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Box Score Los Angeles Lakers 23 21 25 26 95
Play by Play Boston Celtics 27 31 37 21 116
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TNT Thursday

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Celtics rout Lakers 116-95 for 6th straight win

By HOWARD ULMAN


Posted Feb 07 2013 10:41PM

BOSTON (AP) Paul Pierce scored 24 points and led a third-quarter surge as the Boston Celtics routed the Los Angeles Lakers 116-95 on Thursday night, improving to 6-0 since losing point guard Rajon Rondo for the season with a torn knee ligament.

The Lakers had cut a 58-44 halftime deficit to 72-61 with 5:07 left in the third quarter. Then the Celtics went on a 23-8 run and led 95-69 going into the fourth. Pierce started the surge with a three-point play and ended it with a 3-pointer with 41 seconds left, giving him 12 points in the period.

Kobe Bryant scored 27 to lead the Lakers, who suffered their worst loss of the season despite the return of Dwight Howard after he missed three games with a sore right shoulder.

The win was Boston's biggest of the season.

The Lakers had won six of their previous seven games, including all three without Howard, and had moved three games behind the Houston Rockets for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West.

But they trailed by at least 11 points throughout the second half.

Previously, the Celtics' biggest win was 94-75 at Indiana on Jan. 4, and the Lakers' worst loss was 113-97 at Sacramento on Nov. 21.

Kevin Garnett had 15 points and became the 16th player in NBA history to score 25,000 when he hit an 11-foot turnaround jumper that gave him six for the game and put the Celtics ahead 39-29 with 8:08 left in the half. Jeff Green had 19 points and Jason Terry added 15.

Howard had nine points and nine rebounds in 28 minutes before fouling out with 5:07 left. Metta World Peace also was back after a one-game suspension for grabbing Detroit's Brandon Knight around the neck and striking him in the jaw with the knuckles of his mostly open hand in the Lakers' 98-97 win Sunday.

But Pau Gasol missed his first game since being sidelined indefinitely with a torn plantar fascia in his right foot.

Besides Rondo, rookie forward Jared Sullinger also is out for the season after undergoing back surgery and sat out his fourth game.

Just three years ago, the teams met in the NBA Finals with the Lakers winning in seven games. Only four players on those teams were active Thursday - Bryant and World Peace for Los Angeles and Pierce and Garnett for Boston. Gasol and Rondo also played in that series.

The Celtics led by 14 at halftime after hitting 51.1 percent of their shots while the Lakers kept missing open jumpers and sank just 37.8 percent of theirs, including just 2 of 12 from beyond the 3-point arc.

Los Angeles' last lead, 11-10, came on a 12-foot turnaround fadeaway by Bryant with 6:38 left in the first quarter.

Boston led 27-23 going into the second and built it to 55-40 when Garnett drew two defenders to him under the basket and passed to Chris Wilcox for a dunk with 2:35 left.

Boston took its biggest lead of the half, 58-42 on two free throws by Pierce with 37 seconds to go.

Notes: The Celtics play at home Sunday for the sixth time in seven games when they meet the Denver Nuggets. ... The Lakers are 3-2 on their seven-game road trip, which continues Friday night in Charlotte and ends Sunday in Miami. ... Six Celtics scored in double figures, the fifth straight game in which they had at least five.

Copyright 2013 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited


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Points Bryant, 27
Rebounds Howard, 9
Assists Pierce (BOS), 6
Steals Garnett (BOS), 3
Blocks Clark, 2
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POSTGAME QUOTES



Mike D'Antoni:

“I thought early, for whatever reason, we didn’t come out real sharp, or energy at all. In the first half we missed 10 foul shots, and couldn’t make a shot from the outside. Obviously we didn’t want to be down 14, but I thought defensively it was disappointing that we didn’t fight as hard as we’ve been fighting.”

“It all stretches the energy and the mind set and playing freely and we just didn’t do it. One reason Kobe didn’t have an assist is we didn’t make a shot…couldn’t make foul shots. Couldn’t make outside shots. Obviously our post ups other than Kobe weren’t very good.”

On third quarter 37 points and 80% FG by Boston:
“They’re playing great. They’re playing really good. They’re moving the ball and they’re hard to guard. Garnett is terrific by moving and the energy he puts into the game is terrific so you have to give them a lot of credit, and we didn’t do anything to stop it.”

Does Howard look physically sound?
“I don’t know. It was bad for everybody. You’ll have to ask him.”




