Gameday: Lakers 97, Celtics 94

GAMEDAY LINKS: Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Boston Celtics 14 28 28 24 94
by Play
Los Angeles Lakers 24 20 28 25 97

Lakers rally past Celtics in another thriller


Posted Mar 11 2012 4:44PM

LOS ANGELES (AP) The Lakers needed a last-minute basket to hold off the Boston Celtics, and Kobe Bryant knew everybody in green would expect him to take the shot.

That's why Bryant suggested Andrew Bynum should do it - and the All-Star center leaped at the opportunity to seal Los Angeles' latest win in the NBA's most storied rivalry.

Bryant scored 10 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter and hit a go-ahead jumper with 41.7 seconds to play, and Bynum's hook shot over Kevin Garnett capped the Lakers' 97-94 victory Sunday.

Bynum had 20 points and 14 rebounds as the Lakers rallied from a five-point deficit in the final 2 1/2 minutes, scoring the final eight points. Bryant and Bynum had four apiece - but only after Kobe urged coach Mike Brown to use him as a decoy.

"Andrew is too big. You can't teach that," Bryant said with a grin. "I knew it was going to be a high-percentage shot."

After Bynum coolly scored out of a timeout with 15.5 seconds left, Boston couldn't get a good look at a tying 3-pointer, sending the Lakers to their third straight victory over their longtime rivals.

Bynum appeared to take particular satisfaction in his decisive role in the victory after years as a supporting player to Bryant's late-game heroics.

"It was crazy," Bynum said. "Kobe came up with that play. He said, `They're not going to be able to know what to do.' I was able to get deep position and go to work."

Rajon Rondo had 24 points and 10 assists for the Celtics, who opened an eight-game road trip by blowing a late lead. On Boston's final possession, Ray Allen failed to get free for a 3-pointer before Rondo badly missed a desperate tying attempt.

The Lakers earned their 18th victory in 19 home games, stylishly finishing their third straight victory over Boston in yet another thrilling meeting.

"We love beating this team," Bynum said.

The game might have been the final meeting for the current veteran cores of the franchises that met in the NBA finals in 2008 and 2010, adding new chapters to the rivalry's history. Boston's Big Three could be broken up after this season, while both Pau Gasol and Rondo are the subject of rampant trade rumors.

If this was the finale, both clubs went out in style.

"You come into (this rivalry) with the mindset that, `This is it,"' said Allen, who scored 17 points. "It's almost as if this is for the championship every time we play them. It definitely was an entertaining game. ... Competitively speaking, we always will go at each other and play hard. There's talent on both sides, so it's always a great matchup whenever we meet."

Boston erased an early 15-point deficit before clinging to a small lead down the stretch. Allen's 3-pointer put the Celtics up 94-89 with 2:41 left, but Los Angeles trimmed the lead to one point on baskets from Bryant and Bynum before Bryant nailed his 14-footer to put the Lakers ahead.

Allen hit three 3-pointers and had six assists for the Celtics, while Brandon Bass scored 15 points before missing a go-ahead jumper in the final minute. Paul Pierce had 13 points on 4-for-14 shooting and nine assists, while Garnett had 14 points and 11 rebounds.

"They made shots down the stretch, and we didn't," Rondo said. "We had some good looks at the rim, but the shots didn't fall and we couldn't get a stop the last couple of minutes. ... It's not difficult to win on the road. We're just not getting it done. We just have to close out quarters better and continue to work on our execution."

Metta World Peace scored 14 points for Los Angeles, which has won 10 of 14 overall. Gasol had 13 points and 13 rebounds, including two key boards in the final seconds as the NBA's best rebounding team outrebounded the worst 42-34.

The Lakers returned to California for a single home game in a stretch with five of six on the road. Ugly losses at Detroit and Washington last week worried fans who believe a major restructuring is the only way to turn the Western Conference's fourth-place team into a title contender, but Bryant has repeatedly discounted the Lakers' road woes, blaming them on the shortened season and the new coaching system.

The Lakers led 37-22 before Boston got rolling midway through the second quarter, closing the first half on a 20-7 run capped by Rondo's buzzer-beating 3-pointer.

