The Boston Celtics (13-25, 4-12 away) visit the Los Angeles Clippers (27-14, 17-7 home) on Monday afternoon at the Staples Center in Los Angeles (3:30 p.m., CSN). Here's what to watch for:
GAME PREVIEW (via STATS LLC)
The Boston Celtics haven't won a road game against a Western Conference foe since Doc Rivers was coaching them two seasons ago.
The Celtics figure to be hard-pressed to end a 23-game road slide versus West opponents Monday when they visit Rivers' Los Angeles Clippers.
Boston (13-25) faces a major challenge as it starts a six-game trip against the other conference. It hasn't beaten a Western club on the road since Rivers guided the Celtics to a 110-107 overtime win over Utah on Feb. 25, 2013.
Rivers left the following season for Los Angeles (27-14) and beat Boston in both meetings last season. There isn't anyone left from the Celtics club he led to the 2007-08 title now that Rajon Rondo was traded to Dallas on Dec. 18.
The trade means Chris Paul faces a far different point guard matchup against Evan Turner, who has averaged 6.2 assists while starting the last 10 games at that position for the Celtics.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH (via Chris Forsberg)
• Game plan: Play really well: Asked about the keys to Monday's game, Celtics coach Brad Stevens kept it pretty simple: "We just have to play really really well," said Stevens. "I hate to make it that simple but, defensively, we’ve got to be very good about getting back. And, offensively, we’ve got to be very tough about getting the right shot. It’s a challenging game because this is a team that, if you make five mistakes it’s 12 points the other way. We’ve had a fair share of that against the better teams in the league already. That’s hurt us."
• Tough trek looms: The Celtics have two days off following Monday's matinee, so there's plenty of time to bounce back. But that visit to the Blazers on Thursday starts maybe the most daunting 4-in-5 in the league this season as the Celtics go from Portland to Denver then San Francisco to Utah as part of the game-heavy stretch. A Boston team that's lost 23 straight on the road against the West could certainly benefit from playing well early in this road trip.
• New guys in focus: While newcomers Shavlik Randolph and Tayshaun Prince joined the team for Sunday's practice, it would seem unlikely that Brad Stevens will thrust them into the fire unless in small doses. "It’s not fair to them to expect them to know everything we’re doing on either end," said Stevens. "Shavlik has been in the league for a long time at different parts of his career, and Tayshaun is a 13-year pro, he’ll pick up things exceptionally quick. But, at the same time, they’ve both just got here late [Saturday] night and we had one film session, one practice -- now we’ve gotta go play. It’s good that we have a couple of days after that. We’ll take that at the appropriate pace."