Gameday: Lakers 113, Celtics 99

GAMEDAY LINKS: Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Box Score Boston Celtics 27 28 21 23 99
Play by Play Los Angeles Lakers 36 28 26 23 113

Celtics vs. Lakers
Post Game: Earl Clark
Post Game: Mike D'Antoni
Nash Passes Magic in Assist Category
Nash Lobs to Howard
Bryant Finds Clark
Dr. Buss Tribute

Lakers beat Celtics 113-99 on emotional night


Posted Feb 21 2013 1:34AM

LOS ANGELES (AP) Dwight Howard had 24 points and 12 rebounds in helping the Los Angeles Lakers to an emotional 113-99 victory over the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night in their first game since the death of owner Jerry Buss.

Kobe Bryant added 16 points, Steve Nash and Earl Clark had 14 apiece, and Metta World Peace 12 in a game that surely would have delighted Buss, who always loved to win but especially liked beating the Celtics.

The Lakers won their most recent NBA championship - and last under Buss - in 2010, defeating the Celtics 4-3 in the finals. Buss died Monday at 80 after an 18-month struggle with cancer that had forced him to watch his team's games on TV or an iPad instead of from his suite above the Staples Center court.

Paul Pierce scored 26 points for the Celtics, who fell to 8-17 on the road and lost their third in a row away from home. Courtney Lee added 20 points and Kevin Garnett had 12 on 6-of-14 shooting.

Howard's performance in the Lakers' first game since the All-Star break came on the eve of the NBA trade deadline. He has been the subject of rumors, but general manager Mitch Kupchak said this week that Howard wouldn't be going anywhere.

He was among seven Lakers in double figures on a night when they shot 51 percent, dominated the paint 54-30 and were 22 of 31 from the free throw line for one of the most complete games they've played in months.

Clark had a career-high 16 rebounds, and Antawn Jamison added 15 points off the bench for Los Angeles.

The Lakers improved to 26-29 and gained a split in the season series, having avenged a 116-95 loss to the Celtics on Feb. 7 when they trailed by 32 points.

Boston trailed by nine at the end of the first two quarters before the Lakers opened up a 75-57 lead early in the third.

Typical of their balanced scoring throughout the game, World Peace, Bryant, Nash, Howard and Clark each contributed baskets in the 11-2 run.

Nash had seven assists, giving him 10,144 while passing Magic Johnson for sole possession of fourth place on the career list.

The Lakers shot 51 percent in the first half and had four players in double figures, helping them to a 64-55 lead. Howard was energetic in scoring 15 points and setting screens reminiscent of his days with Orlando. Bryant had 14 points, Nash 12 and World Peace 10.

Pierce carried the Celtics with 23 points on 9-of-15 shooting in the half, when they shot 49 percent.

Buss was remembered in a pregame video tribute featuring photos of him as a child all the way through him hoisting trophies marking the team's 10 NBA championships won under his ownership. Bryant fittingly spoke on behalf of the Lakers' players, having been acquired by the Lakers as a 17-year-old.

"He was a brilliant, incredible owner but an even better person," Bryant said of Buss. "His innovation transcended the game and we are all, all spoiled by his vision and his drive to win year after year after year."

There was a moment of silence in the darkened arena before the crowd broke up the quiet with chants of "Jerry, Jerry."

A memorial service for invited guests will be held Thursday at Nokia Theatre across the street from Staples Center. Buss will be buried in a private service on Friday.

NOTES: Lakers F Pau Gasol said he hopes to get off his crutches soon and return before the end of the regular season. He had surgery on his right foot after injuring it on Feb. 5. ... The Celtics signed free agent G-F Terrence Williams to a 10-day contract on Wednesday. He had been playing with Guangdong in the Chinese league, averaging 17.9 points, 3.4 rebounds and 4.1 assists in 29 games. ... Jeanie Buss accepted condolences on her father's passing from numerous well-wishers stopping by her seat before the game. ... Jack Nicholson and Dyan Cannon, longtime Lakers fans dating to the team's days at the Forum in Inglewood, were on hand.

