Lakers Gameday | 02/18/10 | Celtics
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Behind Allen, Celtics secure win against Kobe-less Lakers
By Bryan Chu, for NBA.com
Posted Friday February 19, 2010 3:18AM
LOS ANGELES (NBA.com exclusive) -- The Lakers haven't missed Kobe Bryant recently.
Winners of four straight without their clutch star, the defending champions could have used him against the rival Celtics Thursday.
With 2.2 seconds remaining -- typically vintage Bryant time -- it was Derek Fisher who put the ball on the floor and fired a 20-foot jumper that went wide left as the Celtics survived with an 87-86 victory at Staples Center.
Lakers coach Phil Jackson wouldn't go as far as to say what would have happened with Bryant, who missed his fifth straight game with a high ankle sprain, in the lineup.
"That's not part of our thought process," said Jackson, whose team went 1-for-11 in the final 7:13 of the game. "Our thought process is: 'Why couldn't we hit some of those shots when we're wide open? Why did we take a turnover down the stretch?'"
The season series is now tied 1-1 after the Lakers (42-14) took the Jan. 31 meeting 90-89 at Boston behind a game-winning jumper by Bryant.
This was a huge win for the Celtics (34-18), who have struggled mightily in the last 20 games, going 10-10. Another plus was Boston, which led for most of the game, winning without sharpshooter Eddie House, who is in the midst of becoming a Knick in return for Nate Robinson.
"I thought our team played with an unbelievable spirit to start the game," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers, whose team was 10-for-12 shooting in the opening period.
Much of the praise has to begin with Ray Allen, who was rumored to be on the trading block.
The last time these two teams met, Allen finished with seven points on 2-for-10 from the field, including missing all six 3-pointers. On Thursday, Allen finished with a game-high 24 points on 10-for-15 shooting. He also sank four triples.
"Ray was huge," Rivers said. "I think we should threaten to trade him all the time and then pull him back because he was phenomenal tonight."
Four other Celtics scored in double-figures with Rajon Rondo recording 14 points, 11 assists and five steals. Kendrick Perkins added 13 and 14 rebounds.
With the loss, the Lakers are 4-1 without Bryant and hold a 26-5 record at home.
Pau Gasol finished with a team-high 22 points, but was limited offensively in the fourth. Artest, who had 15, and Andrew Bynum (14) did most of their damage in the first three quarters.
Los Angeles' backcourt struggled as Shannon Brown, who set a career-high in points on Tuesday, and Fisher combined to shoot 3-for-18.
Despite making 40.2 percent for the game and trailing by as many as 11, the Lakers used a stingy defense to get back into the game in the fourth.
Sasha Vujacic was the catalyst as the Lakers went on a 13-0 rally that helped them take an 84-80 lead with 7:14 to play.
But poor shot selection and costly turnovers, including one by Brown with less than a minute to go, put the Lakers in a position where they couldn't close the game out.
"We were right there," said Lamar Odom, who finished with 13 points and 14 rebounds. "We didn't go through them right at the end."
It also didn't help that the Lakers finished 16-for-25 from the free-throw line.
"That's a killer," said Gasol, who was 8-for-8 from the line.
The basket that seemingly turned the game around for the Lakers early was when Bynum knocked Rasheed Wallace on his wallet and then went through Garnett for the layup to trim the Celtics' lead to 27-20. Artest had a vicious, left-handed dunk on Wallace in the second quarter and Odom also threw one down on Allen to trail as the Lakers trailed 53-48 at half.
Boston's blistering offense led by Allen, however, carried over into the third quarter. Though the Celtics cooled off the rest of the way, it was their defense late in the game that kept the Lakers in check.
"I'm really happy with the way we've played the last couple of nights defensively," Paul Pierce said.
Lakers’ Coach Phil Jackson on the ending of tonight’s game:
“Our defense gave us opportunity to win. We couldn’t get it done. Couldn’t find a way to score in the last few minutes. Thought execution kind of slowed down there at the end. Especially just shot selection. I think we had some pretty good shots. We couldn’t convert.”
On the team effort involved in making a fourth quarter comeback:
“A lot of our guys gave the effort and bounced back in the game and gave us the opportunity to win.”
On the Lakers’ last second attempt:
“Well, they had a foul to give. Fish broke off his cut. He was supposed to open the floor up and we were supposed to have an option there. It didn’t work. We had another timeout to use in case it didn’t work.”
On whether he would consider the hypothetical of what the game would have been like had the Lakers had Kobe Bryant:
“No. That’s not part of our thought process. Our thought process is: ‘Why couldn’t we hit some of those shots when we’re wide open? Why do we take a turnover down the stretch?’ It was a situation that we thought we had a couple good looks and from there on we go.”
