Lakers vs Boston: Lakers lose to Celtics
The old and tired Boston Celtics beat the even-older and more-tired looking Lakers on Sunday at Staples Center.
For the Lakers, Kobe Bryant was the only player who put up a good showing. He had 41 points on 16-for-29 shooting.
But Bryant couldn't do it alone.
The Lakers' defense wasn't very good, allowing the Celtics to make 60.3% of their shots.
Paul Pierce ripped apart Ron Artest, scoring 32 points on 11-for-18 shooting.
Ray Allen had 21 points and Kevin Garnett added 18 for Boston.
That meant Boston's Big Three did the job on the Lakers.
The Lakers are now 3-4 in their last seven games.
Maybe the Lakers beat the Celtics in the 2010 NBA Finals last June, but Boston looks intent on getting some revenge, starting with Sunday's game.
Celtics 77, Lakers 72 (end of third quarter)
Foul trouble wasn't the only problem for Lakers center Andrew Bynum.
He also has a sore left knee. When he sat down after committing his fourth foul with 9:33 left in the third quarter, Lakers trainer Gary Vitti checked on Bynum.
Bynum returned later in the third quarter with white tape across his knee.
Another problem for the Lakers was Ron Artest trying to defend Celtics forward Paul Pierce.
Artest did such a bad job that Lakers Coach Phil Jackson yanked him from the game with 9:33 left in the third and put in Luke Walton.
Jackson also re-inserted Artest into the game later in the fourth quarter as well.
Through three quarters, Pierce had 30 points on 10-for-16 shooting, three for five on three-pointers.
Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 30 points on 11-for-18 shooting.
Lakers 54, Celtics 50 (end of first half)
After allowing the Celtics to make half of their shots in the first quarter, the Lakers picked up their intensity on defense in the second quarter.
The Lakers blocked three shots in the second quarter.
And then there was the play of All-Star guard Kobe Bryant.
Bryant played only 5 minutes and 14 seconds in the first quarter because of foul trouble.
But he went to work in the second, when he scored 17 of his 22 first-half points, including two free throws with 1.4 seconds left.
The Lakers, however, didn't end the first half on a good note.
Lakers forward Lamar Odom fouled Boston forward Glen Davis while he shot about a 60-foot jumper just before the halftime buzzer sounded.
Davis made two of three free throws.
Earlier in the quarter, after Pau Gasol missed a shot, his elbow came down on Kevin Garnett's head, drawing blood.
Garnett went to Boston's locker room and came back with a patch on the left side of his head.
Garnett's biggest problem was getting three fouls in the first half.
Celtics 22, Lakers 21 (end of first quarter)
It ended up being a close first quarter between the Lakers and Celtics.
The Lakers kept it close behind the play of center Andrew Bynum, who had seven points on two-for-three shooting.
The Celtics got the lead behind the play of forward Paul Pierce, who had 10 points on four-for-nine shooting. Boston shot 50% from the field.
The game took on an interesting tone when two of the stars picked up early fouls.
Boston guard Ray Allen was called for his second foul while trying to defend Lakers guard Kobe Bryant. Allen was forced to take a seat on the bench with 7:56 left in the first.
Bryant picked up his second foul on a reach-in with 6:46 left in the first. He too took a seat on the bench.
The Lakers have had a history of starting slow when they play afternoon games.
Well, Sunday, the Lakers were playing the Boston Celtics at Staples Center at 12:30 p.m.
Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said it wasn't discussed beforehand.
"Well, I may be concerned, but we didn't talk about it with them," Jackson said. "This is about the same time they practice."
The Lakers defeated the Celtics in seven games last June to win the franchise's 16th NBA championship.
Jackson talked about how the Celtics are different this season, other than the obvious of having former Lakers center Shaquille O'Neal starting for Boston.
"I think their execution is great," Jackson said. "Their execution obviously in the playoffs was good. They have a couple of wrinkles for Shaq. (But) most of it is the same."
With this being Jackson's last season, Boston Coach Doc Rivers was asked what he thought about the accomplishments of L.A.'s coach.
"Too much, as far as I'm concerned, especially last year," joked Rivers, referring to Jackson's Lakers beating the Celtics for the NBA title. "Other than that, I think what he has done is wonderful. He's the greatest coach to coach the game in the NBA. You've got to give that to him. All he's done is won and what I like about him the most is that he's done it his way. He doesn't care if people like it or don't."
-- Broderick Turner
Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant has his pull-up jumper challenged by Celtics center Shaquille O'Neal in the first half Sunday afternoon. Credit: Jeff Gross / Getty Images