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It didn’t take long in Thursday night’s game for Ray Allen to put his name into the NBA record book. After missing his first long range attempt, Allen came through on his next two to both tie and pass Reggie Miller for the all-time three point record in NBA history. Allen hit the 2,560th and 2,561st three pointers in his career during the first quarter against the Lakers in Boston. If only the game lasted just two quarters, then Allen and the rest of the Celtics would have had even more to celebrate.
With no Shaquille O’Neal, no Jermaine O’Neal, no Delonte West, no Marquis Daniels, and no Semih Erden, the Celtics found themselves facing a large uphill battle of attrition against their long time rivals from the Pacific coast. They came out of the gate as if nothing was wrong with the team, but in the end, the Lakers came away the victor in a 92-86 win in yet another meeting in the NBA’s most storied rivalry.
The Celtics went into halftime with a 45-43 lead, but had already let a 15-point cushion get away from them. The bleeding never stopped into the second half as Kobe Bryant erupted for 20 second half points and the Celtics lost Nate Robinson to a knee injury by the start of the third quarter. With Ray Allen, Von Wafer, and Kendrick Perkins in foul trouble, it never seemed that the C’s could get into a groove offensively or defensively.
The Celtics were led in scoring by Allen, who had 20 points while a flu-ridden Paul Pierce was able to add 15. Rajon Rondo and Kendrick Perkins each added 12, and Kevin Garnett was able to notch another double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds. Unfortunately, the Celtics bench dwindled to more or less two players in Glen Davis and Von Wafer. They combined for a measly 17 points.
The Lakers got a balanced attack from Bryant, Pau Gasol (20 points, 10 rebounds), and Andrew Bynum (16 points, 9 rebounds) out of their starting five. While the L.A. bench was basically two players as well, they got more contributions from them. Lamar Odom had a double-double off the bench with 12 points and 10 rebounds, and Shannon Brown added 12 points of his own.
One has to wonder if the Celtics just ran out of gas due to all the injuries and foul trouble that set them so far back in the second half. Doc Rivers did not believe that was case Thursday and felt his team never really showed up when they needed to. The Lakers, on the other hand, were playing with something to prove. They have struggled against the elite teams of the NBA this season in compiling a terrible 1-6 record against San Antonio, Boston, Chicago, Miami, and Dallas before Thursday night’s game. They needed some sort of spark and whether it came from the rumors of Carmelo Anthony coming to town or the win against Boston, they got it.
Other than Ray Allen’s mark in history, this is a game the Celtics would like to put away until a potential Finals re-match could happen. Nothing went Boston’s way from the end of the second quarter and on. With Miami coming to town on Sunday looking for revenge on the C’s (who have already beaten them twice this season), the Celtics will either need to get some good news health-wise or hope they can manage better against LeBron and company.
Tags: Andrew Bynum, Celtics, Glen Davis, Kendrick Perkins, Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, Lamar Odom, Los Angeles Lakers, Pau Gasol, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Reggie Miller, Shannon Brown, Von Wafer