On the Lakers’ execution down the stretch:
“We had some wide open shots. Shannon had a couple wide open shots. Pau had some opportunities. He opted to pass the second to last one. I still haven’t looked at that sequence. I have to look at that to understand that a little bit.”
On the play of the Celtics:
“Give Boston some credit. They’re one of the better defensive teams. They did a good job.”
Lakers’ Forward Pau Gasol on the Lakers’13-0 run in the fourth quarter:
“It was good. We really put some plays together and created some intensity. We finished plays, got some stops, got some defensive rebounds, and really got into the game and gave ourselves a chance.”
On what the Lakers can take away from this game considering the absence of Kobe Bryant:
“No matter who’s out, no matter what the circumstances are in the game. We still have to want to win the game. No matter who we’re playing against. We had a chance. Unfortunately, a couple plays, a couple things happened out there that didn’t go our way.
On tonight’s game:
“We still fought and competed. We were so close. It was a one-point game. A lot of missed free-throws, that’s a killer, 16 out of 25. Obviously, you pay the price of those little things especially when it comes down to a one-point ball game.”
Lakers ’ Forward Lamar Odom on taking ownership in the game:
“Yeah. Especially when you get the rebound, the floor is really spread. I have the ability to make plays off the dribble. The floor is open and the foreman is on me and I kind of just take my time…I just try to make plays and try to get Pau the ball.”
On the Lakers’13-0 run in the fourth quarter:
“It was a lot of fun. The score was kind of tight. But a good game all around.”
Lakers’ Ron Artest on what the Lakers can take from this game:
“You can learn from every game. We can play better and execute. You know, that’s the good thing about regular season. You get a chance to get better.”
Celtics’ Coach Doc Rivers on tonight’s game:
“Tonight was a win, and we’ll take the win. I thought we played the first half terrific, but then we let them back in the game and let them hang around. I thought we had so many opportunities to go up by 10 or 12. We did get great shots, Kevin Garnett got great shots, but the game was probably played the way they [Lakers] wanted it in the second half, without Kobe keeping it close and then trying to steal it in the end. But we will take the win.”
On the Celtic’s performance:
“It’s always nice to win on the road. Like I said we’ll take the win. It’s the second win in a row on the west coast trip and we have two games left. I thought our team played with unbelievable spirit to start the game. For the first time in a while our bench came in and gave up a lead, they have been playing great but they struggled tonight. It was the first big game for that group but I like to win.”
On the defense tonight:
“I do not know if it was good defense by both teams or horrendous offense. But I actually thought it was great offense. It is funny that people complain sometimes when it’s a low scoring NBA game, but they never give the players credit for playing so hard and I thought both teams played hard. I thought they were physical and both teams made it very difficult to get a good shot.”
On the time out in the fourth quarter with 2.2 seconds left:
“I just thought Derek Fisher and that was who we called in the time out because he has made so many big shots for the Lakers so that is what I thought about.”
On Ray Allen’s performance:
“Ray was huge. I think we should threaten to trade him all the time and then pull him back because he was phenomenal tonight. He just had his legs on him. I thought I played him too long in that one stretch because shooters need their legs, which is why I took him out. But that stretch in the third quarter won the game for us in my opinion.”
Celtics’ player Ray Allen on the rumors of him being traded:
“I don’t know what it looks like but I never really worried about it. You know, Ion the inside, even with Eddie [House] gone, Eddie wasn’t worried about it. It’s always interesting around the trade deadline. So much is proposed but so little happens.”
On his performance tonight:
“I thought offensively we moved the ball. And for me I just tried to be patient and settle in. Just allow my body to just kind of ease its way into the game and not force any action and it just came my way.”
On the last few possessions of the game:
“I don’t think we got a great shot off either. Defensively, I think, both teams were stingy. We missed a couple of free throws, we missed a couple of easy shots but defensively I think both teams were solid.”
Celtics’ player Paul Pierce on how the Celtics have played since the All-Star break:
“I’m really happy with the way we’ve played the last couple of nights defensively. You know, that’s one of the things we focused on after the break. On offense we feel like that will come along as the rest of the year gets on. We’ve said from day one that we are a defensive team and I like the way our defense has been playing since the All-Star break.”
On Ray Allen’s performance tonight:
“He was phenomenal. We got him open and he was knocking down shots, we felt like he had a great matchup and we took advantage of it.”
Celtics’ player Rajon Rando on if the team preaches confidence:
“I don’t know, it’s just within each other. That’s how we play. It’s not necessarily contagious around the team, but individually we all feel that way.”
On how Ray Allen scored a game-high 24 points tonight:
“He knocked down shots; he made shots when we needed him to. We got him open…. For me I just tried to give him the ball in time.”
