NBA: Lou Williams makes history off bench as Clippers top Celtics; Cavs' starters shine in win over Raptors

LOS ANGELES (REUTERS) – Lou Williams scored 34 points to become the most prolific bench scorer in National Basketball Association history as the Los Angeles Clippers continued their charge toward the playoffs with a 140-115 victory over the visiting Boston Celtics on Monday (March 11).

Danilo Gallinari scored 13 of his 25 points in the opening quarter, and Montrezl Harrell added 20 points as the Clippers won their fifth consecutive game and improved to 9-3 since their roster was restructured at the trade deadline.

With the victory, Los Angeles moved into sole possession of sixth place in the Western Conference.

Williams, who leads the NBA in points off the bench this season, passed Dell Curry as the highest-scoring player off the bench of all time and now has 11,154 as a reserve in his career. Curry had 11,148 points as a reserve.

It was Williams’ eighth game of the season with at least 30 points, all since Dec 28.

Terry Rozier scored 26 points for the Celtics, who saw their three-game winning streak end. Boston went 3-1 on a four-game road trip, all against California teams. Jaylen Brown scored 22 points, and Kyrie Irving added 18 and 11 assists for the Celtics.

Unlike the Clippers’ 123-112 victory at Boston on Feb 9, when Los Angeles set a franchise record by rallying from a 28-point, first-half deficit, the Clippers took control of this one early.

Los Angeles led 25-19 after one quarter and had a 62-49 lead at half-time after shooting 72.2 per cent from the field in the second quarter. The Clippers shot 61.6 per cent from the field for the game as seven players scored in double figures.

Ivica Zubac had 14 points and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander added 12 for the Clippers, who tied their longest winning streak of the season, first done in November. Patrick Beverley and Landry Shamet added 11 each for Los Angeles.

Marcus Morris had 11 points and Al Horford added 10 for the Celtics.

Wilson Chandler made his Clippers debut in the fourth quarter and scored two points. He was acquired from the Philadelphia 76ers in the trade-deadline move that cost Los Angeles leading scorer Tobias Harris, but had not played with his new team because of a quadriceps injury.

The Celtics were playing without forward Jayson Tatum, who missed his first game of the season because of right shoulder soreness.

In Cleveland, Collin Sexton scored 28 points, and all five Cavaliers starters scored in double figures in their 126-101 win over the visiting Toronto Raptors.

Kevin Love, with 16 points and 18 rebounds, recorded his ninth double-double in 14 games this season. He also was a force on the defensive end, drawing four offensive fouls.

Cedi Osman added 19 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. Ante Zizic compiled 17 points and seven boards.

Kawhi Leonard led the Raptors with 25 points and nine rebounds. Pascal Siakam added 15 points and Kyle Lowry scored 14 for the Raptors, who had their two-game winning streak snapped.

Toronto’s Serge Ibaka and Cleveland’s Marquese Chriss were ejected following a fight near the end of the third quarter. They had collided while going for a full-court pass near the Raptors’ basket. Chriss appeared to say something as Ibaka got up. Ibaka grabbed Chriss by the throat and punches were thrown by both players but none of the punches landed.

Cleveland took a 91-77 lead into the fourth quarter. The lead grew to 108-88 on Osman’s lay-up and free throw.

The Cavaliers took control early in the second period. Jordan Clarkson and David Nwaba hit back-to-back three-pointers to give Cleveland a 31-26 lead.

Cleveland took a 59-55 edge into intermission despite shooting just 38.5 per cent from the field, while the Raptors hit 51.5 per cent. The big difference was turnovers; Toronto committed 11 to just two by Cleveland in the first half.

Sexton led the Cavaliers with 13 first-half points while Leonard had 13 to pace the Raptors.

Cleveland opened up an 11-point lead early in the third period with Sexton and Zizic combining to score seven consecutive points. Toronto cut the deficit to five, but Love later hit back-to-back three-pointers to give Cleveland a 78-66 lead.

The Cavaliers connected on six three-pointers in the third quarter and made 18 of 41 for the game. The Raptors made just 11 of 39 attempts from beyond the arc.

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