Boston Garden is smelly, creaky, rat-infested and so beaten down by age that it doesn't need any trash being thrown around.
But this was trash talking , and Xavier McDaniel could back it up.
When the Clippers came in Sunday night, looking for their second victory over the Celtics in five days and the first sweep of the season series since 1978-79, they got kicked in the tradition. Boston, powered by McDaniel's 24 points and 10 rebounds in 29 minutes of play as a reserve, and with Alaa Abdelnaby getting 21 of his 23 points in the second half, won, 120-112, before 14,890.
McDaniel was on his game. A rebound was followed by banter with Ron Harper. A basket at the end of the third quarter was followed by a chest bump with Mark Jackson, a teammate last season with the Knicks, as they passed heading to their huddles.
In other words, it was McDaniel's ideal night.
"It's like, you talk it to me and I'll talk it to you," he said.
The topic of discussion?
"If I told you what I said, you couldn't print it," McDaniel replied.
You couldn't print much of what he said after the game, either. His anger started with 51 seconds to play in the third quarter, when Harper was on the ground after slipping and being called for traveling. McDaniel reached to swipe the ball, but Harper pulled his arms away. Then he gave McDaniel the ball softly, but in the back of the head.
McDaniel and Harper talked trash the rest of the quarter during plays and dead balls. The bump at the end of the period, when the Celtics were at their best and the crowd was at its loudest, brought Jackson into the act.
Nothing more serious than conversation developed. Nothing, unless you're the Clippers. What happened in that third quarter was serious enough.
They led, 63-57, at halftime, were shooting 54.2% and had 14 points and six rebounds from Danny Manning. But when Manning got two quick fouls in the third quarter, giving him four only 1:16 into the second half, he went out out and the Celtics went off.
Boston was behind, 67-61, with 9:20 to play and then scored on 10 consecutive possessions and 14 of the last 16 of the quarter. By then Boston had an 89-83 lead.
"But we had the same situation in New York," Coach Larry Brown said of Saturday's victory against the Knicks. "He (Manning) got early fouls and we managed to hang on. . . . I thought if we could stay close. We were never down by more than six (points) with him on the bench. Then we tied it in the fourth quarter."
Manning stayed out until 10:08 remained in the game, but that was plenty of time to make an impact. He made two free throws, then had a slam dunk to pull the Clippers within 93-91 with 8:25 to play. When he went around Robert Parish for a layup, the game was tied, 95-95; then 97-97, with two more free throws; then 99-99, when he powered past McDaniel for another layin.
Finally, with 4:33 to play, he took a feed from Mark Jackson on the run and charged down the lane, past Parish for a layup and 101-99 lead. When the Celtics regained the lead, Manning made two more free throws to make it 103-103. Then he hit a short jump shot from the baseline over Abdelnaby to keep the Clippers within 107-105.
But that's where his--and the Clippers'--run ended. The Celtics surged again with a 5-0 run, good enough for a 112-105 cushion with 42 seconds to play.
It hurt until the end. When the Clippers had to foul, McDaniel went to the line four times in the final 28 seconds and made all eight free throws, giving him 10 for the quarter.
Manning had 18 points in his 10:40 of the last period and finished with 32, on 11-of-18 shooting, before fouling out with four seconds to play. The Clippers, after beating the Celtics last Wednesday at the Sports Arena, were short.
"We continued what we started on the coast," Celtic Robert Parish said. "We felted like we played well, but then coasted in L.A. and didn't get the job done. Tonight, we stayed focused for 48 minutes."
Added Abdelnaby: "I think you saw this team learned its lesson. It got us a win tonight."
The Celtics converted 39 of 42 free throws, tying the Los Angeles and San Diego record for most successes. Alaa Abdelnaby went 11 for 11, Xavier McDaniel 10 for 10. "We put them on the free-throw line so much," Clipper Coach Larry Brown said. "That allowed them to set their defenses and we couldn't run. It really hurt us." The Clippers were 16 of 18. . . . Mark Jackson had 11 assists, his first time in double digits in five games. . . . The trip continues Tuesday at Indiana.