Lakers vs. Celtics Game Preview
By MATT BEARDMORE
Posted Feb 17 2010 1:49PM
Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson is unsure when Kobe Bryant will return from an ankle injury, but a matchup between the last two NBA champions might be enough motivation for the superstar guard to get back on the court.
With Bryant's status in question for Thursday's home game against Boston, the Western Conference-leading Lakers will try to win their fourth in a row over the Celtics since losing Game 6 of the NBA finals in 2008.
Bryant, the NBA's fourth-leading scorer with 28.0 points per game, has missed the last four games - in addition to Sunday's All-Star game - with a sprained left ankle.
"It's purely up to him (when he returns)," Jackson said before Tuesday's 104-94 victory over Golden State. "When he's ready to play, we'll encourage him to play."
If Bryant does play in his first game since Feb. 5, he will become the youngest player in NBA history to appear in 1,000 games, breaking the record held by Boston's Kevin Garnett.
Bryant's absence has not slowed down the defending champion Lakers (42-13), who are undefeated without the 12-time All-Star. Starting for Bryant on Tuesday, Shannon Brown had career highs with 27 points and 10 rebounds. Ron Artest, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom led Los Angeles in scoring the previous three games.
"We've got a really good team. But with Kobe, we're one of the all-time great teams - because he's one of the all-time great players," Artest said. "We need Kobe back, but he's got to get healthy first and foremost."
Despite spraining his ankle two nights earlier at Philadelphia and missing 12 of his first 19 shots, Bryant hit a jumper over Ray Allen with 7.3 seconds remaining that lifted the Lakers to a 90-89 victory in Boston on Jan. 31. Los Angeles trailed by as many as 11 in the fourth quarter.
"I didn't say give me one more chance. I said give me the damn ball," Bryant said. "I never really give (coach Jackson) much of a choice."
The Atlantic Division-leading Celtics (33-18) lost five of eight prior to the All-Star break but started the second half of their season on a positive note, winning 95-92 at Sacramento on Tuesday night.
Paul Pierce and Rasheed Wallace each had 17 points for Boston, which is in the midst of playing five straight on the road. The Celtics had dropped eight of their previous 12 away from home after losing once in their first 14 road games.
"I'm happy, the first win on this road trip was big for us," coach Doc Rivers said. "I don't know what tone we set, but we got a win and now we have to move to the next game. That is how we are approaching the next 31 games. We're not looking ahead, we're not sending messages. We're just trying to win this game, get better tonight and focus on the next game."
Pierce, a Los Angeles native, has enjoyed plenty of success when he returns home to face the Lakers, averaging 27.1 points and 5.7 rebounds in 10 career games.
In the teams' last meeting at Staples Center, Bryant had 27 points, nine rebounds and five assists as the Lakers won 92-83 on Dec. 25, 2008, to snap the Celtics' franchise-record 19-game winning streak.
Copyright 2010 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
Kobe Bryant (sprained left ankle / avulsion fracture, right index finger) is doubtful.
Andrew Bynum (bruised right hip) is probable.
Luke Walton (pinched nerve, back) is out indefinitely.
J.R. Giddens (arthroscopic surgery, left knee) is out.
SEASON & SERIES
The Lakers currently lead the season series with Boston (1-0), after sweeping last season's series with the Boston Celtics 2-0. With the Lakers 92-83 Christmas Day victory last season, Phil Jackson recorded his 1,000th career victory as an NBA head coach. Under Jackson, the Lakers have swept Boston on five occasions while twice being swept by the Celtics. The two teams have met 180 times since the Lakers moved to Los Angeles prior to the 1960-61 season with Los Angeles trailing the series 83-97. Including their time in Minneapolis, the Lakers and Celtics have met 271 times in all with Boston leading the all-time series 152-119. The Lakers are 6-4 against the Celtics in their last 10 overall regular season meetings. In Boston, the Lakers are 6-4 in their last 10 regular season games at TD Garden while in Los Angeles, the Lakers are 7-3 all-time against the Celtics at STAPLES Center (regular season). Under head coach Phil Jackson, the Lakers are 13-6 against Boston during the regular season. In 22 career regular season games against Boston including 19 starts, Kobe Bryant is averaging 24.8 points. Pau Gasol is the next highest scoring Laker career-wise versus Boston, averaging 17.6 points in 14 career games against the Celtics. Celtics forward Paul Pierce grew up in Southern California, attending Inglewood High. Last season, Phil Jackson surpassed legendary Celtics head coach Red Auerbach (9) with his 10th NBA championship as a head coach, an NBA record. Jackson surpassed Auerbach in all-time victories during the 2007-08 season and in games coached during the 2008-09 season. Losing to the Celtics in six games during the 2008 NBA Finals, the Lakers and Celtics have now met in 11 NBA Finals dating back to Minneapolis in 1959, with Boston taking the first eight before Los Angeles won in 1985 and 1987.
