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Fast Break: Celtics suffer overtime loss to Lakers

Posted By Ben Rohrbach On February 9, 2012 @ 10:51 pm In General | 3 Comments


Paul Pierce‘s fadeaway jumper missed the mark and Ray Allen‘s put-back got blocked as the Celtics suffered a heartbreaking overtime loss to the Lakers, 88-87.

The entire OT was a struggle for both teams, so an Andrew Bynum tip-in with 1:29 to play proved the difference. The Lakers outscored the Celtics 6-5 in the extra period.

With a little more than a minute remaining in regulation and the Celtics trailing by one, Allen converted his second 3-pointer of the night to give the Celtics an 82-80 lead as “Beat L.A.” chants rained down from the Garden rafters. But Pau Gasol tied the game with nine seconds remaining, and the final Celtics play before overtime resulted in a wild, failed 30-footer by Mickael PIetrus.

Gasol (25 points, 14 rebounds) and Andrew Bynum (16 points, 17 rebounds) both registered double-doubles, and Kobe Bryant added 27 points for the Lakers (15-11).

Allen’s 22 points led the Celtics (14-11) in scoring, Kevin Garnett (12 points, 12 rebounds) recorded a double-double, and Pierce and Rajon Rondo combined for 32 points and 14 assists. The loss snapped a five-game winning streak for the C’s.

WHAT WENT WRONG

Spry Bynum: Jermaine O’Neal and the other veteran Boston bigs had trouble with Lakers 24-year-old center Andrew Bynum‘s youth and athleticism. A healthy Bynum is a dangerous Bynum, as the 7-footer nearly had a double-double by halftime. In fact, Doc Rivers turned to Chris Wilcox for a stretch — his first extended minutes with the Big Four.

Board room: Along similar lines, the Lakers size exploited an issue that’s plagued the Celtics this season — namely, rebounding. Bynum, Gasol and old friend Troy Murphy of all people corralled 40 rebounds as the Lakers out-boarded the Celtics, 55-45. Uncharacteristically, Rondo didn’t record a rebound until there was three minutes to play.

Backing up the point: With Keyon Dooling still sidelined and a suited up Avery Bradley considered doubtful before the game, Rivers could only turn to E’Twaun Moore for backup point guard minutes behind Rondo. Moore played four first-half minutes and registered a minus-8, so the Celtics had no choice but to play Rondo 40-plus minutes.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

Mondo Rondo: Given that the Lakers had to throw out Derek Fisher and Steve Blake against Rondo, there’s no wonder Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak would inquire about the should-be three-time All-Star point guard. Rondo owned both Fisher and Blake, getting to the hoop with ease and creating shots all over the floor early. That trend changed late — one reason for the Celtics end-of-game struggles.

Pietrus dishes: Newest Celtic Mickael Pietrus continues to fill his role to perfection: Spread the offense and tighten the defense. He took four first-half field goals — all 3-pointers off the pass — and made a pair of them during a slow offensive stretch. With just over four minutes to play in regulation, he converted another trey off a Pierce crosscourt pass that gave the Celtics a 77-75 lead. And he shouldered some of the defensive minutes against Kobe Bryant, who attempted only six shots before the half as the C’s took a 47-45 advantage.

Throwing down: Garnett appeared to have some extra pep in his step, converting three dunks in the first half alone — including one on a lob pass from Rondo that brought back memories from the 2007-08 season. Heck, even Jermaine O’Neal dunked on Pau Gasol in the third quarter. You don’t see that every day. Then again, Gasol tossed Bryant an alley-oop that probably rated higher on the difficulty scale, but still …


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