Below is a running diary of L.A.’s Friday evening road contest at Boston, the Lakers looking to bounce back from consecutive losses at Utah and Philadelphia, with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:
Lakers: Fisher, Bryant, World Peace, Gasol and Bynum
Celtics: R. Rondo, R. Allen, P. Pierce, K. Garnett, J. O’Neal
12:00 L.A. got two pieces of news before the game: 1) Steve Blake would be playing for the first time since Jan.11 at Utah; 2) Kobe Bryant’s wrist is fully healed, as he told the Orange County Register’s Kevin Ding after Wednesday’s practice. A hint towards his wrist feeling better has been all the three-point shots he’s been taking of late, which mandate a full follow through that was difficult early on with the wrist.
8:00 Boston was aggressively trapping L.A. on the perimeter, especially Kobe, and the Lakers moved the ball well to get lay up or dunk opportunities for the bigs. Bynum had two of the field goals and Gasol one, but Boston countered with 4-of-6 FG’s to take an early 9-6 lead.
0:00 Kobe didn’t take a shot in the first nine minutes, but once Boston backed off its pressure on him as the bench players rotated in, he scored seven straight. Steve Blake made his presence felt with a corner three, but C’s sub Mickael Pietrus hit two triples of his own to help put Boston up 26-22 after 12 minutes.
8:09 The second unit looked pretty good for L.A., who outscored Boston 6-4 in the first four minutes of the quarter, all six points coming from Matt Barnes, who got four free throws off basket cuts, and tipped in a Goudelock miss.
0:34.7 Gasol capped a good (personal) offensive half with a tough bucket at the rim, reaching a team-high 12 points, but failed to get back on defense on the ensuing possession, along Boston to open a 47-42 lead. Bryant had converted all four of his first shots (despite all four being tough perimeter J’s),
0:00.4 Usually, spectacularly tough shots on this team belong to Bryant, but it was Bynum converting an incredible over-the-head, no-look shot just ahead of the buzzer … plus the foul … when he threw it in despite facing away from the hoop and Jermaine O’Neal all over him. He then converted the free throw, cutting Boston’s lead to two at the break.
7:17 The Lakers had moments of really nice execution on offense, but when they didn’t score, the transition defense was really poor. Boston took advantage to score four of its 14 fast break points early in the third, allowing a 57-53 lead.
2:40 For the second time in the quarter, Gasol pulled off a super skillful tip in, tapping home a miss with his left hand in a single swipe, and Bryant surpassed the Spaniard’s 18 points with a lefty leaner moments later. Not to be outdone, Gasol waited until the next trip down to drain a baseline jumper, plus the foul, over Chris Wilcox to reach 21 points on 10-of-15 FG’s, cutting Boston’s lead to 64-62.
0:00 L.A. finished the quarter in very strong fashion, with Bynum’s 1-of-2 FT’s capping an 8-0 run that turned a 5-point deficit into a 67-64 lead. Bryant and Gasol were both terrific, combining for 19 of the team’s 22 points.
8:45 Back-to-back turnovers from Goudelock and Murphy came at a poor time for L.A., but Boston wasn’t able to get a momentum-building bucket as KG missed a long two (he’d hit his previous two attempt), and Bynum responded with a tough move to draw a C’s PF in the paint. Yet he continued his year-long struggle at the foul line, managing 1-of-2 to put L.A. up 72-70.
6:27 Keeping up his really strong bench effort was Barnes, who slid in for another offensive board (his third) and hit 1-of-2 resulting FT’s to reach 11 points. L.A. then got a stop, and continued to control the glass as Gasol got his ninth, giving L.A> a 44-32 edge on the backboard.
1:16 L.A. got a huge and-1 from Bynum, putting back Gasol’s miss, to get an 80-79 lead heading into the final seconds. Gasol had been great, making 11-of-16 shots for 23 points before back-to-back misses, but Boston couldn’t capitalize due to the 13th LAL offensive board, and back-to-back misses from Rondo (swatted by World Peace, who’d been great on Pierce all night) and KG.
0:09.8 A huge tip in from Gasol off Kobe’s near miss after a broken play tied the game at 82 with 9.8 to play, meaning Boston would hold for the final shot. The previous time out had rendered an open Allen three around a double screen, which he drained, forcing L.A. to convert that Gasol tip to tie. And thanks to World Peace and Barnes, aggressively switching a pick for Pierce, Boston barely got off a 30+ footer from Pietrus … so, overtime.
2:52 Coming up big for L.A. in his first game in about a month was Blake, in for Fisher, and contesting Allen closely on D (two misses), then draining a long two to put the Lakers up four. Bryant had converted a tough J over Allen on the previous trip down.
1:02 After a 5-0 Paul Pierce run around a wide-open miss from Gasol that could have kept L.A. up four (he had been 12-of-19 to that point, and 9-of-12 since the first quarter), his three putting Boston up 87-86, Bynum tipped in Bryant’s near miss to put L.A. back on top. KG then missed another jumper (he was just 6-of-22). KG and Kobe then exchanged misses, giving Boston the ball with 6.1 seconds left.
0:00.1 A massive, game-saving block from Pau Gasol got the Lakers by far their biggest win of the season. First, World Peace forced a tough shot from Pierce, who rimmed out, but Allen snuck in for a potential game-winning tip in at the buzzer. Instead, Gasol came over from the weak side to swat the shot away, and L.A. got its win. We’ll see you tomorrow night at Madison Square Garden.