Boston took its first lead early in the third quarter, but World Peace led the Lakers back after getting into a brief scuffle with Pierce and Garnett under the basket. World Peace responded with 10 points in less than 3 minutes for Los Angeles' streakiest player, capped by a steal and a length-of-the-court drive for a dunk on Pierce.

Notes: Boston swingman Mickael Pietrus played despite a sore knee, scoring five points. ... Boston will be back at Staples Center on Monday to face the Clippers. ... World Peace is the Lakers' worst shooter at just 35 percent, but the erstwhile Ron Artest gets up for big games, scoring 17 points against Miami a week ago. ... Fans near courtside included Patriots QB Tom Brady, Adam Levine, Tobey Maguire, Seal, Maria Menounos and David Beckham.

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

View More Photos

Points Bryant 26, 9-20 FG
Rebounds Bynum 14, 3 OFF 11 DEF
Assists Bryant 7
Steals 3 tied with 2
Blocks 3 tied with 1


Mike Brown:

Lakers coach Mike Brown on how turnovers impacted the game:

“I thought the second half; our biggest thing offensively was that we didn’t turn the ball over which gave us an opportunity to at least look at the hoop. The six turnovers in the second half really helped our cause in getting the win.”

Lakers coach Mike Brown on Kobe’s strategic suggestions at the end of the game:

“[Kobe] has suggested things where, because guys have been paying attention to him, that the ball go here or there. That to me is a mark of a great player.”

Lakers coach Mike Brown on the performance of the Laker’s bench:

“Our bench did a terrific job, especially in the first half building the lead that we had. I thought they were the reason we had that separation initially and then our starters came in and gave it right back. Having said that, our starters closed the deal for us tonight.”

Lakers coach Mike Brown on the Lakers offensive strategy:

“Kobe is special. I personally think Kobe can score with any offense you run because he just has a nose for the ball and a knack for putting it in the hole. The offense we’re running is mainly because of Andrew and Pau.”

Kobe Bryant:

Lakers’ Kobe Bryant on losing leads:

“It’s a little concerning. We’ve got to do a much better job keeping the rhythm as soon as the substitutions happen. It’s hard because guys come off the bench not really used to the pace or the rhythm of the game and it’s a different line up than they’re accustomed to playing with in practice.”

Lakers’ Kobe Bryant on Andrew Bynum’s final shot:

“If the ball’s in my hands I’m going to put myself in a position to not get double teamed. In that situation I was trying to throw the ball to Andrew and put him in that situation I am normally in where the defense has to make a decision.”

Pau Gasol:

Lakers’ Pau Gasol on giving Andrew Bynum the ball at the end of the game:

“It was a good sign of something positive. I think that we recognize and Kobe [Bryant] recognized that Andrew [Bynum] had an advantage and it was to hard stop and it was unexpected, probably and Boston probably didn’t expect it either because we are so used to Kobe [Bryant] taking that last shot no matter what. Andrew [Bynum] stepped up, he had a nice play, he had a very high percentage shot and scored.”

Lakers’ Pau Gasol on if the game felt like a playoff game:

“The intensity and the physicality of it, yeah. It’s always kind of like a playoff game with Boston. It’s always high emotion, high energy, and a lot of meaning.”

Derek Fisher:

Lakers’ Derek Fisher on the team’s evolution and giving Andrew Bynum the ball at the end of the game:

“Not just from that decision today, I just think that Kobe has always continued in that evolution in terms of doing different things to try to get us to the top and trying to get us to a championship level team. I think that today is just another example of him realizing what it takes for us to win and to trust Andrew [Bynum] in that setting was huge for us.”

Lakers’ Derek Fisher on Andrew Bynum being an end of the game option:

“I guess our opponents will be able to answer better but I believe we have always been pretty dangerous down the stretch because it’s difficult to decide what to do. In the past it has been Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol, myself, Kobe [Bryant], Metta World Peace and it’s tough for teams to make a choice. Kobe [Bryant] has obviously always trusted his abilities but he has shown trust in his teammates at the most important time and so he did that again today.”

Lakers’ Derek Fisher on Metta World Peace:

“There were a couple of flashes of Ron out there today but he’s doing a good job of moving on but still making major contributions. He played really well today.”

