Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 12/28

Game 1: Sunday, December 28th
Game 2: Wednesday, March 10th

Celtics 82

(15-16, 7-8 away)

Lakers 105

(21-7, 15-2 home)

Coverage: FSW

6:30 PM ET, December 28, 2003

STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA

1 2 3 4 T
BOS 26 23 15 1882
LAL 30 27 22 26105

Top Performers

Bos: P. Pierce 24 Pts, 2 Reb, 5 Ast, 3 Stl

LAL: S. O'Neal 22 Pts, 16 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Stl, 2 Blk

Shaq, six others score in double figs

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Slump? What slump? The Los Angeles Lakers put a two-game losing streak behind them with authority Sunday night.

"The Lakers beat the living hell out of us, so if they were in a slump, they seem to be out of it," Boston coach Jim O'Brien said after Los Angeles handed the Celtics a 105-82 setback, their most lopsided loss this season.

Shaquille O'Neal had 22 points and 16 rebounds, and six of his teammates scored in double figures as the Lakers raised their NBA-best record to 21-7.

"We had a stellar second half," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "Shaq was our focal point, obviously. We were looking to exploit the fact that they like to front the post.

"I thought our defense was better. We got some turnovers. It was a nice breakout game for us."

Derek Fisher scored 15 points; Devean George added 14; Gary Payton had 13, and Kobe Bryant scored 11 while shooting 5-of-18.

Slava Medvedenko had 10 points and nine rebounds and Horace Grant had a season-high 10 points and seven rebounds for Los Angeles, which outrebounded Boston 55-35.

"We had a little bit more movement -- a little bit more active on defense," O'Neal said when asked the difference between this game and the previous six four of which were losses.

"This gets us back on track," O'Neal said. "Now, we just have to be consistent. It's all about us."

Following a 10-game winning streak, the Lakers allowed their last six opponents to average 104.7 points per game.

They held the Celtics to 82, only 33 in the second half.

"I think it was a combination of them shooting poorly and us executing defensively," Bryant said. "We played active defense."

Paul Pierce led Boston with 24 points. Vin Baker had 13 points and Chris Mihm and Marcus Banks added 11 each for the Celtics, who entered having won eight of their last 11 games.

"We were playing well coming into this game, and we thought this was a game we could get," Baker said. "A big part of our loss was because of our turnovers. We didn't take care of the ball. It's been a long time we were this sloppy with turnovers."

The Celtics committed 23 turnovers while the Lakers committed 21.

The Lakers played their third game without Karl Malone, who sprained a ligament in his right knee Dec. 21 against Phoenix. His return is uncertain, but he hasn't been placed on the injured list.

Lakers spokesman John Black said team physician Dr. Steve Lombardo examined Malone and said the 40-year-old forward is making progress and will continue to be monitored for the rest of the week.

The goal for Malone is to practice Wednesday if he continues to improve. The Lakers play their next game Friday night at Seattle.

O'Neal scored the first seven points of the third quarter to give the Lakers a 64-49 lead. The Celtics drew within eight points before the Lakers outscored them 9-2 to finish the period, making it 79-64.

Fisher then scored the first five points of the fourth quarter to give the Lakers a 20-point lead, and a 3-pointer by Fisher with six minutes left made it 93-69.

Each team had 12 turnovers in a sloppy first half which ended with the Lakers leading 57-49 thanks to a 6-1 run at the end of the second period.

The Lakers scored the game's first seven points before seven points by Baker triggered a 10-2 run that gave the Celtics their only lead.

The Lakers outscored Boston 19-5 for a 28-15 lead, but the Celtics responded with a 13-2 spurt to move within two points early in the second quarter.

Game notes

The Lakers shot 43.0 percent and the Celtics 41.7 percent. ... With a series lead of 93-75, the Celtics are the only franchise with a winning record against the Lakers. ... After playing only 11 games in December, the Lakers play 15 in both January and February. ... The Celtics play Monday night at Golden State and Wednesday at home against New Orleans, giving them 17 games in December. They play 16 games in January and 12 in February. ... Malone took a seat on the bench late in the first quarter and received an ovation from the fans. He stayed home Christmas night when the Lakers lost to Houston 99-87. ... O'Neal drew a technical foul late in the second quarter for throwing an elbow at Boston's Michael Stewart. ... O'Neal surpassed the 21,000-point mark in his career with a basket early in the third quarter. ... By winning, the Lakers avoided their first three-game losing streak since last December.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 82 105
FGM-FGA 30-72 (.417) 37-86 (.430)
3PM-3PA 4-15 (.267) 8-23 (.348)
FTM-FTA 18-25 (.720) 23-38 (.605)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 11-35 23-55
Assists 17 30
Turnovers 23 21
Steals 12 13
Blocks 0 3
Fast Break Points 3 4
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 30 (1/0) 22 (3/0)

Top Performers

Los Angeles
Paul Pierce Pierce
Points: 24
Reb: 2
Ast: 5
Stl: 3
Blk: 0
Shaquille O'Neal O'Neal
Points: 22
Reb: 16
Ast: 3
Stl: 1
Blk: 2