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 Pierce (BOS), 26
Rebounds Clark, 16
Assists Bryant/Nash, 7
Steals World Peace, 2


Mike D'Antoni:

On how the team played tonight:
“I thought we played well, we shared the ball. I thought Dwight was very good at both ends. After [Paul] Pierce got off a little bit and had 15 points real quickly, we defended him well, and that’s going to be the key going through. Steve [Nash] had a great game, and his pick and roll was good. A lot of things that we’ve been stressing came through tonight, so we have to keep it going. Again, it is one little step, I don’t want to go too crazy.”

On what can be carried over to build some consistency:
“We’re just going to stress what they have to do. We got back on defense a little bit better; we started slipping on that in the last couple games that we lost. We also got killed in transition, but we did that better tonight. Things that we can control, like being attentive and playing harder all the way through. Everybody knows the formula we just have to keep doing it, and continue to do it consistently. So far we’ve had spurts and then we fall back, we just can’t do that. Hopefully the players will understand how important it is, and hopefully we can keep it going.”

On if having a set rotation is helping the players:
“Yes, it helps for sure. We’ve settled into something that we’ll keep and then obviously when Pau [Gasol] gets back we’ll add him to that. But, yes I think the players are getting more comfortable and Steve Blake is playing well now. Antawn [Jamison] has been playing great. Our bench play has been good.”

On Earl Clark tonight:
“Yes, he had a career high in rebounds, and he’s got that ‘pop’ out there that you need. He can improve a lot more and get better, but he played very well tonight.”

On the pre-game tribute to Dr. Jerry Buss:
“It was great. I thought it was very emotional, and very nice. I’m sure tomorrow will be great too, and it’s a very good tribute to a great man.”

On if he could feel the energy from the crowd after the tribute:
“Oh yes, you couldn’t help but feel it, and I think the players felt it also.”

Dwight Howard:

“I was thinking about it all day, getting this win for Dr. Buss, but also, we know what it feels like to beat the Celtics here in L.A. It is a great win tonight. We came out with a lot of energy, a lot of intensity. We got a good win.”

“We wanted to start of the second half of the season with a good win and now we just have to keep it going.”

“We were talking, we were acting, and we were knocking loose balls. We played great defense tonight, we just have to keep it up.”

“We have to keep working every day in practice to get better and hopefully this season can happen for us.”

“We all came in and played with the right effort and the right intensity. That is what we need coming into the second half of the season is the same intensity, the same effort, and we had to get this thing for Dr. Buss.”

Steve Nash:

On the game and Dr. Buss:
“What he has meant to the game of basketball, to Southern California, to the Lakers, if not the biggest franchise in sports, it is one of the tops ones and he is a legend for what he has built here and the heart he had as a person. So we are glad we could beat the archrivals tonight. Always a big game against the Celtics and to get some payback for that game in Boston for Dr. Buss was big.”

“Our Achilles heel has been defensive transition a lot of times this season and tonight we were pretty good. We didn’t have too many turnovers; we also didn’t get stagnant and have a lot of long one-on-one jump shots that fuel people’s break, so our defense was good there. I also thought on offence we moved the ball more. We moved bodies and moved the ball and made it tough on their defense. I think it gives us a little more of an identity. We don’t have guys standing around as much at the end of the game so I think it fueled us on both ends of the floor to have that movement. It gave us life, it gave us energy and we looked like a team.”

On playing with Dwight Howard:
“We talked coming out of the All-star break that he and I have really got to find a way to be a tandem. He has to find ways to free me up, and therefore, I am going to find ways to free him up and really become a team and a tandem together. Put a lot of pressure on the defense and make the game easier for our teammates. We are going to work at it. It is still a work in progress, but the last two games before the break he really committed into running into pick and rolls, setting good screens, rolling hard and I think tonight you either saw me free for jump shots or him going down the paint for fouls or finishes . It has to be a big part of our offence.”

Kobe Bryant:

On playing the Celtics after the passing of Dr. Jerry Buss:
“It’s very fitting. It’s funny how sports always seem to have those poetic stories you know. Something like this happens and it just so happens that we play the Celtics the next game.”

“It’s a huge honor to play for this organization. Everything that he’s built, you look around, you look at all the trophies, you look at all the parades and all the support that we have and what this organization means. That all came from one man and his vision. His vision transcended the game, it became pop culture and the impact is a global one.”