Andrew Bynum:

Lakers’ Andrew Bynum on today’s win:

“Boston’s a great team. They sadly have guys hurt. Guys that didn’t play today, Wilcox and O’Neal, would’ve been a little bit more physical down there. We want to win, we love beating this team. This was a really big game for us and we came home and we got it.”

Lakers’ Andrew Bynum on his final shot:

“It was crazy. Kobe came up with that play. He said they’re not going to know what to do, and sure enough, the way they designed it, Kevin Garnett started guarding me on the top side by the three-point line. So, it definitely worked.”

Doc Rivers:

Doc Rivers on the loss:

“Losing is no fun, especially a game when you have a lead, and we gave it up at the end. We got great shots. It’s a make, miss league. We didn’t make and they did. It was a terrific game. Our guys fought back early on. They made some big shots. Kobe had a couple huge shots that I think turned the game back around.”

Doc Rivers on his defensive strategy against Andrew Bynum:

“Whatever it was, it wasn’t very good. We feared that he may have a big game with our lack of size. What we wanted to do was make sure we stop the others. World Peace has 14 points, Barnes has a big tip in, and I thought those were the plays that beat us. Bynum was phenomenal give him credit, but going into the game we thought there was a chance of that but we should still win the game.”

Doc Rivers on the Celtics last possession:

“We wanted to get a stop because it’s always more difficult when you have to make a three especially when that was your last timeout. If I had an extra timeout I would have gone for a quick two and a foul and played that game. We obviously wanted Ray first and Paul second but they defended it pretty well.”

Doc Rivers on the Celtics troubles on the road:

“I just think we’ve had trouble (period). We have just been inconsistent so far. Like I said before the game, when we play well we can win anywhere, and when we play poorly we can lose anywhere. That’s so far how the year has played out.”

Doc Rivers on his starters playing heavy minutes:

“Kevin (Garnett) is the only guy. Kobe plays a lot of minutes, and I don’t think it worries Mike Brown a whole bunch. Our guys are pretty good. The only guy I always concern about with minutes is Kevin. Today we took him over the number, tomorrow we’ll probably bring him back to the number, but overall their averages are perfect.”

Doc Rivers on Kobe Bryant:

“His low post game has really improved. He’s so much craftier at it. His three-point shooting has always been good, but when you allow him to set his feet he’s basically going to make it. He’s one of the greatest offensive players or players in general to play the game. What I’m amazed by is that I think he’s third in the league in minutes. At his age, that’s amazing.”

Ray Allen:

Celtics Ray Allen on the last play:

“I have a lot of history with Gasol running out on my shots, so I knew I couldn’t get that off. Paul [Pierce] got a shot off and Rondo got a shot off. We had chances. The last two or three possessions down the floor, we got good shots. They just didn’t fall for us.”

Celtics Ray Allen on team battling back today but coming up short:

“We tip our hats to them. They did what they had to do to beat us. Like I said, we had opportunities down the stretch. We had a couple good looks at the basket, but they just didn’t fall for us.”

Paul Pierce:

Celtics Paul Pierce on the Lakers-Celtics rivalry:

“It was a good game. It’s always going to be a rivalry when you have teams clash like this year in and year out.

Celtics Paul Pierce on how the team tried to counter the Lakers’ size advantage down low:

“That’s no secret. Everybody knows what the Lakers’ strengths are. They have tremendous size, so how we tried to counter that is to try and use our quickness and push the ball as much as we can by using our speed. We had to take advantage of what are strengths were, but they’re a pretty good team taking advantage of the things they had --- going into Bynum and Gasol, especially when we put smaller guys on them.”

Celtics Paul Pierce on the difference down the stretch today:

“The problem was we couldn’t get any stops. Kobe made some tough shots, they went down to Bynum and Gasol. I thought we probably fouled too much down the stretch, but sometimes, that’s the way the game bounces. I thought we had great looks though. It was one of those games it could have gone either way.”

Rajon Rondo:

Celtics Rajon Rondo on the team’s execution in the last couple minutes:

“They made shots down the stretch and we didn’t. We had some good looks at the rim, but shots didn’t fall and we couldn’t get a stop the last couple minutes of the game.”

