The Boston Celtics (10-13, 5-5 home) host the Los Angeles Clippers (14-8, 6-6 away) on Wednesday evening at TD Garden (7:30 p.m., CSN). Here's what to watch for:
DOC'S RETURN: The obvious storyline here is former Celtics coach Doc Rivers returning to Boston for his first game against his old team. While Rivers' departure was anything but tidy, those summer wounds are healing (in part because of the early success new coach Brad Stevens has enjoyed through the season's first six weeks) and Rivers should received a prolonged standing ovation for what he did in Boston, particularly his role in delivering Banner 17 and changing the culture here. Fans can go right back to booing the Clippers after Rivers gets his moment. Many of Rivers' former players like Jeff Green and Jared Sullinger gushed Tuesday about what the coach meant to them individually.
CORRALLING CP3: The Celtics struggled to keep Deron Williams out of the paint on Tuesday night and -- in his first game back after a prolonged absence -- the All-Star point guard finished with 25 points and seven assists. It doesn't get any easier for Boston with Chris Paul in town. Said Green after Tuesday's loss: "When you’ve got a point guard like [Williams], and we got one like Chris Paul [on Wednesday] -- they can do a lot of things on the floor. It creates another threat on the team. There’s only five guys on the floor and there’s only one ball-handler. If you control the ball, it can limit what one person can do. [Wednesday], we’ve just got to do a better job of taking care of the ball and defending the ball."
JORDAN + GRIFFIN: After struggling to contain Brook Lopez on Tuesday night, Boston's undersized frontcourt will be tasked with stopping the size and athleticism of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. Both are double-double machines as Griffin is averaging a team-best 20.7 points per game to go along with 10.6 rebounds per game, while Jordan is chipping in 10 points and a team-best 13.3 rebounds per contest.
WHAT ELSE?: The Clippers are hoping to have newly inked Stephen Jackson to help offset some of their recent injury woes (J.J. Redick, Matt Barnes and Reggie Bullock have all been dinged up). ... After being better at the start of games recently, the Celtics dug themselves an early hole on Tuesday in Brooklyn. Asked what the team learned against the Nets, Gerald Wallace noted, "Don’t get off to a slow start. We’ve got to come out aggressive and we didn’t do that this game. I think that’s the biggest thing that hurt us [Tuesday]. We didn’t start the game the way we needed to start it." ... The Celtics are playing the second night of a back-to-back (the first time this season that the second night has been at home), while the Clippers were off on Tuesday. This is Boston's only back-to-back in a friendly December slate.