Steve Nash:

What happened in the second half? What’d you see?
“I personally think the first half was just as bad as the second. Obviously we made a couple of turnovers that got them a break and they stretched the lead way up in the second half but I think in the first half we didn’t put a lot of energy into the game and our defense was poor because of it. We weren’t really creating shots the way we could have if we played at a little better pace. So, disappointing performance start to finish.”

How disappointing is it that you’ll play without Gasol for 6-8 weeks?
“I mean, it’s tough. He’s pretty much gone until April by the time he gets himself back in shape. We’re going to have to find ways to get a rhythm with Dwight and have him be a big part of things. Obviously because he’s really our only big and we’re pretty small without him”

Do you credit the Celtics with hot shooting in the third quarter or did you guys let down defensively?
“I don’t think our defense was good all night like I said but in the third quarter they got a couple of steals, got a couple of bounces, made a couple of shots. Give them credit on a little bit of happenstance – I think the defense was a little bit below average all game.”

“I think we’re gonna have to watch the tape, but it felt a little stagnant again offensively and I don’t feel we were real energetic defensively at times. But you’ve gotta play hard. I think that’s what a big part of why we’ve been pretty good is that we’ve played together, we’ve played with a lot of energy and good things happen when you do that.”




Metta World Peace:

What happened?
“They were the better team tonight. I mean….they were just the better team.”

What did you think overall about Dwight coming back to the team?
“I think he did great. He got in foul trouble early and I thought he did great. I think he’ll be fine. Sometimes when you play basketball and you play with a lot of different lineups it can throw you a little bit off rhythm but it doesn’t take a team like this long to get back on track.“




Dwight Howard:

How did the shoulder hold up, how do you think you played?
“Well, it was, starting out there a little bit, there were a couple times where I felt it, but I just tried not to think about it. Just be as strong as I can, not try to nurse it.”

How ready mentally were you to play tonight?
“Well, you know we had talked about playing earlier today, but mentally I came in ready.”

Bad defensive performance on a team where defense is so important…what’s wrong with this team?
“We just gotta play better.” “you, personally, or the whole team?” Dwight: “The whole team.”

What do you make of all of this…getting back on the court and it was a team disaster
“You win some, you lose some. We gotta move on.”

Where are you in terms of playing ability?
“When I get out there, I play as hard as I can and do whatever I can to help this team.”

On questioning toughness, babying shoulder and not playing through injuries:
“Gotta play through pain. That’s people’s opinions. People can say what they want to say, but none of these people are playing none of these people have had injuries. They can say what they want about playing through pain and playing through injuries. I spent a whole summer last summer trying to recover because I wanted to play through pain and show people that I’m tough. But I have to do that. I spent 8 years in Orlando, never really had any injury, and the injuries that I did have were ones where I could play through it. And stuff like this, with the shoulder and the back is not something that you can play with and say you hope it gets better.”




Kobe Bryant:

“The roof just kind of caved in on us and it gave them a lot of transition points and easy baskets. They were hot. I cant really remember them missing a shot in the 3rd quarter…they just played really well.”

What can you do without Pau?
“Just try to figure it out systematically the way we’re gonna attack things. We’re probably gonna, probably put Clark in a lot of those positions that Pau on in terms of being a 4, with his ability to stretch the floor and knock down shots and handle the ball and make plays.”

On losing Pau:
“Well, I think LA’s kind of seen how much we miss Pau and what he brings to the table and his skill set. Maybe now they’ll start appreciating him a little more.”

Assists have been a big part of your game the past 7 games. Did you feel like you had to take over offensively and do it yourself?
“No, I mean I made the plays that were there. We just didn’t make shots. I can’t get assists if I don’t make shots. We went 4 for 21 from the 3..there’s not much I can do about that.”

On Dwight’s performance:
"I think he did alright with it being his first time back. He was obviously a little rusty, kind of out of it a little bit, but he did alright, and foul trouble doesn’t help.”

On Celtics playing without Rondo, doesn’t it make him confident that they can get things together:
“Well ya, we don’t have a choice. We just have to figure it out, we have to put our thinking caps on. Guys have to step up and have a little more responsibility than they ordinarily would.”

On all Boston’s managed to do the past 6 games:
“It’s typical Celtics basketball. They all just put their hard hats on and they go out and go hard and figure things out. It always just seems like whenever their backs are against the wall, you know that’s when you really see the best from them.” “Then they perform and step up and play well, just like they did last year. They made that playoff run…that’s just what this team does. They kind of rope-a-dope you a little bit.”