Celtics Rajon Rondo on how the team battled back from an early deficit:

“That’s the league. It’s a game of runs. They made their run early and we made ours to close the first half. We knew we weren’t down and out. We just wanted to keep fighting.”

Celtics-Lakers Preview


Posted Mar 10 2012 1:28PM

Thursday's trade deadline can't arrive fast enough for the Los Angeles Lakers' Pau Gasol and Boston's Rajon Rondo, as both have heard their names rumored in deals since before the season began.

For the time being, though, the two will suit up in Sunday's matinée between the Lakers and Celtics at Staples Center.

Gasol and Rondo were both linked to trades for All-Star point guard Chris Paul prior to the start of the season, and with the deadline just days away, those trade rumors have intensified.

"People already assumed I was basically gone," Gasol said after Friday's 105-102 victory over Minnesota. "There were some thank you tweets for your services and good luck and all that."

Both Gasol and Rondo have done a good job of handling the distractions.

Rondo, who made his third All-Star game appearance two weeks ago, had a career-best 35 points in a win over Detroit last month and finished with 18 points, 20 assists and 17 rebounds for the Celtics (21-18) in last Sunday's 115-111 overtime victory over New York.

Gasol, who averages 16.7 points and 10.5 rebounds, has been a big part of Los Angeles' strong defense, but realizes a possible trade and the swirling rumors are part of the game.

"Nothing surprises me anymore," he added. "I guess it's easy to start a rumor. Anybody can start a rumor. It's never pleasant because it puts you a little bit on edge, but it's going to be like that, I think, for the next (five) days."

The Lakers (24-16) play three more times before the deadline, starting with a Celtics team they beat in overtime 88-87 in Boston on Feb. 9.

Andrew Bynum tipped in a miss from Kobe Bryant with 1:29 remaining in the extra session for the game's final basket. The Celtics missed their final four shots after Los Angeles took the lead, which included Gasol's block on a Ray Allen putback attempt at the buzzer.

Neither team had much success offensively - the Lakers shot 39.6 percent while the Celtics converted 39.2 percent. This shouldn't come as a surprise considering Los Angeles is among the league leaders in opponent field-goal percentage at 41.9, just ahead of Boston's 42.0.

"We've got the Celtics game coming up and we really have to just play some defense," Bynum said after Friday's victory. "It's going to be a defensive struggle like it was in Boston."

The Lakers could have an edge with a rematch at Staples Center, where they're 17-2 as the home team and allowing an average of 86.9 points.

The Celtics have averaged 81.3 points in dropping six of seven away from Boston and are opening a season-high eight-game road trip.

They take to the road in good spirits, however, routing Portland 104-86 on Friday for their sixth victory in seven games. Boston, which suffered a 103-71 loss at Philadelphia on Wednesday, led the Trail Blazers by as much as 43.

"It was just a good response, especially with the way we played down in Philadelphia," said Paul Pierce, who had 22 points on 7-of-13 shooting in 26 minutes. "A good way for us to head out west."

The Lakers are also feeling good, returning home from a three-game road trip with a win over the Timberwolves after losing to Detroit and Washington.

"Anytime you lose two in a row, you want to bounce back and win," said Bryant, the league's leading scorer at 28.9 points.

Bryant scored 34 Friday, Bynum added 26 points and 10 rebounds and Gasol finished with 12 points and 11 boards.

In Boston last month, Bryant had 27 points, Gasol had 25 points and 14 rebounds and Bynum added 16 points and 17 boards.

Allen had 22 points in the loss, while Pierce scored 18 and Rondo had 14 points and seven assists.

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  
  #16 Gasol PF #30 Bass  
  #17 Bynum C #5 Garnett  
  #24 Bryant SG #20 Allen  
  #2 Fisher PG #9 Rondo  


Steve Blake
(costochaondral fracture) is probable.
Kobe Bryant
(nasal fracture, concussion) is day-to-day.

Jermaine O'Neal
(sprained left wrist) day-to-day.

