LOS ANGELES - Perhaps now the Lakers can put the anguish of losing the NBA Finals to Boston and the embarrassment over the way the series ended behind them.
Kobe Bryant had 27 points, nine rebounds and five assists, Pau Gasol scored seven of his 20 points in the final 3 minutes, and the Lakers beat Boston 92-83 yesterday, ending the Celtics' franchise-record 19-game winning streak.
The game was the first between the teams since the Celtics romped to a 131-92 victory in Game 6 last June to win their first championship in 22 years and league-best 17th title. The Lakers blew a 24-point second-quarter lead in Game 4 at Staples Center to fall behind 3-1, a deficit that's never been overcome in the finals.
"We were pretty physical," Gasol said. "We were able to contain them, keep our poise and finish the game off. I had to make sure I took it to them, not settle for easy jumpers.
"It shows we can beat anybody. Hopefully, we'll build on it."
The victory was the 1,000th for Phil Jackson, enabling him to become the sixth NBA coach to reach that milestone. The 63-year-old Jackson has a career record of 1,000-423 in 17-plus seasons as coach of the Chicago Bulls and Lakers. He became the fastest to win 1,000 games, surpassing Pat Riley, who did it in 1,434 games.
"It's amazing," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "I mean, he's one of the greatest coaches of all time. I can guarantee you that I won't win a thousand games bercause I won't be around that long."
The Celtics entered with a 27-2 record the fastest start by a two-loss team in NBA history. And they were in pretty good shape when Kevin Garnett put them ahead 81-79 with 3 minutes, 57 seconds remaining, but the Lakers went on a 13-2 run to finish the game.
Lamar Odom had 10 points and seven rebounds, and Sasha Vujacic also scored 10 for the Lakers (24-5), who won their 12th straight game at home where they're 15-1 this season. Andrew Bynum, who missed most of last season and the playoffs with an injured knee, had nine points and seven rebounds.
Garnett shot 11-of-14 in leading the Celts (27-3) with 22 points, and he also had nine rebounds. Paul Pierce added 20 points and 10 rebounds, but didn't score in the fourth quarter, while Ray Allen scored 14 and Rajon Rondo had 12 assists for Boston.
A 15-foot jumper by Gasol with 2:48 left snapped an 81-81 tie and put the Lakers ahead for good. Allen's three-pointer failed, and Gasol scored from close range off an assist from Bryant with 2 minutes left, putting Los Angeles up by four.
Garnett answered with a jumper to draw the Celtics within two, but Gasol's three-point play with 1:28 left put the Lakers on top 88-83. Gasol then blocked a three-pointer by Allen, setting up Trevor Ariza for a dunk that gave Los Angeles a seven-point lead with 1:12 to go.
Boston's Eddie House made his only basket with 8:09 remaining to tie it at 75. Neither team led by more than two points after that until the Lakers took command down the stretch.
The game marked the first time in NBA history that two teams met with so few losses (seven) this late in the season. *