Doc Rivers:

“That was a great game by our guys, just the ball movement, the pace. And it was really created with our defense. I was really happy in the third. Kobe (Bryant) had it going, to say the least, and our guys didn’t overreact to it. And that’s what we just kept saying: ‘He’s going to make shots. Just don’t overreact. Just keep playing. Just keep playing with your pace. And I thought that was great. I thought the first quarter was the biggest part of the game. Kevin (Garnett) gets the two fouls, sits until the beginning of the second, and when he comes in we have a lead. That was huge for us.”

On withstanding early foul trouble:
“You know, one was (Dwight) Howard shot some of the free throws; that didn’t hurt us. And two, we stopped fouling after that, which was good. But usually you’re in the penalty three minutes into the game and Garnett goes out, that usually is not a good thing for your basketball team. And the fact that we had – what did we have, a four point lead? – that was huge. I thought honestly that may have been the difference in the entire game. We played last night, so in a lot of ways Kevin got a ton of rest. And then he came in in the second quarter and was phenomenal.”

On the Lakers being Paul Pierce’s favorite team to play against:
“Well, he’s from LA. Like me going to Chicago as a kid, or I guess I was an adult by then. You always – And the rivalry as well. So he has the double whammy: he’s with the Celtics playing the Lakers, and he’s from LA. And he lives in LA in the off-season. So it’s probably really important for him to play well and win, so he can walk the streets and talk, as Paul probably does.”

On dominating in the paint, despite Dwight Howard’s return:
“A lot of it, it wasn’t Dwight’s fault. We spaced the floor. We kept Brandon (Bass); if we kept Brandon, Brandon stayed outside, Kevin was outside. So we really did a good job of keeping him outside of the paint, which was important. And that’s what we’ve basically been doing with the ability of Kevin to shoot and Brandon to shoot, you can pull bigs outside the paint, which allows all our guards to get to the basket. And that’s what we’ve been doing.”

On if he saw Dwight Howard looking rusty:
“I didn’t see the same; I thought he started out the game really well. But you expect that, you know, you don’t sit out then – Dwight’s going through a lot of stuff. That’s not an easy injury to play with; remember Avery (Bradley) tried to play with it last year and it didn’t work out in the long run. So that’s – it’s just a very difficult injury. You can play with it; it’s extremely painful. It’s just one of those things.”

On Garnett, who prides himself on defensive skills, scoring his 25,000th career point:
“You know what’s funny is he’s a great offensive player. But that tells you he’s so good defensively that you rarely hear about Kevin being a great offensive player. That just tells you how good he is overall. He’s a great passer, he’s a great rebounder, he’s a great offensive player – I don’t know what else.”




Paul Pierce:

“Whenever you match up against, Celtics, Lakers rivalry it always feels good and to give them the old fashioned beat down at your house. You know, it doesn’t matter what direction this team is going, there will always be a rivalry. You know, everybody’s always going to watch, and it feels good when you get the win like that.”

Was it flashback to game 6 in 2008?
“I mean, it’s just a new day. They got a new team, I probably wouldn’t think of it that way, the stakes are always high when you’ve got the Celtics and the Lakers against each other. Whether it be there or here it’s always going to have that playoff feel.”

On your individual performance:
“I like these types of games. You know, a game that has playoff feel to it, you can feel the energy every time the Lakers come into the building. A national televised game, there’s always a little extra muster you try and put out there when this type of setting is set up for you.”

“It always does. It’s never going to change. You walk down these hallways and when you come in here you see the whole rivalry, pictures, you see throughout the decades how it goes, regular season, playoffs, championships. I mean it’s always going to have that extra little edge to this game like I said.”

On third quarter:
“I think it was about our defense. I said to the guys at halftime if we rebound the ball a little bit better we can get out and run and open this game up. And I thought that’s exactly what we did in the third, we forced turnovers, we got stops, we rebounded the ball and we got out in transition and we executed our offense and keep our turnovers down, and that’s key for us. Especially with Rondo not being there handling the ball and we moved.”




Kevin Garnett:

What did it mean to get 25,000th point?
“I’m sure someday I’ll fall back and rock in my rocking chair having a cigar, thinking about what I’ve done, I’m sure it will make some sense to me. But you know, I told Doc when I came here to all the coaches and ex-players and current players and systems and organizations, this great organization that I play for, I’m more than honored, because without the systems and the coaches, and obviously players that put you in a position to score the basketball none of this would be possible. You know I try to keep my body young and keep together. But there’s so many different components going into some of the individual awards, and I’d just like to obviously say I’m more than honored. But thank you, to all the ones that you guys don’t see. So I guess all that said and done I’m more than flattered and honored.”

