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Friday, February 6, 2009

The rivalry that the NBA desperately needs, continues to get better

It pains me to say it but for the second time this season, the Lakers beat the Celtics when Boston came in with a double-digit win streak.

LA (40-9) came to the TD Banknorth Garden last night for its third game in four nights and escaped with a 110-109 overtime win. It snapped Boston's 12 game win streak, earlier in the year they had won 19 straight before choking at the Forum.

It was surely one of the best regular season games in the NBA and unfortunately, it enabled the Lakers to sweep the season series after they also beat the Celts on Christmas day in Los Angeles.

Boston (41-10) had to a chance to win it at the end of regulation but a sloppy possession ended with Eddie House (16 points) firing up a prayer of a 3-pointer.

At the conclusion of overtime, Ray Allen (22 points) attempted a three that was blocked by Pau Gasol (24 points, 14 rebounds). Allen and the Celtics' bench wanted a foul but there wasn't enough contact to make that call.

Two games after dropping 61 on the Knicks at Madison Square Garden, Kobe Bryant struggled to find his shot but still finished with 26 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. Lamar Odom (one of the NBA's most up and down players) added 20 points and six boards while Derek Fisher scored 13 points.

The Celts got plenty on the offensive side, they just couldn't get any stops when it mattered. Paul Pierce had 21 points, eight rebounds and five assists while Kevin Garnett (in his first game back after missing two with the flu) posted 16 points and 12 rebounds before fouling out on a shaky (at best) call in the fourth.

Rajon Rondo almost had a triple-double with 16 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds. A bright spot was Leon Powe, who had his best performance in a while with 10 points and eight rebounds.

The Lakers led 23-20 after a defensive first quarter. The Celtics started to run in the second quarter which worked well with Andrew Bynum out. Boston outscored LA, 32-28 in the second as the Green took the slim 52-51 halftime lead.

The Celtics continued the strong play with a 29-26 third quarter but the Lakers made enough plays in the fourth (24-20) to send it to overtime.

Odom's two free throws late in overtime sealed it as it put LA up one.

The best thing for the Celtics is that they can quickly forget about this loss since they go to NYC tonight to face the Knicks. In a perfect world, Boston will jump out to a big lead and get their starters some rest in the fourth ahead of Sunday's big showdown with the Spurs.

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