Paul Pierce scored 32 points as the Boston Celtics beat the Los Angeles Lakers, 109-96, in a rematch of the 2010 NBA Finals at the Staples Center on Sunday afternoon. Pierce made 11-of-18 shots, as well as 3-of-5 threes and 7-of-7 free throws, and collected five rebounds in 39 minutes for Boston.
This was the first meeting between the Celtics and Lakers since last year's NBA Finals, in which Los Angeles prevailed, 4-3, in seven games. The Lakers are now 18-7 in games at the Staples Center this season.
Ray Allen scored 21 points and Kevin Garnett added 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Celtics (36-11). Rajon Rondo finished with 10 points and 16 assists in a game-high 41 minutes. Glen Davis scored 13 and Nate Robinson added 11 off the bench for Boston.
Kobe Bryant tied a season-high with 41 points for Los Angeles (33-15). Pau Gasol amassed 12 points and seven rebounds and Andrew Bynum added 11 points and six boards. Lamar Odom scored 15 points and grabbed five rebounds off the bench for L.A.
Boston made 44-of-73 shots (60.3%) and 9-of-17 three pointers (52.9%) while Los Angeles drained 36-of-81 field goals (44.4%) and 4-of-9 shots beyond the arc (44.4%). The Celtics finished with a plus-13 advantage in rebounding (43-30) and totaled 34 assists, five steals and four blocks while turning the ball over 13 times.
The Lakers amassed 10 assists, six steals, four blocks, 22 personal fouls and turned the ball over eight times.
Boston outscored Los Angeles, 22-21, in the opening quarter. The Lakers battled back to take a 54-50 halftime lead, but Pierce's 14-point third quarter was enough to give the Celtics a 77-72 advantage heading into the fourth quarter. The Celtics sealed the deal in the final quarter, outscoring L.A., 32-34, to take the first of two games against the Lakers this season.
The Celtics return to action on Tuesday night when they face the Sacramento Kings at Arco Arena. Los Angeles plays Houston in its next game on Tuesday night at the Staples Center.