The Clippers won this season's previous matchup, a 106-77 drubbing in Los Angeles, but are 4-10 in their last 14 in Boston.

02/03 10:27:37 ET