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Bryant burst catches Celtics off guard

Lakers icon leads charge in final seconds as rivals fail with two last-gasp three-point attempts

Gulf News

Los Angeles  Kobe Bryant displayed his customary late-game heroics and newfound trust in his teammates to help the Los Angeles Lakers beat the visiting Boston Celtics 97-94 on Sunday.

In a fourth quarter slugfest that featured 11 lead changes, Bryant made a pull-up that put the home team ahead 95-94 with 42 seconds, then allowed Andrew Bynum to deliver the final basket as the Lakers scored the last eight points to triumph against their long-time NBA rivals.

Bryant finished with 26 points and seven assists for Los Angeles (25-16). Andrew Bynum co-starred with 20 points and 14 rebounds while seizing his team's final possession during the critical final seconds that normally belong to Bryant.

Trust factor

"Today was just another example of [Kobe] trusting Andrew," Lakers veteran guard Derek Fisher said.

"It's a part of the continued evolution in terms of him doing different things to get us over the top."

The Lakers needed everyone's contribution to escape the Celtics who had two last-gasp three-point attempts from Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo fail before the clock expired

Rondo had 24 points and 10 assists for Boston (21-19) who trailed by 15 in the second quarter but rallied and held a 94-89 advantage with under three minutes remaining. That is when Bryant went to work. The five-time NBA champion made a fade-away jumper, then set up Bynum with a lob pass before striking again with the go-ahead shot.

"The problem was we couldn't get any stops. Kobe made some tough shots," said Boston forward Paul Pierce.


Philadelphia 106 NY KNICKS 94

LA LAKERS 97 Boston 94

CLEVELAND 118 Houston 107

ORLANDO 107 Indiana 94

Milwaukee 105 TORONTO 99

Memphis 94 DENVER 91

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