Game 1: 2/09 - LAL @ BOS - W 88 - 87
Game 2: 3/11 - BOS @ LAL


With 38 points in the Lakers 115-107 victory over the Sacramento Kings March 2nd at STAPLES Center, Kobe Bryant set the all-time record for points scored at one arena
on the 50th anniversary of fellow Philadelphia native Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game. Bryant has now scored 13,788 points at STAPLES Center, passing Hakeem
Olajuwon’s mark of 13,783 points tallied at Compaq Center, former home of the Houston Rockets. Olajuwon held the record since taking it from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
(12,529 points scored at the Forum) in March 1998.*

With their 104-85 victory over the Timberwolves on February 29th, the Lakers recorded their FIRST wire-to-wire victory of the 2011-12 season. Last year, the Lakers led
the NBA with 10 wire-to-wire victories (games in which they never trailed), all coming during the regular season. During the team’s two most recent championship runs,
they recorded nine wire-to-wire victories in 2009-10 (seven during the regular season and two during the 2010 Playoffs (4/18 & 4/27 vs. Oklahoma City)) and 11 wire-towire victories in 2008-09 (nine during the regular season and two during the 2009 Playoffs (4/29 vs. Utah & 5/17 vs. Houston)). The Lakers have also lost one game this
season in wire-to-wire fashion, falling to the Clippers 102-94 on January 14th. Last year, the Lakers lost two such games: (98-107 1/8/10 at POR & 75-91 3/26/10 at OKC).

In defeating the Timberwolves 104-85 on February 29th, the Lakers extended their win streak against Minnesota to 17 games, the longest active win streak by one NBA
team against another. The streak is the longest by the Lakers against another team since they defeated the Dallas Mavericks 19 straight times from 1995-99.*

At the 2012 NBA All-Star Game in Orlando, a Kobe Bryant fast-break dunk at the 4:57 mark of the third quarter moved him past Michael Jordan (262 points) for most career
points in All-Star Game History. Bryant finished with 27 points on 9-of-17 shooting, helping the West to a 152-149 victory over the East. Bryant (271 points), who entered
the game ranked 4th in career All-Star scoring, also passed Oscar Robertson (246 points) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (251 points) on the night. Bryant, a 14-time All-Star
and 4-time All-Star MVP, also tied Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bob Cousy and Michael Jordan for the most All-Star starts in NBA history with 13. Andrew Bynum, the starting
center for the Western Conference, made his first career All-Star appearance, but played just six minutes in order to rest his knee. Bynum finished with three rebounds, an
assist and a steal, while blocking Dwight Howard’s first shot attempt.

With a steal at the 2:04 mark of the second quarter 2/23 at Oklahoma City, Metta World Peace recorded his 1,500th career steal. World Peace is now the 5th active player
to record at least 1,500 steals. Jason Kidd, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Shawn Marion are the other four with Baron Davis just one assist shy of the milestone. World
Peace, the 2004 NBA Defensive Player of the Year, has finished among the top-five in the NBA in steals per game five times in his career and has led his team in steals in
10 of his 12 NBA seasons. A two-time member of the NBA All-Defensive First Team (2004, 2006) and two-time NBA All-Defensive Second Team member (2003, 2009),
World Peace currently ranks 37th on the NBA’s All-Time career steals list with 1,501 steals. Reggie Miller (1,505) and Julius Irving (1,508) are next up on the list.

In their 103-92 victory over the Trail Blazers on February 20 at STAPLES Center, the Lakers outscored Portland 29-7 in the first quarter, where they held the Trail Blazers
to just 3-of-17 shooting and outrebounded Portland 21-5. The Blazers’ seven first quarter points marked their lowest first quarter points total in their 3,363-game history in
the NBA. The total also matched the second lowest first quarter points total allowed by the Lakers since moving to Los Angeles prior to the 1960-61 season; on February 4,
1987, the Lakers outscored the Sacramento Kings 40-4 in the first quarter in a 128-92 victory at The Forum and on January 9, 2004, the Lakers outscored the Atlanta
Hawks 34-7 in the first period in a 113-67 victory at STAPLES Center. The last time the Lakers held a team to seven points or less in any quarter came back on December
9, 2009, when they outscored the Utah Jazz 28-6 in the fourth quarter in a 101-77 victory at STAPLES Center.*

*Statistical research assistance provided by the Elias Sports Bureau

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