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Bryant, Lakers make run to beat Celtics

Mar 11, 2012 - 11:59 PM Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - Kobe Bryant scored 26 points, including the go-ahead jumper with 41.7 seconds remaining, and the Los Angeles Lakers downed the Boston Celtics, 97-94, on Sunday.

Bryant tallied 10 points in the final frame for Los Angeles, which closed the game on an 8-0 run.

Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo both missed potential game-tying three-pointers in the final 15 seconds.

Andrew Bynum finished with 20 points and 14 rebounds while Pau Gasol added 13 points, 13 boards and five assists for the Lakers, who have won nine straight games at Staples Center.

Rajon Rondo had 24 points and 10 assists for the Celtics, who had won six of seven coming in.

"We had a lead and gave it up at the end. They made shots and we didn't, we need to be tougher. I thought Kobe made big shots at the end and turned the game," Celtics head coach Doc Rivers said.

Two Rondo free throws, followed by Ray Allen's three-pointer gave Boston its largest lead of five, 94-89, with 2:41 remaining.

Bryant started the 8-0 spurt with a short fadeaway jumper and then lobbed to Bynum for a layup on Los Angeles' ensuing possession to pull the hosts within a point with 1:17 left.

After Allen missed a trey at the other end, Bryant gave the Lakers a 95-94 lead with a jumper from the left wing.

Bynum's hook in the paint with 15.5 to go made it a 97-94 game.

Following a timeout, the Celtics were looking to get Allen the ball for a three-point attemt, but he was unable to spring free for an open shot.

Pierce's long three-point attempt from the top of the arc was blocked by Bryant. The loose ball came to Kevin Garnett and he found Rondo on the right wing, but his shot clanked off the front of the rim.

"I stayed right with Ray, we knew he was going to shoot. It was great we controlled the game at the end," Gasol said.

The Lakers took a 24-14 advantage after one, and the lead swelled to 15, 37-22, after Andrew Goudelock buried a triple with 7:35 to play in the second stanza.

But the Celtics closed the opening half on a 10-3 run as Rondo's trey with 1.2 left brought Boston within 44-42 entering the break. Boston shot just 39.5 percent in the half, but scored 12 points off 12 Los Angeles turnovers.

Metta World Peace scored 10 of his 14 points in the third as the Lakers took a 72-70 advantage into the final quarter.

Game Notes

The Lakers outrebounded the Celtics 42-34...Los Angeles recorded 42 points in the paint...Los Angeles is 18-1 at home this season...Boston finished shooting 47 percent from the floor while the Lakers were 50.7 percent from the field...Allen had 17 points. Garnett tallied 14 and Pierce finished with 13.