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Paul Pierce scored 13 points and Kevin Garnett added 12, but the Celtics' offense was a jumbled, stand-around mess. Rajon Rondo, the late-game hero in Boston's last appearance in Los Angeles, got off to a 1-for-8 shooting start before finishing with 10 points and six assists.
"I thought we'd play better, obviously," Boston coach Doc Rivers said. "I thought we were ready. ... We played an individual game tonight on both ends. We never gave ourselves an opportunity offensively, because we never trusted each other. Everybody was out to make their own place."
The Celtics lost starting center Kendrick Perkins in the first quarter to a sprained right knee when he landed awkwardly under the hoop, but his absence couldn't explain the Lakers' utter domination of the first half -- a 30-13 rebounding edge while holding Boston to 34 percent shooting and frustrating Rondo.
"To me, the game is over," Rondo said. "We have one game (left). They have one game. All or nothing. (Game 6) is in the past."
There hasn't been a winner-take-all finals game since San Antonio finished off Detroit five years ago, and Thursday's Game 7 will be the 17th in NBA history. The Spurs' victory over the Pistons was the first Game 7 since 1994, when the Houston Rockets capped a comeback with two home victories over the New York Knicks and their point guard -- Rivers.
"It's really a high-tension situation," said Lakers coach Phil Jackson, a 10-time champion who has never coached a Game 7 in the finals. "Players have come down to putting a lot on the line at this particular point. It's not about the coaching at that point. They've already got it in them. It's about who comes out and provides the energy on the floor."
The Lakers improved to 10-1 in the postseason at Staples Center, while the Celtics dropped to 3-4 in closeout playoff games this season -- including 0-3 on the road. Boston had nine chances to finish a playoff series away from home in the past three postseasons, but has been successful only once.
NOTES: Los Angeles got two points and four rebounds in 16 minutes from injured C Andrew Bynum, who spent part of the second half in the locker room. Jackson said Bynum asked to come out after feeling tightness in his leg, which will require surgery in the offseason ... Allen hit two 3-pointers after hitting a finals-record eight in Game 2 in Los Angeles. He didn't make a 3-pointer during the last three games in Boston.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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