The Boston Celtics traveled to Los Angeles on Sunday afternoon for a rematch of last June's NBA Finals against Kobe Bryant and the hated Los Angeles Lakers. Naturally, the game was a highly anticipated matchup, with the Celtics looking to avenge their 83-79 loss in Game 7 of last year's NBA Finals, which handed the Lakers their 16th NBA championship.
After questions regarding their readiness after a bad loss to the Suns in Phoenix, the Celtics looked energized and confident, shaking off the loss and beating the Lakers 109-96.
Paul Pierce led the way in scoring, getting 32 points when all was said and done. Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo each recorded a double-double, with KG scoring 18 points and grabbing 13 rebounds, while Rondo scored 10 points and dished out 16 assists. Ray Allen scored 21 points (including three three-pointers), Glen Davis scored 13, and Nate Robinson added 11. Marquis Daniels and Kendrick Perkins each had two points.
The Lakers' fast-paced offense was led by Kobe Bryant, who scored 41 points. Lamar Odom scored 15 points, followed by Pau Gasol (12), Andrew Bynum (11), Derek Fisher (five points and an exorbitant amount of flops), Steve Blake and Shannon Brown (each with four), Ron Artest (three), and Luke Walton (one).
The Lakers appeared streaky, as they got off to a slow start before turning up the heat in the second quarter, leading 54-50 at the half. Kobe Bryant had his usual swagger, and Derek Fisher was his usual flopping self.
The Celtics played sloppy at times, turning the ball over 17 times compared to the Lakers' eight. However, Boston got to the Lakers in the second half, clamping down on defense and slowing them down.
The Lakers appeared frustrated as time wound down, and Kobe decided to make it his personal mission to save the game for L.A. By the end of the fourth quarter, Kobe had effectively frozen out his teammates and took it to the hoop or pulled up to shoot himself.
The Celtics, in contrast, played classic Celtic basketball, spreading the ball around and making sure everyone got a touch to set up the best shot.
In the end, the Celtics proved to be the better team on Sunday, handing the Lakers their second straight loss. The Celts will look to grab their second straight win against the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night in California's capital city, while the Lakers will look to rebound against the Houston Rockets at home on Tuesday night.