Lakers vs. Boston: Lakers overwhelm Celtics in second half
Lakers 92, Celtics 86 (final)
The Lakers didn't care that the Boston Celtics were beat up and injured.
All the Lakers wanted to do was beat their rivals.
And the Lakers did, winning with a strong second-half defensive effort, winning with strong play from seven-footers Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol and because Kobe Bryant took over at the right time.
Bryant led the Lakers with 23 points, eight in the fourth quarter, as the Lakers earned a split in their two-game season series.
Gasol had a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds and Bynum had 16 points and nine rebounds. Lamar Odom finished with 10 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.
The Lakers, who at one time trailed by 15 points, gave up only 33 second-half points to the Celtics.
The Lakers held the Celtics to 30.2% shooting (13 for 43) in the second half.
Ray Allen had 20 points on eight-for-18 shooting and Paul Pierce had 15 points on six-for-15 shooting. Kevin Garnett finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
For the record: An earlier version of this report listed Pau Gasol with 16 points. Gasol finished the game with 20 points.
Lakers 72, Celtics 68 (end of third quarter)
For all the good the Lakers did in overtaking the Celtics in the third quarter, they had a scary moment.
After Lamar Odom tipped in a missed shot, he turned around and smacked heads with Pau Gasol.
But with Kobe Bryant scoring 12 of his 15 points in the third quarter, the Lakers overcame a 15-point deficit.
Gasol had 18 points and 10 rebounds through three quarter.
The Lakers picked up their defense in the third, holding the Celtics to 27.3% shooting (six for 22) in the quarter, when the Celtics managed only 15 points.
Bryant was called for traveling on a play, but didn't agree with the call. He then was given a technical foul with 8:50 left in the third.
Boston had more problems because Ray Allen picked up his fourth foul with 6:43 left, forcing him to take a seat on the bench.
It meant the Celtics had to bring in third-string guard Von Wafer, a former Laker.
Wafer picked up three fouls in third quarter, giving him five for the game.
The Lakers opened the third quarter with a 10-0 run, putting L.A. in position to take a 61-60 lead that forced Boston Coach Doc Rivers to call a timeout with 5:56 left.
Celtics 53, Lakers 45 (end of first half)
Thanks to the inside play of seven-footers Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol, the Lakers were able to cut into Boston's 15-point lead in the second quarter tonight at TD Garden in Boston.
Bynum had 12 points in the first half and Gasol had 12 points and seven rebounds.
Kobe Bryant had only three points in the first half on one-for-three shooting.
Ray Allen led the Celtics with 14 first-half points on six-for-11 shooting, including two of five from three-point range. Boston shot 51.3% for the first half while holding the Lakers to 44.4%.
The Celtics lost another player to injury when backup point guard Nate Robinson went down with a bruised right knee in the second quarter. He was to be evaluated at halftime.
Celtics 27, Lakers 20 (end of first quarter)
The Lakers became part of history tonight, and they were also on the wrong side of the score at the end of the first quarter.
When Ray Allen made his second three-pointer in the first quarter, he became the NBA's all-time leader in three-pointers made, surpassing Reggie Miller.
Allen's history-making three-pointer came with 1:48 left in the first quarter. It gave Allen 2,561 three-pointers.
While Andrew Bynum shot two free throws with 1:26 left in the first, Allen went over to hug Miller, who was working the game for TNT.
Kobe Bryant in turn hugged Allen.
Allen made a three-pointer with 4:14 left to tie Miller at 2,560 when Derek Fisher was slow to cover Allen.
The crowd inside TD Garden let out a roaring cheer for Allen.
A few seconds later, Allen came down on the fast break and shot a three-pointer, but he missed.
The crowd cheered as soon as Allen released the shot, but was disappointed when it didn't go in. They didn't have to wait much longer for the record to be eclipsed.
The rivalry between the Lakers and Boston Celtics has plenty of meaning.
After all, the Lakers have won 16 NBA championships, one behind the Celtics.
They met last year in the NBA Finals, with the Lakers winning in seven games. The Celtics defeated the Lakers in the 2008 NBA Finals, winning in six games.
When the Celtics and Lakers last played Jan. 30 at Staples Center, Boston won by 13 points.
The season rematch is Thursday night at TD Garden.
"Well, it has to be just another game," Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said. "It can't be anything more than that."
When the Lakers lost to Boston in January, the Celtics shot 60.3% from the field.
"You can't win a game if you let a team shoot that well," Jackson said.
-- Broderick Turner
Photo: Celtics forward Paul Pierce tries to drive past Lakers guard Kobe Bryant in the first half Thursday night. Credit: David Butler II / US Presswire