Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum led the Los Angeles Lakers on an 8-0 run to close out the game, giving the purple and gold a 97-94 win over the Boston Celtics in possibly the last meeting between these two teams in the Big Three era on Sunday afternoon at Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA.
Bryant finished with 26 points and seven assists and Bynum had 20 points and 14 rebounds as Los Angeles shot 50.7 percent. Bryant's 14-foot jumper put L.A. on top 95-94 with 41 second left and a Bynum tip in from Bryant with 15 seconds left sealed the deal. Boston had a chance to tie, but both Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo missed threes.
Rondo started cold, as did the Celtics, but finished with 24 points and 10 assists. Pierce scored 13, Ray Allen added 17 points and Kevin Garnett amassed 14 points and 11 boards. Boston shot 47 percent in the game.
A very slow start put the Celtics in a deep hole early, as Boston missed its first five shots and fell behind by ten, 24-14, after the opening quarter. The Celtics made just 6-of-24 field goals in the quarter, and the Lakers closed out the quarter on a 12-2 run despite coughing the ball up seven times.
Boston fell behind 37-22 near the midway point of the second and was held to 29.3 percent shooting through the 5:29 mark of the quarter, due in part to the lack of success from Pierce and Allen, who were a combined 1-of-11 for two points. But the Celtics recovered and outscored Los Angeles 28-20 in the period to cut their lead to two points 44-42, after a Rondo three at the buzzer heading into the break.
Metta World Peace had a big third quarter for the Lakers, scoring 10 of his 14 points in the frame as Los Angeles pulled ahead by two, 72-70, after three quarters. A back-and-forth fourth quarter was wildly entertaining, but the Lakers had the upper hand and outscored the Celtics 25-24 in the frame to secure their ninth straight home win.
Boston remains in Hollywood to face the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night.