THE FACTS: On a night when the Lakers paid tribute to their revered owner Jerry Buss, who died Monday following a long illness, they showed the same passion that he displayed in 24 years at the helm. The Lakers dismantled their longest-running rival almost from the start, getting huge games from Dwight Howard and Earl Clark on their way to a 113-99 victory Wednesday night against the Celtics at Staples Center.
QUOTABLE: "It's a very great tribute to a very great man."
-- Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni
THE STAT: Lakers point guard Steve Nash was one of seven players in double figures for L.A., contributing 14 points and seven assists to pass former Lakers star Magic Johnson for fourth on the all-time NBA assist list (10,144).
QUOTABLE II: "It comes from hard work, preparation and understanding the game."
-- Mike D'Antoni on Nash
TURNING POINT: Boston took an early 15-11 lead but Kobe Bryant's basket sparked a 10-0 run. The Lakers continued to pad their lead, taking a 36-27 lead into the second quarter. The Celtics made a couple moves, getting within five points twice in the quarter, but an 11-2 run to start the second half put the Celtics in a deep hole for good.
HOT: Howard, who has taken some criticism for his up-and-down play before the All-Star break, was the type of player many envisioned when he came over from Orlando in the offseason. Howard finished with a team-high 24 points and 12 rebounds. Clark, who began the season on the end of the Lakers bench, continued his remarkable evolution, scoring 14 points and grabbing a career-high 16 rebounds. Courtney Lee overcame early foul trouble to score a season-high 20 points for the Celtics.
NOT: Bryant didn't shoot the ball particularly well, finishing 5-for-15 from the floor and scoring 16 points, but he matched Nash with seven assists, four rebounds and three turnovers. Kevin Garnett continues to struggle with his shooting for the Celtics. He finished 6-for-14 from the floor and scored 12 points. A 50.2 percent field goal shooter on the season, he has shot under that mark in three straight games.
GOOD MOVE: Right from the opening tip, Howard seemed like he was on a mission to prove himself to Lakers fans and the team brass, totaling eight points and four rebounds in the game's first five minutes. That seemed to resonate with his teammates, who combined to put together one of their best efforts of the season.
QUOTABLE II: "One little step, don't want to get too crazy."
-- Mike D'Antoni
BAD MOVE: With the Lakers on the verge of putting a stamp on the Celtics, Bryant and Howard were both called for technical fouls in the third quarter. Fortunately for the Lakers, Boston didn't turn those into momentum changers.
NOTABLE: Buss won his last NBA championship in 2010, a seven-game victory against the Celtics. ... The 113 points by the Lakers was the most since they scored the same number Jan. 13 against the Cavaliers. ... Paul Pierce, who grew up in L.A., scored a team-high 26 points for the Celtics.
UP NEXT: For the Lakers, Friday vs. Portland, Sunday @ Dallas, Monday @ Denver. For the Celtics, Friday @ Phoenix, Sunday @ Portland, Monday @ Utah.