Final

Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 1/31

Game 1: Sunday, January 31st
Lakers90Final
Celtics89
Game 2: Thursday, February 18th
Celtics87Final
Lakers86

Lakers 90

(37-11, 14-8 away)

Celtics 89

(29-16, 13-8 home)

    Coverage: ABC

    3:30 PM ET, January 31, 2010

    TD Garden, Boston, MA

    1 2 3 4 T
    LAL 30 17 19 2490
    BOS 19 33 21 1689

    Top Performers

    Los Angeles: A. Bynum 19 Pts, 11 Reb, 1 Ast, 2 Stl, 2 Blk

    Boston: R. Rondo 21 Pts, 5 Reb, 12 Ast, 2 Stl

    Kobe's late jumper lifts Lakers, sends Celtics to 6th loss in last 8 games

    Associated Press

    BOSTON -- The Los Angeles Lakers are doing their best to forget all those awful memories of playing in the Boston Garden.

    More from ESPN.com

    The Lakers' inability to slow quick guards remains a major problem for Los Angeles, writes Dave McMenamin. Story


    The Celtics' defense in the fourth quarter gave the Lakers a leg up, writes Chris Forsberg. Story

    Kobe Bryant sank the go-ahead basket with 7.3 seconds left, and the Lakers won 90-89 on Sunday for their third consecutive victory over the struggling Celtics. Boston has not been able to make good on the traditional "Beat L.A.!" chant since winning 131-92 to clinch the 2008 NBA championship here in Game 6 of the finals.

    "They smacked us two years ago," Lakers forward Lamar Odom said. "It was a big game for us. This is a team that's going to be battling to be coming out of the East."

    Winners of 32 NBA titles between them -- including the last two -- the Lakers and Celtics have met in the finals 11 times, from Bill Russell against Elgin Baylor and Wilt Chamberlain, to Magic Johnson vs. Larry Bird and on to the current matchup of Bryant facing the New Big Three of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen.

    Chasing History

    Kobe Bryant is closer to besting Jerry West. With 19 points against the Celtics on Sunday, Bryant is now just 28 away from tying West for most points in Lakers history.

    L.A. Lakers
    All-Time Leading Scorers
    Points
    Jerry West 25,192
    Kobe Bryant 25,164
    Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 24,176
    Elgin Baylor 23,149
    Magic Johnson 17,707

    But while the Lakers' superstar came through in the stretch for them, Boston's couldn't.

    The Celtics led by as many as 11 points in the fourth quarter and nursed a one-point lead until Pierce was called for an offensive foul for pushing off as he jumped to shoot with 28 seconds left.

    "At that point, I think it's got to be unbelievable, but I didn't see it so I really can't give an opinion on it," Boston coach Doc Rivers said. "You know, I do know Kobe pushes off a lot."

    Bryant complained of a stiff ankle after Friday night's win in Philadelphia, and it seemed to bother him during the game. He shot just 8 for 20 but made the big one: making a move toward the basket before stepping back from Allen's defense and swishing the ball through the net to give Los Angeles its only lead of the second half.

    "He had a couple of looks before that that were good looks, and he didn't put them in. We were mystified by that," said Lakers coach Phil Jackson, who tied Pat Riley atop the franchise coaching list with his 533rd win in Los Angeles. "He told me the next one was going to go in, so we went with him."

    Bryant finished with 19, Andrew Bynum had 19 points and 11 rebounds, and Pau Gasol had 11 points and 11 boards for the Lakers, who won their fourth consecutive game.

    "I didn't say give me one more chance. I said give me the damn ball," Bryant said. "I never really give him much of a choice."

    Rajon Rondo had 21 points and 12 assists for the Celtics, who have lost six of their last eight games.

    Pierce scored 15, Garnett had 10 with nine rebounds and Kendrick Perkins finished with eight points and 10 boards for the Celtics, who were coming off losses to Orlando and Atlanta -- two of the top four teams in the Eastern Conference -- that left them at 6-10 since beating the Magic on Christmas Day.

    "It's nothing to be happy about, I'll tell you that," Garnett said. "We haven't been producing wins, but we're a hardworking group."

    Garnett missed 10 of those games with a hyperextended right knee, and Boston was 4-6 without him. But Garnett's return hasn't solved all the Celtics' problems.

    The Celtics led 81-70 before the Lakers made the next four baskets. Rasheed Wallace hit a 3-pointer -- his only basket of the game -- to stop the run, and it was still a three-point game with less than two minutes left when Bryant hit a pair of free throws to make it 87-86.

    Allen hit a pair of free throws, then Ron Artest sank a runner in the lane to make it 89-88. The Celtics got the ball to Pierce, who created a little too much space for himself, negating the basket.

    "I thought I made a good move. I got to my sweet spot," Pierce said. "I guess the ref saw it differently and he made the call. That's part of the game. That's why you have referees."

    Allen's 3-point attempt at the final buzzer bounced harmlessly off the rim.

    "Ten times out of 10 times, when you have Ray open like that I'm going to give him the ball," Pierce said. "He got a good look at it. Sometimes it falls; sometimes it doesn't."

    The Celtics fell behind 22-10 in the first quarter, when Bynum scored 12 points, and trailed 40-34 midway through the second before scoring the next 15 points. Rondo had nine points and eight assists in the quarter and was in double digits in both by halftime.

    Game notes


    Garnett finished the game with 21,773 career points, 18 behind Larry Bird for 24th on the NBA scoring list. ... Bryant is 28 points behind Jerry West for No. 1 on the Lakers' all-time list. ... Wallace and Gasol picked up technical fouls late in the first. It's Wallace's 14th for the season; 16 is an automatic suspension. ... The Lakers outscored Boston on points in the paint 18-0 in the fourth quarter. ... Allen was 2 for 10 from the field.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

     
    LAL
    BOS
    Points 90 89
    FGM-FGA 35-73 (.479) 34-73 (.466)
    3PM-3PA 4-14 (.286) 6-20 (.300)
    FTM-FTA 16-22 (.727) 15-19 (.789)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 8-36 10-39
    Assists 17 20
    Turnovers 16 18
    Steals 8 10
    Blocks 6 2
    Fast Break Points 6 14
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 19 (3/0) 21 (1/0)
    Largest Lead 13 11

    Top Performers

    Los Angeles
    Boston
    Andrew Bynum Bynum
    Points: 19
    Reb: 11
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 2
    Rajon Rondo Rondo
    Points: 21
    Reb: 5
    Ast: 12
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0