Boston (22-33) at Los Angeles (28-27)

Fair Currently: Los Angeles, CA
Temp: 89° F
  • Game info: 7:30 pm EST Sun Feb 26, 2006
  • TV: ESPN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Two of the top scorers in the NBA face off for the first time this season when Paul Pierce and the Boston Celtics visit Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers.

Bryant leads the league in scoring with 35.0 points per game and Pierce is sixth with 26.6 a contest, but that hasn’t translated into much success for either of their teams this season.

Los Angeles has a slim lead over the Utah Jazz for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, while Boston sits in 10th place in the East.

Bryant’s 39 points weren’t enough on Friday as the Lakers lost 102-93 to the Los Angeles Clippers. He scored only 14 of those points after halftime, and the Lakers shot 36.4 percent from the field.

“We didn’t play very well and we couldn’t make shots,” Bryant said. “We didn’t execute.”

Chris Mihm was the only other Laker in double figures with 11 points, and Lamar Odom had just eight after scoring 20 and 19 in his last two games.

“We wanted to get somebody else in this ballgame to score,” Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. “We kind of encouraged Lamar at halftime to get a rhythm out there and get his offense going.”

Pierce got his offense going on Friday night by scoring 37 points in Boston’s 102-96 win at Portland. He’s scored at least 30 points in seven of his last eight games, and is averaging 32.8 in his last 10 contests.

“He’s been great,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. “He’s been in a zone on the floor, off the floor with teammates. He’s just been in a zone all the way around.”

Wally Szczerbiak had 25 points and Ryan Gomes added 13 points and a season-high 17 rebounds as Boston improved to 2-1 on its four-game trip. The Celtics are just 6-21 away from home this season.

“I think we’re finally coming into our own on the road,” Pierce said. “Hopefully we can make this a good road trip and get the next one.”

Boston, though, has lost its last three road games against the Lakers and has dropped eight of 12 in the series since the 1999-2000 season.

Bryant has averaged just 20.0 points in 13 games against Boston while Los Angeles native Pierce has posted 28.5 in 11 contests against the Lakers.

These teams meet again in Boston on March 20.

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