Lakers 88, Celtics 87: Celtics Out Fail Lakers Down The Stretch

In what was one of the uglier games you'll see all season, the Los Angeles Lakers got a much needed road win, by the final score of 88-87 in overtime. They achieved victory by sucking slightly less down the stretch. Kobe Bryant was at his brilliant worst, taking terrible shots throughout the 4th quarter and overtime, hitting just enough impossible looks to keep his strong 1st half looking decent, ending the game with 27 points on 11-24 shooting, and Pau Gasol had one of his best games of the season, possibly in response to being left off the All-Star team, going for 25 and 14 boards, and a key block of Ray Allen on the Celtics final possession of overtime. Andrew Bynum struggled with the Celtics physical defense, but made a few very big plays, including an and one buzzer beating offensive rebound just before the half. Off the bench, Matt Barnes provided great energy, Troy Murphy somehow found ways to contribute while he missed nearly every open shot he took, and Steve Blake played big minutes in his return from injury due to Derek Fisher being Derek Fisher.

The Lakers survived because the Celtics couldn't take advantage of another weak offensive output. Ray Allen hit some shots early, and one big three late, but Paul Pierce could only manage 18 points on 18 shots, and Kevin Garnett was repeatedly allowed to miss shots from 20 feet to allow the Lakers to claw their way back into the game and eventually seal the victory. Garnett missed his last 10 shots and ended up 6-23 on the night. It's a victory the Lakers will be happy to take, but not one that provides any level of confidence that a bunch more victories are on the way.

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