What does it mean knowing team’s playing well right now?
“First priority was the Lakers tonight so I didn’t even notice until somebody said it to me in passing last night and it kind of went in one ear and out the other. You know, it means a lot obviously to be in a Celtic uniform so that’s where it’s coming from me. Separately, with priority being on the Lakers tonight. Us getting the win and it being a monumental night. Second, you know my family, my baby, she got to be at the game tonight and see it. Thank you for snow days. She got to come to the game tonight which is kind of unusual, so it was good to have her there. My family and everything, my sisters and everything. So it was great.”

On 6-0, proving to everyone:
“I don’t know what Danny and upper management has up their sleeves as far as making this team better. But we as players can only control us. Right now we are in a rhythm, we are moving the ball. I know I kind of sound like a broken record but we are continuing to consolidate the ball and everybody’s touching the ball and playing with a lot of confidence. We are playing together on both ends and that’s important right now.”

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LAKERS-CELTICS PREVIEW

By JEFF BARTL

Posted Feb 07 2013 1:05AM

If the Los Angeles Lakers are looking for some inspiration to remain positive after losing another key player, all they'll need to do is look across the TD Garden court Thursday night.

Pau Gasol is out indefinitely and Dwight Howard likely will miss a fourth straight game as the Lakers seek a seventh victory in eight tries when they face the surging Boston Celtics, who have won five straight since Rajon Rondo's season-ending injury.

Howard's sore right shoulder resulting from a partially torn labrum has kept him on the sidelines for the team's current three-game winning streak as Los Angeles (23-26) attempts to get into the Western Conference playoff picture.

The Lakers suffered another injury setback, though, as Gasol felt a pop in his right foot during Tuesday's 92-83 win at Brooklyn and was diagnosed with a torn plantar fascia after an MRI in Boston on Wednesday.

Kobe Bryant, who scored 21 points versus the Nets, has been more of a distributor during the team's surge, though he may need to look for his shot more with both big men out. He's averaging 17.4 points and 9.3 assists over the last seven games, compared to 29.2 points and 4.7 assists prior.

Los Angeles is 3-1 on its seven-game road trip that ends at East-leading Miami on Sunday.

"Now reality kind of sets in," Bryant said. "If Pau can't go and Dwight can't go, we have to figure some things out."

Coach Mike D'Antoni insists the Lakers can keep their momentum despite the injuries. The Lakers, who will have Metta World Peace back after he served a one-game suspension versus Brooklyn, are three games behind Houston for the final playoff spot.

"Hopefully we'll get Dwight back pretty soon and then hopefully Pau's not too bad," D'Antoni said. "If not, we'll play."

Los Angeles has won three straight regular-season meetings with the Celtics and five of the last six overall, including games 6 and 7 in the 2010 NBA finals.

Boston (25-23), though, has been on a roll since Rondo suffered a torn ACL in a double-overtime defeat at Atlanta on Jan. 25. That was the last time the Celtics lost, as they overcame a 10-point deficit to win on the road for the first time since Rondo went down, 99-95 at Toronto on Wednesday.

Kevin Garnett scored a season-high 27 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as Boston had at least five players in double figures for the fourth straight game.

"We're fighters," Garnett said. "We're a team that's going to compete for 48 minutes. It's not always pretty. We're not perfect, we're human beings. But we play hard, we do our best to go out and try to perfect the game plan."

Garnett, who shot 10 of 36 from the field in his last two home games against the Lakers, has four double-doubles in his last six games after recording eight in his first 42 contests.

"He's been phenomenal in this stretch and he's carried us offensively," Paul Pierce, who missed 9 of 11 shots Wednesday but had 11 rebounds and six assists, said of Garnett.

Wednesday also marked coach Doc Rivers' 400th victory with the Celtics, as he joined Red Auerbach and Tom Heinsohn as the only others to accomplish the feat.

"That's cool," Rivers said. "To be behind those two guys is pretty special for me."

Los Angeles has won four straight regular-season meetings in Boston, three of which were decided by one point.


Copyright 2012 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
Probable Starters .
  Lakers    
  #15 World Peace SF #34 Pierce  
  #6 ClarkPF #30 Bass  
  #50 Sacre C #5 Garnett  
  #24 Bryant SG #11 Lee  
  #10 Nash PG #0 Bradley  


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Lakers Pau Gasol
(strained plantar fascia, right foot) is out
Jordan Hill
(torn labrum, left hip/herniated disc) is out.
Dwight Howard
(torn labrum, right shoulder) is questionable.
Lakers Rajon Rondo
(torn ACL, right knee) is out.
Jared Sullinger
(lumbar disc surgery) is out.
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02/07 - LAL @ BOS
02/20 - BOS @ LAL
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