LOS ANGELES -- On a night that featured a pregame ceremony to honor recently deceased team owner Jerry Buss, the Los Angeles Lakers brought back a little Showtime with a 113-99 win over the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night at Staples Center.
Buss, who presided over the Lakers since 1980 and led the team to 10 championships, including three victories over Boston in the NBA Finals, received a massive ovation from the adoring home crown. The Celtics, as expected, were greeted with boos.
In a season full of disappointment for the Lakers, the game was a bit reminiscent of brighter days in the rivalry, at least in the Los Angeles box score.
The Lakers had seven players score in double figures, including all five starters, as they jumped on the Celtics early.
Los Angeles led by as much as 14 in the first half, claimed a nine-point halftime lead and stretched the advantage to as much as 19 in the third quarter.
Dwight Howard led the way with 24 points and 12 rebounds, and Kobe Bryant -- who addressed the crowd before the game with his thoughts about Buss -- finished with 16 points and seven assists. Steve Nash had 14 points and seven assists, passing Magic Johnson for fourth on the all-time assists list. Earl Clark added 14 points and 16 rebounds for the Lakers.
Paul Pierce had 26 points, five assists and four rebounds for Boston, and Courtney Lee added 20 points. Jeff Green had 15 points and seven rebounds off the bench for the Celtics, who were out-rebounded 49-34.
NOTES: Boston remains without the services of Rajon Rondo (torn ACL), Leandro Barbosa (torn ACL) and Jared Sullinger (lumbar disk surgery). ... Los Angeles center Pau Gasol remains out with a torn plantar fascia in his right foot. Jordan Hill (left hip surgery) is also out for the Lakers. ... Boston trounced Los Angeles in the Lakers' first game after Gasol's injury, a 116-95 walloping on Feb. 7 at Boston's TD Garden. The Celtics, who led by as many as 32 points in the big win, had six players in double figures while Bryant was the lone Laker in double digits with 27 points. ... Los Angeles swept the season series last year, 2-0. ... After surpassing Johnson for fourth place on the all-time assists list, Nash now is fewer than 200 behind No. 3, current Golden State coach Mark Jackson. ... Garnett, meanwhile, is closing in on former Lakers great Jerry West for 15th on the all-time scoring list. He trails West by fewer than 140 points.