BOSTON — Former Boston Celtics coach and current Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers received the adoration of the TD Garden crowd and his team then went out and won him a game on his special night.
Veteran backup guard Jamal Crawford hit back-to-back 3-pointers, the second with 2:11 left, and the Clippers beat the Celtics 96-88 on Wednesday night.
Crawford came off the bench to score 21 points to help Rivers win in his emotional return to Boston, where he coached for nine years and won a world championship.
Clippers guard Chris Paul had 22 points, nine assists and seven rebounds and forward Blake Griffin delivered 18 points, seven rebounds and four assists as Los Angeles (15-8) overcame 29 points by Boston forward Jeff Green to win their second straight.
The Celtics, the leaders of the dreadful Atlantic Division, fell to 10-14 with their second straight loss.
Celtics guard Jordan Crawford, the reigning Eastern Conference player of the week, had 20 points, nine assists and five rebounds and forward Brandon Bass 17 points and 12 boards in the loss.
Rivers was greeted with a standing ovation when he walked out of the locker room before the game, then got another hand during the introductions. A video tribute was played between the first and second quarters and Rivers turned and watched, then acknowledging another ovation.
The Clippers fell behind by nine in the first half and were down by six at the break.
Los Angeles took a four-point lead 4:16 into the second half, then fell behind by four, but took the lead by the end of the third quarter. An old-fashioned 3-point play by Jamal Crawford gave Los Angeles a five-point lead a minute into the fourth quarter.
Late in the first half, the Celtics intentionally fouled Los Angeles big man DeAndre Jordan, who came in leading the league in field goal percentage and was last — by a lot — in foul shooting percentage. He went 1-for-4 from the line in the first half and missed two in the third quarter.Notes: Before the game, n Rivers met the media and greeted old friends and former players in the hallway. “I’m an emotional guy,” Rivers said. “I just hope I can coach the team tonight and get through it.” ... “The Rivers Reunion Tour” hits Brooklyn tonight, when the Clippers visit the Nets and former Celtics forwards Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. ... Los Angeles F Antawn Jamison scored his 20,000th NBA point in the first half. ... The Celtics host the Knicks on Friday night, five days after beating New York 114-73 at Madison Square Garden. ... Veteran F Stephen Jackson, who was working out waiting for an NBA call, signed with and debuted for the injury-depleted Clippers. ... F Kris Humphries, who was performing well off the Celtics’ bench, didn’t play Wednesday because of a bruised right knee. Boston rookie F/C Kelly Olynyk (ankle) missed his 10th consecutive game, but he might play Friday.