On Steve Nash and Dwight Howard:
“I think they did a great job of getting in the teeth of the defense. Steve [Nash] was just knocking down shots that he normally makes. Dwight [Howard] was extremely active, rolling to the basket and [caught the ball in the paint] and was able to go to his jump hook and finish.”

On Paul Pierce’s performance from the first to second half:
“We talked about coming out and being more aggressive. One thing I said at halftime was we can’t rely on him to cool off; he’s not going to cool off. You give him those looks, he’s going to continue to make those and then we’re going to have a problem so, we got to do things defensively to get after him a little bit.”

Doc Rivers:

On Dwight Howard:
“Yeah he looked good, I mean we helped him, but he played well I’ll give him credit. I don’t need to give a whole speech about it but he played well. I thought it was more his rebounding. He kept balls alive. Post-ups we don’t really care about that honestly. I didn’t think we did a great job on him. We wanted to make him score overtop of us and if he can do that, we’re fine with that.”

On the Celtics play tonight:
“I didn’t think we played the game, the whole game. I didn’t think we had a lot of force tonight maybe because of last night, or whatever. In this little run that was our worst game as far as energy and just effort and we just didn’t have it tonight.”

On Paul Pierce playing a great first half and on what the Lakers did to slow him in the second half:
“Not much. I just thought Paul missed and got a little tired. We’re asking him to do a lot. We just didn’t have a lot tonight and you know it’s amazing we still scored 99 points and I thought our offense was awful, but we’re not used to giving up this many points.”

On the Lakers offense tonight:
“Give them credit I thought they moved the ball. I thought Nash, you know it’s why he’s so good, I thought what Nash did today was terrific. You could see Avery’s [Bradley] ball pressure affected Nash in the first game, and I thought Nash came in with a very aggressive mindset, I mean he came in trying to attack Avery and that’s what veterans do. It’s 1-1 let’s put it that way. I thought the other guys played great, Dwight [Howard] and all of them, but I really thought Nash was the reason they won the game, I just thought he spearheaded the charge.”

On the Lakers playing with added emotion tonight:
“It could have gone either way. I’m sure it was an emotional game, and not for all of them it’s not like these guys have all been here a long time. The emotion is probably Pau [Gasol], and he didn’t play, and Kobe [Bryant] and maybe World [Metta World Peace]. But that could’ve gone the other way too if we jumped on them which I thought we had to do and we didn’t do.”

Paul Pierce:

On this game and the game in Boston:
“We just didn’t defend like we should have. We allowed 60 points in the first half and giving up over 100 points, that’s really not us. I think at the end of the day it was about us really competing. We didn’t compete at a high enough level that you need when you are going on a tough road trip like this. We have to raise our level of play. It’s easier to get up on games at home because you have the crowd behind you but when you get in these tough buildings you have to up your competitive level another level. We haven’t matched the other teams competitive levels the past two games.”

On adjustments made in second half against him:
“I thought they really collapsed on the pick and roll, they made me make an extra pass. I think I only made two or three shots in the second half. They wanted other guys to beat us. I wasn’t going to force it. The extra passes went in. We can’t be a team that one man can beat anyway. We have to have a number of guys stepping up and I thought we did but at the end of the day, we have to defend better.”

Kevin Garnett:

On emotions in a game:
“We thought we were going to come in here and take anything out of them. After a day like this, you have to anticipate it being an emotional roller coaster and we were highly mistaken. I anticipated last night, we talked to a little bit on the plane just about the emotions and all of that to our young guys, and I was right on. Paul and I were right on.”

On Celtics being a streaking team with wins and losses:
“We’re dealing with different scenarios, obviously we have the chemistry and trying to figure that whole thing out then I felt like once we figured that out and go to playing we just stopped where everybody was comfortable. Guys understood their place and then we got hit with an injury and we battled through that a little bit, put a couple games together. We’re not perfect by any means but we’re a working group. We just have to get back on the horse so to speak. The break kind of nipped the momentum a little bit but it’s something you have to be conscious of. And it’s something that if we want to work our way out of it it has to be the group not one or two individuals.”

