At the half … Celtics  52, Lakers 51
FIRST HALF WRAP: The Celtics found their momentum late in the first half to go up one in the closing seconds. Bryant leads all scorers with 13, but only three of those came in the second quarter. Pierce, Garnett, and Allen have combined for 38 of the Celtics 52 points. Rondo is solid, though, posting six points, five rebounds, and four assists. The Celtics bench has to get going in the second half because Kobe won’t stay quiet for much longer.
For Paul’s first quarter recap, click here .
Second Quarter Observations
– Celtics fans have not forgotten about Sasha Vujacic’s emotional outbursts during the Finals. They booed loudly when he fouled Paul Pierce , but this time Vujacic kept his feelings in check.
– Leon Powe  had a breakout game against the Lakers in June. This season, though, teams are paying closer attention and scouting him with a more watchful eye. As a result, Doc Rivers  said Powe is going through pretty common struggles at this point in the season. However he guarantees Powe will break out of the slump.
– Down 31-22, Celtics fans are beginning to get restless. One guy behind me yelled out “Beat LA” with a sad desperation in his voice. Don’t worry, it’s only three minutes into the second quarter. There’s still plenty of basketball to be played.
– Doc’s trying to manage KG’s minutes, waiting until 8:20 left to bring him back in. Garnett’s on the floor with Ray Allen  in hopes of giving the second unit a boost. So far the bench has contributed just one basket, coming from Powe.
– Take that back. Eddie House  hit consecutive shots — a driving layup and a pull-up three — to bring the Celtics within four and prompt a Lakers timeout.
– A Lakers fan was shown on the Jumbotron taking a picture of another Lakers fan’s (temporary?) tattoo. There is a pretty sizable sea of gold and purple here tonight.
– Gasol didn’t get called for his first foul until 3:45 left in the half. The Celtics should be attacking the paint and drawing whistles. Josh Powell and Chris Mihm are hardly threatening against KG and Perk.
– In the crowd: Bill Belichik and Kevin Faulk  (New England Patriots ), Lofa Tatupu (Seattle Seahawks ), Gosder Cherilus (Detroit Lions ), Taylor Twellman  and Brad Knight (New England Revolution ), and Sudbury native Chris Evans (actor, “Fantastic Four”).
– Boos already? Luke Walton’s trey put the Lakers up by five with under two minutes to go in the half. The Lakers are shooting 52.5% from the field. The Celtics are shooting just 43%.
– A block by Paul Pierce on Derek Fisher followed by a putback from Perk has brought life back into the Garden. Everyone on the court touched the ball on that posession.