The Boston Celtics- Los Angeles Lakers game ultimately came down to the one player who didn’t play: Kobe Bryant. With under a minute left, down one point , multiple Lakers possessions resulted in zero points. Boston won 87-86.
Boston scored only 11 fourth-quarter points, but stole the road win with tenacious, vintage defense, surrendering only 39 second-half points. Early on, the referees allowed physical play and the game was played with playoff-like intensity throughout the fourth quarter. Boston desperately needed a quality win, so they bullied their way to a victory. Los Angeles, leaderless, had no response.
The win, however, hardly heals the Boston Celtics. Los Angeles had their chances to win without Kobe, and would have won had he played. The Lakers frontline out-rebounded the Celtics and had little trouble scoring: Pao Gasol (22), Ron Artest (15), Andrew Bynum (14), and Lamar Odom (13) all reached double figures in points.
Still, Boston moves to 2-0 on the all-important four-game West Coast road trip. Kendrick Perkins (13 pts, 14 rebs) and Rajon Rondo (14 pts, 11 asts) both had double-doubles. Ray Allen broke out of a prolonged shooting slump to make four three-pointers on his way to 24 points. Amazing, what a little job stability will do for a man’s jump shot.
Boston’s next opponent is the Portland Trailblazers Friday 10:30 ET, on a quick turnaround. Newly acquired Nate Robinson will likely be unavailable to play until Sunday, but hopes to spark some energy into our aging offense when he arrives.