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Clippers vs. Celtics preview: L.A. goes for 15th straight win

The Los Angeles Clippers and their impressive bench unit will aim for the 15th straight victory Thursday night when they host the Boston Celtics.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Clippers have a 14-game winning streak going, and they're suddenly looking like the best and deepest in the NBA thus far in the season.

A year after appearing to be on the hot seat, Vinny Del Negro has his team establishing elite relevancy, and Thursday night the Clippers face a Boston Celtics team at Staples Center that's just hoping it's still in that conversation itself.

The Celtics (14-13) aren't in panic mode by any means, but they're 2-4 over the last six games. Doc Rivers' team is coming off a Christmas day victory against the Brooklyn Nets and hoping it has the firepower to hang with the Clippers (22-6). Boston averages 97 points per game, which is 15th in the NBA.

Los Angeles ranks in the top five in both offensive rating and defensive rating, according to Basketball-Reference.com, and the biggest issue for the Celtics could be their bench unit hanging tough. The Clippers' bench outscored the Celtics' bench 31-11 in the two teams' last meeting on March 12, and that was before Los Angeles added the depth of Jamal Crawford, among other things.

Crawford has scored 22 points in his last two games.

Time: 7:30 p.m. PT

TV: TNT