Monday, February 01, 2010
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Beat LA? Not this time for Celtics

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[February 01, 2010]  BOSTON (AP) -- Kobe Bryant sank a go-ahead fallaway jumper with 7.3 seconds left to give the Los Angeles Lakers a 90-89 victory over Boston on Sunday and send the struggling Celtics to their sixth loss in eight games.

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

Bryant, who shot just 8 for 20 in the game, dribbled down the shot clock before stepping back from defender Ray Allen and making a basket to give Los Angeles the lead.

Bryant finished with 19, and Andrew Bynum had 19 points and 11 rebounds.

Rajon Rondo had 21 points and 12 assists for the Celtics.

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.

It was 89-88 when Pierce was called for pushing off. Bryant, who complained of a sore ankle after Friday night's win in Philadelphia, gave the Lakers the lead, then Allen's 3-point attempt at the final buzzer bounced harmlessly off the rim.

Pau Gasol had 11 points and 11 rebounds for the Lakers, who won their fourth straight game and beat Boston for the third consecutive time since losing Game 6 of the 2008 NBA finals to watch the Celtics clinch their 17th championship.

Pierce scored 15, Kevin 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.

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.

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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.

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.

[Associated Press; By JIMMY GOLEN]

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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