Celtics split season series with Lakers, lose 113-99

If you like story lines then this game was for you.

Tonight’s game was the first for Los Angeles since their legendary owner Jerry Buss died. Before the game a tribute for Buss was played and Kobe Bryant addressed the crowd as a spotlight was put on Buss’ seat in the stadium.

The trade deadline is only hours away and both Boston (Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, Jeff Green, Brandon Bass, Avery Bradley, etc.) and the Lakers (Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol) have been heavily rumored in numerous trades.

Steve Nash was going for fourth on the all-time assists list.

The Lakers (26-29) had a horrible first half of the season and need to turn things around quickly if they want any hope of making the playoffs.

Boston (28-26) was playing in the second game of a back-to-back after losing to the Nuggets the night before and needs to keep winning to avoid the dreaded eighth seed in the playoffs and a first round matchup with Miami.

Oh, and it was Celtics vs. Lakers for the second and final regular season contest.

So let’s get to the game.

The first quarter started a little sloppy, but the teams settled in after a couple minutes. Bryant drew two quick fouls on Courtney Lee, forcing the Celtics to go big early with Jeff Green.

Doc Rivers had the bright idea of putting Jason Collins on Dwight Howard and the results were…not pretty.

Howard dominated the Celtics inside the paint with 12 points and six rebounds.

Pierce also had a good first quarter with 10 points on 4-6 from the field, but it was not enough as the Lakers led 36-27.

The second quarter was highlighted by Jeff Green, and not in a good way. Green did have some nice defensive plays, but couldn’t hit a shot to save his life. He got the ball a few of times in great position, but just couldn’t convert. He finished the half shooting 2-8.

The Celtics tried to cut into the lead before the half with Pierce carrying the team offensively (23 points) and did get within five, but the Lakers were having none of it and kept their advantage at nine, leading 64-55 at halftime.

The third quarter was just ugly. The Lakers opened the lead up to 18 on a 10-0 run and it stayed around there for most of the period. Nash tied Magic Johnson for fourth all-time in assists. He surpassed Magic with four minutes left in the third on his fifth assist of the game.

If you want to dissect what’s wrong with the Lakers, Nash had his fifth assist with four minutes left in the third and you know they were feeding him the ball so he could pass Magic.

In happy news, Bryant picked up his 12th technical foul right before the fourth quarter, 16 and you get suspended.

The Celtics scratched and clawed their way to a 14-point deficit, down 90-76 to start the fourth.

As for the final frame, the Lakers quickly extended their lead to 22 and if you want a clue for the rest of the quarter, most of it was “Fab Melo time.”

Pierce finished with 26 points, five assists and four rebounds, Garnett had 12 points, Lee had 20, Green scored 15 and Terry finished with 10, while shooting 1-5 on threes.

For the Lakers, six players finished with double figures with Bryant finishing with 16 points and seven assists, Howard had 24 points and 12 rebounds and Earl Clark finished with 10 and 14.

Other notes

New addition Terrence Williams played in his first game for the Celtics with two points
in 12 minutes.

Celtics were outrebounded 49-34.

The Lakers scored 54 points in the paint.

Pierce (+6) and Terry (+4) were the only Celtics to finish with a positive +/- .

The Celtics are now 8-17 on the road.

Melo got a block!

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