Jason Terry:

On Terrance Williams ball movement tonight:
“It was a great feel. I look forward to playing with him a lot more, getting him more involved in the offense. Defensively he is very strong so it’s just something we want to look at and definitely on this trip we’re going to need all the bodies we can get. They didn’t make the schedule easy by any means but this next one is a must win for us.”



Posted Feb 20 2013 2:33AM

The Los Angeles Lakers are taking the court for the first time since the death of Jerry Buss, and it's rather fitting that the opponent will be a storied rival.

Emerging from the All-Star break, the Lakers may see a meeting with the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night as a chance to show some consistency while paying tribute to their charismatic and beloved owner.

The Lakers (25-29) have long been one of the world's premier sports franchises, and much of the credit goes to Buss, who died at 80 from kidney failure on Monday. A memorial service will be held Thursday across from Staples Center at Nokia Theatre, and he'll be honored Wednesday before tip-off.

After Buss purchased the team in 1979, he turned it into a spectacle dubbed "Showtime," led by Hall of Famers Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and James Worthy. Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal later helped usher in another era of dominance for a star-studded franchise befitting of the searing Hollywood spotlight.

The Lakers won 10 of 16 NBA Finals under Buss, the most of any team in that span. However, his business savvy, knack for promotion and willingness to acquire some of the best players in basketball history made the Lakers into the NBA's first global brand.

"Think about the impact that he's had on the game and the decisions he's made, and the brand of basketball he brought here with Showtime and the impact that had on the sport as a whole," Bryant said. "Those vibrations were felt to a kid all the way in Italy who was 6 years old, before basketball was even global. His impact is felt worldwide."

Buss' impact will be felt Wednesday, especially against the Celtics (28-25).

The Lakers and Celtics have combined to win half of the NBA's 66 titles, and they've matched up five times in the Finals since 1980. Los Angeles has won three of those series, most recently in 2010.

Both teams haven't seemed capable of reaching those lofty expectations this season, but the Lakers may be the bigger disappointment. They're 10th in the Western Conference, 3 1/2 games back of Houston for the eighth and final playoff position.

The Lakers also lost three of four to the Los Angeles Clippers, dropping the season series to their historically lowly neighbors the first time since 1992-93 after falling 125-101 on Feb. 14 before entering the break.

Bryant has been doing his part, ranking fourth in the league with 26.8 points per game, and lately he's tried to get others involved. While he's averaging 18.4 points over the past 12 games, the All-Star guard has 8.5 assists per game after dishing out 11 against the Clippers.

He's averaged 28.7 points over the past 12 meetings with Boston, including seven in the 2010 Finals.

Bryant's 27 points weren't enough in the latest meeting Feb. 7, when Los Angeles lost 116-95 on the road.

Oft-injured Dwight Howard has taken the brunt of the blame for the Lakers' struggles, averaging 16.3 points and 11.8 boards after being seen as the final piece to add to the franchise's trophy haul.

The All-Star center was limited to nine points and nine rebounds after missing the three previous games with a shoulder injury.

The Celtics are trying to re-establish their momentum after losing 97-90 at Denver on Tuesday in the opener of this season-high five-game road trip. They had won eight of the previous nine while dealing with season-ending injuries to Rajon Rondo (ACL), Jared Sullinger (back surgery) and Leandro Barbosa (ACL).

"We got stagnant with ball movement," said forward Paul Pierce, who had 10 points, six rebounds and six assists. "We just didn't make the adjustment. A little too much one-on-one. On the other end, we didn't get key stops. We fouled a little bit too much. Every crucial possession that we needed a stop, we didn't get the stop that we needed and they were able to pull away."

Pierce leads Boston with 18.3 points per game, but he's only managed 10.3 over the last three games. He's averaging 25.2 over 13 regular-season road meetings with the Lakers.

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 .
  #15 World Peace SF #34 Pierce  
  #6 ClarkPF #30 Bass  
  #12 Howard C #5 Garnett  
  #24 Bryant SG #11 Lee  
  #10 Nash PG #0 Bradley  

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 probable.
Lakers Rajon Rondo
(torn ACL, right knee) is out.
Jared Sullinger
(lumbar disc surgery) is out.
Leandro Barbosa
(torn ACL, left knee) is out.

02/07 - LAL 95 @ BOS 116
02/20 - BOS @ LAL

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