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Celtics Fall Short Against Lakers: Fan Reaction
On March 11, the Boston Celtics kicked off their eight-game road trip with a tough 97-94 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. The Celtics rebounded from an ugly start and held a five-point lead in the last three minutes of the game, but they failed to execute down the stretch. Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol each recorded double-doubles while Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 26 points in the win. Rajon Rondo scored 24 points and dished out ten assists, but didn't get enough help from his teammates in the final minutes.
The Celtics started slowly and the Lakers attacked the basket for the game's first seven points. Kevin Garnett buried back-to-back jumpers to put the Celtics on track. A Mickael Pietrus three brought the game back to a 12-12 tie, but the Lakers made another late quarter push. Kobe Bryant capped a 12-0 Lakers' run to build a 12-point lead in the last minute of the quarter. Los Angeles led 24-14 through one.
The Celtics had no answer for Andrew Bynum and he began to dominate early in the second quarter. With six minutes left in the half, Bynum was just two rebounds away from a double-double; he led the charge as the Lakers pushed their lead to 15 at 37-22. Once Bynum took a seat, the Celtics went on their own run; they outscored the Lakers 20-7 over the last six minutes of the second quarter. Rondo beat the end of quarter buzzer with a three and Boston cut a 15-point deficit down to just two, 44-42.
Boston carried its second quarter run into the third and quickly took a lead for the first time in the game. The Celtics' defense generated transition offense to score eight straight points and take a 50-47 lead. The Lakers marched to the free throw line and pushed back ahead midway through the third quarter. The two teams went back and forth all quarter and it ended with the Lakers leading by two, 72-70.
Neither team led by more than four in the first nine minutes of the fourth quarter. Ray Allen drained a three with 2:41 remaining to match the Celtics' biggest lead at 94-89. Bryant got a friendly bounce on a jumper and Bynum sank a hook shot to cap an 8-0 run to give a three-point the lead back to Los Angeles with 15.5 seconds left. The Celtics ran a play for Allen on their final possession, but he was double-teamed and the play broke down. Pierce's wild attempt was blocked, Rondo missed a desperation three at the buzzer and the Lakers eked out the win.
Rondo, Allen and Pierce each played 38-plus minutes while Garnett checked in with 35. To play them for that many minutes and come up short is a tough way to start a long road trip. The Celtics at least don't have to travel as they remain in town to face the Los Angeles Clippers tomorrow, March 12.
Boston at LA Lakers, Sunday, March 11, 2012, NBA—Yahoo! Sports
William Menna is a native New Englander and longtime Boston sports fan.
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