LOS ANGELES, Feb. 22 (Ticker) --
After foul trouble forced him to the
bench early against the Boston Celtics, Lamar Odom
came up big
for the Los Angeles Lakers in the second half.
Odom scored 15 of his 21 points after halftime as the Lakers
rallied for a 104-95 triumph over the visiting Celtics.
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The referees called a lot of fouls in the first half as both
teams had three players apiece forced to the bench with three
fouls. Odom was limited to just nine minutes before halftime,
scoring six points over that stretch for Los Angeles, which shot
just 31 percent (14-of-45) from the floor en route to a 51-47
deficit at the half.
"I was feeling pretty down after getting into early foul trouble
and missing my first two shots," Odom said. "But Chucky
(Atkins) told me to keep my head in it. He said there was a
long way to go, and he was right. We definitely needed this
win. We have to keep this thing going now."
After former Laker Gary Payton's
free throw extended Boston's
lead to 70-63 with 2:56 left in the third quarter, the Lakers
responded with a 17-6 burst that gave them a four-point lead
just under three minutes into the fourth.
"I'm really proud of the way we competed, especially at the end
of the third quarter and throughout the fourth quarter," interim
Lakers coach Frank Hamblen said. "We had a rugged first half,
what you would expect of roughly a week layoff, but we stayed
within the confines of our offense. It was a great effort by
free throw snapped a 76-76 tie and Jumaine Jones
buried his third 3-pointer to cap the run, giving the Lakers an
80-76 edge with 9:07 left in the fourth quarter.
"I was getting some open looks and was able to hit a couple,"
said Jones, who posted 14 points and four 3-pointers. "My
teammates were finding me and when I have an open look, I am
going to do my best to knock those down."
The Lakers' lead was 88-84 after a dunk by Celtics center Mark Blount
with 5:12 to go, but Los Angeles answered with a decisive
and Chris Mihm
scored all 10 points over that
stretch, with Bryant scoring seven including a three-point play
with 2:39 remaining that opened a 98-86 cushion.
Odom was 8-of-14 from the floor and grabbed 11 rebounds and Mihm
added 19 points and 15 boards for Los Angeles, which dominated
Boston on the glass, 54-32.
"Mihm destroyed us tonight," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said.
"Nineteen and 15 is a solid game, every night or anywhere it's
an All-Star game. He just got the better of us."
Mihm grabbed eight of his rebounds on the offensive glass and
blocked four shots for Los Angeles, which had 22 second-chance
"Chris was a huge help," Bryant said. "He obviously has the
athletic ability to block shots and change the game from that
standpoint. Every game he has done that except for when he gets
into foul trouble."
Bryant, who struggled against the defense of Ricky Davis
first half, scored 21 points on 6-of-13 shooting for the Lakers,
who hit 56 percent of their shots in the second half (20-of-36)
while winning their fourth straight against the Celtics.
Davis and Paul Pierce
scored 25 points each and Payton added 11
for Boston, which had no other players score in double figures.