FISHER 6 POINTS SHY OF 9,000 FOR HIS CAREER
With 11 points 2/16 vs. Golden State, Derek Fisher (8,994) moved even closer to the 9,000-point career milestone. With the Lakers, Fisher has scored 6,202 career points, moving passed Wilt Chamberlain (5,985) and Happy Hairston (5,993) this season and into 17th place on the franchise's all-time scoring list. Next on the Lakers all-time scoring list are Elden Campbell (16th/6,408) and Vlade Divac (15th/6,531).
On February 6th at Portland, Kobe Bryant missed his 1st game since 3/7/07, snapping a streak of 235 consecutive games played. Bryant's streak ranked 5th among active players prior to his absence. So far this season, Bryant has missed four games, bringing his career total to 90 missed games in this his 14th NBA season. In games that Bryant has not played but been on the team's roster, the Lakers are 57-33 overall. However, since 2003-04, in 44 games without Bryant, the Lakers are just 21-23.
FISHER PLAYS IN 1,000th CAREER GAME; BRYANT ONE GAME SHY OF 1,000 FOR HIS CAREER
In the Lakers 96-81 victory over the Utah Jazz on February 10, Derek Fisher played in his 1,000th career regular season game. Of his first 1,000 career games, 816 came in a Lakers uniform. Fisher currently ranks 9th (817 games) in franchise history for games played behind Byron Scott (8th/846). Having missed the last four games due to a sprained left ankle, the next game Kobe Bryant plays in will be the 1,000th regular season contest of his career. Bryant, who entered the season ranked 2nd on the Lakers all-time games played list, will be just the second Laker in franchise history to reach the 1,000 game milestone, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1,093) in that exclusive club. In terms of playoff games, Bryant (175 games) currently ranks 3rd in franchise history behind Abdul Jabbar (180) and Earvin "Magic" Johnson (190) while Fisher (160) ranks 5th in franchise history behind Michael Cooper (168).
GASOL'S HISTORIC LINE
In the Lakers 101-89 victory over the Spurs on February 8, Pau Gasol recorded game-highs in points (21), rebounds (19), assists (8) and blocks (5). Since the NBA began tracking blocked shots prior to the 1973-74 season, only six other times in NBA history has a player recorded 21+ points, 19+ rebounds, 8+ assists and 5+ blocks in a single game. Gasol, who accomplished that feat for the 7th time in league history, became 6th player ever to do so and the first since Shaquille O'Neal in January of 2000.
BRYANT MOVES PAST JERRY WEST FOR FIRST ON LAKERS ALL-TIME SCORING LIST (14th ON NBA LIST); REGGIE MILLER 33 POINTS AWAY
With a slam dunk at the 4:14 mark of the third quarter February 1 at Memphis, Kobe Bryant moved past Jerry West (25,192) for first on the Lakers all-time scoring list and 14th on the NBA's all-time scoring list, finishing the game with 44 points (West's retired number). Bryant (25,246) is now 33 points shy of Reggie Miller (25,279) for 13th on the NBA's all-time scoring list. Next on the all-time list are Alex English (12th/25,613), John Havlicek (11th/26,395) and Dominique Wilkins (10th/26,668).
Less than a month earlier, with 22 points 1/5 vs. Houston, Bryant moved past Patrick Ewing (24,815) for 15th on the NBA's all-time scoring list. In November, with his free throw at the 6:07 mark of the third quarter 11/19 vs. Chicago, Bryant moved past Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (24,176) for 2nd on the Lakers all-time franchise scoring list while with 41 points 11/6 vs. Memphis, Bryant moved past Allen Iverson for 16th on the all-time list. Bryant has been steadily moving up the list the last few years and last season alone, passed Charles Barkley (23,757) for 17th, Robert Parish (23,334) for 18th, Adrian Dantley (23,177) for 19th, Elgin Baylor (23,149) for 20th, Clyde Drexler (22,195) for 21st, Gary Payton (21,813) for 22nd and Larry Bird (21,791) for 23rd.
LAKERS FIRST NBA FRANCHISE TO 3,000 WINS
With their 100-95 victory at Dallas January 13th, the Los Angeles Lakers became the first NBA franchise to 3,000 wins. The Lakers (3,012-1,854) recorded 457 wins over twelve seasons as the Minneapolis Lakers and have now posted 2,555 wins since moving to Los Angeles prior to the 1960-61 season.