Kevin Garnett's second game back had Boston coach Doc Rivers concerned for an unexpected reason.
Paul Pierce scored 22 points and Rajon Rondo had 16 points and 12 assists, leading the Celtics to a 95-89 win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night in a game played on a TD Garden floor that had to be continually wiped because of condensation.
"The first seven, eight minutes I didn't think we were going to even finish the game," Rivers said. "I was nervous, though. I really was."
The sometimes-slippery parquet floor forced the ball boys to mop one end while play was going on at the other for most of the game. Early in the game, a few players slipped, causing a brief delay with 2:28 left in the first quarter.
Rivers and Los Angeles coach Mike Dunleavy spoke about the conditions early in the game.
"Mike and I came together, if anybody else slipped in the next two minutes the game was going to be canceled," Rivers said. "We, at that point, were very close. Mike said the same thing, `We can't afford to get a guy injured on this floor."'
"It was wet," said Rondo, who shared a postgame podium with Garnett.
Garnett played 30 minutes and scored 17 points, while being the center of the defense.
"I think I'm just talking," Garnett said of his defensive presence. "I'm trying to bring a continued awareness of defense, a continued awareness of energy."
It was the Celtics' second straight win after they lost four of five games.
Ray Allen added 15 points for the Celtics, who lost to the Clippers 92-90 in Los Angeles on Dec. 27 when Baron Davis hit a fallaway jumper at the buzzer.
Rasual Butler led the Clippers with 17 points and Davis scored 16 on just 5 of 13 shooting. Craig Smith scored 11 of his 13 in the final quarter for Los Angeles.
Dunleavy knew the floor was a problem before the start.
"Our guys complained about it before we even played the game, guys were at risk and you hate for that to be the case," he said. "We kept having to go out and wipe it. There were three kids on each end trying to wipe it. It must have been better because I didn't see guys - we had four guys in the first quarter slip."
Both teams shot under 37 percent in the opening 12 minutes.
"I actually slipped one time posting up Kevin, trying to go around him," Clippers center Chris Kaman said.
Los Angeles forward Marcus Camby felt they waited a bit too long to address the problem.
"We were all slipping. It seemed like every Clipper was slipping, then when Ray Allen slips, they want to bring it in and address the issue, so that's what we were chirping about," he said. "It was kind of dangerous out there for both teams."
Los Angeles, which snapped an eight-game road losing streak at Washington Sunday, fell to 6-15 on the road.
Boston opened a 71-61 edge on Tony Allen's steal and breakaway layup with just under 11 minutes to play before Smith scored either from the floor or free throw line on seven straight possessions, closing the gap to 77-73 with 5:43 left.
But Pierce answered with a 3-pointer, pushing the Celtics lead to seven.
The Clippers never closed the gap to below four points the rest of the way.
The Celtics, who trailed by one at halftime, opened the third quarter by scoring the first six points to move ahead 49-44. They pushed their lead to 58-50 on Rondo's driving basket midway into the quarter and led 64-59 after three.
This program aired on January 26, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.