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Jackson, wearing a microphone for the TV broadcast, told his players during a late timeout, "This team loses more games in the fourth quarter than any team in the league. They know how to lose games, and they're showing us that now."
The Lakers got within six points several times, but never within five until Bryant made three free throws to make it 87-82 with 90 seconds left.
The Celtics got a break from a review when replays showed Allen's 3-pointer barely nicked the rim, giving them the ball with a fresh 24 seconds and 1:05 left. Rasheed Wallace missed a 3-pointer, but the rebound wound up tied up between the 6-foot-11 Garnett and 6-foot-1 Derek Fisher.
Fisher won the jump ball, tipping the ball ahead to Ron Artest for a breakaway; Pierce fouled him to keep him from scoring an easy layup, and he missed both free throws. Bryant grabbed the rebound, but Pierce ripped it out of his arms and dribbled off to the side to call timeout.
A desperate inbound pass went to Pierce, who fed Rondo under the basket before falling out of bounds, and Rondo made an over-the-head layup to make it 89-82 with 36 seconds left.
"I was just showing off my Randy Moss and my (Tom) Brady the whole play," Pierce said. "I was Randy when I caught it; then Brady on my pass to Rondo."
Bryant missed a series of desperation 3-pointers down the stretch, and when Allen made two free throws with 19 seconds left and Garnett one of two with 8.9 to play, it was over.
"He's the best shot-maker in the game. There's probably better athletes and all that, but there's no better shot-maker than Kobe Bryant," Rivers said. "You've just got to live with it and play through it."
Pau Gasol scored 12 points with 12 rebounds and Fisher, the Game 3 star, scored all nine of his points in the first quarter as no other Laker reached double figures in scoring until Gasol hit a free throw with 2:25 left. Andrew Bynum played on his sore right knee for 31 minutes, but he scored all six of his points and his only rebound in the first quarter.
NOTES: Of the 25 finals that have been tied at 2-all, the winner of Game 5 has won 19 of them. ... Rondo was called for a technical foul in the second quarter when he pushed Artest in retaliation for a hard foul on Garnett. Artest embellished the shove, but got the call. ... Celebrities in the crowd: sprinter Usain Bolt, actress Eliza Dushku, Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea and singers Glen Frey and Jimmy Buffett, Philadelphia Phillies slugger Ryan Howard and New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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