Images from historic matchup of Lakers, Celtics
The Celtics finally caught the Lakers at 73-all on Leon Powe’s jumper in the lane with 9:05 remaining, tying the score for the first time since it was 2-2 in the first minute.
At that point, the Lakers looked lost, confused, you name it. And when House hit an 18-foot jumper with 4:07 remaining, the Celtics had their first lead, 84-83. Boston’s bench erupted, Lakers fans gasped and it was just a matter of time before they were heading out of Staples Center wondering what went wrong.
Allen, one of the game’s purest shooters, then drove to the basket and made a reverse layup as dramatic as the Celtics’ comeback.
“It was huge,” Boston coach Doc Rivers said. “It was really supposed to be a middle pick-and-roll with Kevin and Ray, and Ray waved Kevin off because he liked the matchup that he had already, so he didn’t want to bring another defender in to help. It was a great call by Ray. The layup was just tremendous.”
Bryant, who except for a 36-point performance in Game 3 has been an ordinary superstar in his try for a fourth championship ring, didn’t score in the first half. He tried to rally the Lakers and got them within 89-87 with one of his patented twisting layups. But James Posey drilled a 3-pointer for Boston to make it 92-87 with 1:13 left. Derek Fisher’s long jumper got the Lakers within three.
But Pierce was fouled and made two free throws, forcing Jackson to call a timeout with 47 seconds to go. As the Lakers headed toward their bench, Pierce pumped his fists, flexed his muscles and let out a yell.
At the other end of the court, Bryant hung his head.
“They were determined not to let me beat them tonight,” he said. “I saw three, four bodies every time I touched the ball.”
Surrounded by Hollywood stars on their own back lot sound stage, the Lakers were seeking their 10th straight win at home in the postseason and were about to drop the “if necessary” tag from Game 6. Now, they have to hope they can force the series back to Boston.
For the third time in this series, commissioner David Stern met with the media before the game. It was an unusual step for the league’s long-tenured leader, who went on the offensive to defend the integrity of NBA officials under fire in the Tim Donaghy scandal.
Maybe the next investigation should focus on what happened to the Celtics in the first quarter.
L.A’s crowd, notorious for arriving late, leaving early and spending more time text messaging and talking on cell phones than clapping, was much more involved than in Game 3. They roared when Lakers Hall of Fame center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar presented the game ball to officials and were on their feet when Los Angeles blasted to a 16-6 lead.
By then, Odom had scored eight points, doubling his total from Game 3 and the enigmatic forward finished the first quarter having made all six field goal attempts and scoring 13 points. Moments later, Garnett went out with his second personal, and with the NBA’s best defender on the bench, the Lakers ran wild.
Odom made consecutive jumpers from the top of the key to put Los Angeles ahead 26-7. The Lakers eventually pushed their lead to 45-21 when Sasha Vujacic, whose 20 points sparked his team in Game 3, nailed a 3-pointer and it was the Boston Massacre, West Coast style.
But the Celtics wouldn’t quit.
“Once we got the lead, obviously, we were thrilled to death,” Rivers said. “As far as we were down, nothing was going right for us, and we just hung in there.”
Notes: Some of Hollywood’s brightest stars glimmered, including the usuals: Jack Nicholson, Denzel Washington and Dyan Cannon. They were joined by former NFL star Jerry Rice, actress Jennifer Garner with husband Ben Affleck, singer Justin Timberlake and Arizona quarterback Matt Leinart. ... The Celtics and Lakers finished with the best records in their respective conferences. It’s the first time teams with the top marks have met in the finals since Indiana and Los Angeles in 2000. The last team to have the league’s top record and win the title was San Antonio in 2003. ... Two hours before tipoff, two seats in the lower bowl were going for $3,500 apiece through an on-line ticket brokerage.
Y! Sports: For Roy Hibbert, a sense of ownership means knowing he should have fought to get in the game with two seconds remaining in overtime, when his absence allowed LeBron James to hit the winning lay-up.
PBT: After it looked like Paul George's heroics would sink the Heat in Game 1, LeBron James stunned Indiana with a layup as time expired to lift Miami in OT.
Video: NBA from NBC Sports
LeBron: 'I just made a layup'
LeBron James hit the game-winning shot as time expired in overtime to beat the Pacers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals, but he says, "I just made a layup."
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