LOS ANGELES - The Boston Celtics evened the NBA Finals at one game apiece with Ray Allen shredding the Lakers from the three-point line and Rajon Rondo doing everything else from everywhere else.
Allen scored 27 of his 32 points in the first half with a record-setting three-point shooting display, Rondo completed a triple-double down the stretch, and the Celtics handed the Lakers their first home loss of the postseason, 103-94 last night in Game 2.
Allen hit a Finals-record eight three-pointers in a dazzling effort for the Celtics, including seven before halftime. Rondo then took charge after Allen cooled down, racking up 19 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists in his fifth playoff triple-double.
"An entire team effort," Rondo said. "Ray carried us through the first half. Second half, we got in a little slump but we stuck with it, stayed together and got a victory."
"[Rondo] just did a lot of things, the blocked shots, the steals," Boston coach Doc Rivers said. "He's our quarterback, and he does a lot of stuff for us. He was special tonight."
Game 3 is tomorrow night in Boston.
Kobe Bryant scored 21 points while battling more foul trouble for the Lakers, who couldn't catch up to Boston's dynamic guards in Los Angeles' first home playoff loss since last season's Western Conference final. Pau Gasol had 25 points and eight rebounds for the Lakers, and Andrew Bynum added 21 points and six rebounds.
"It's a disappointing loss for our ballclub, but they did a good job," Gasol said. "They really executed and had a good game plan. We definitely need to make sure we hustle a little more. They got to the ball a lot of times quicker than we did, second-chance opportunities, loose balls. They were pursuing the ball with a little more desire."
The teams traded the lead throughout the last period, but Rondo's heady layup put the Celtics ahead for good with 3 minutes, 21 seconds to play. The play was vintage Rondo, scooting in to collect a shot blocked by Gasol and scoring before Gasol could react.
Kevin Garnett then hit a jumper, and after another possession of stifling defense, Rondo hit another jumper, celebrating with a swing of his arm in the mostly silent Staples Center.
Rondo has grown into possibly the Celtics' biggest offensive threat in the playoffs, but his 10-point fourth quarter looms among his largest achievements.
After the Lakers' whistle-plagued, 102-89 victory in the opener, both teams again struggled under the weight of foul trouble. Garnett and Bryant both spent extra time on the bench, with Bryant picking up his fifth foul early in the fourth.
Garnett had just six points, and Paul Pierce never got going, scoring 10 on 2-for-11 shooting. The Celtics also struggled against the Lakers' low-post game. But with Allen and Rondo playing spectacular basketball, none of their flaws mattered much.
Allen had just 12 points on 3-for-8 shooting in the opener, never finding his rhythm after early foul trouble. He didn't even hit a three-pointer, but the sharpshooting veteran was just saving it up.
With his fundamentally flawless jumper snapping off his wrists in perfect form, Allen tied the Finals record for a full game with seven three-pointers in the first half. That textbook shot didn't even miss until his eighth try rimmed out in the waning moments of the half.
"I didn't think it was easy, getting the threes up in the air," Allen said. "You look up and everybody is probably thinking, 'How did this guy get open?' But there's so much going on there, big screens, misdirection plays. I thought they did everything they could to keep me from shooting threes, [but we] worked tirelessly."
With his eighth three midway through the third quarter, Allen broke the record for a full Finals game he shared with Kenny Smith and Scottie Pippen.
The Celtics essentially were a two-man show all night. Rondo sliced up the Los Angeles defense with slick drives after playing a tentative opener, while Allen was relentless from the perimeter, hitting his fourth, fifth and sixth three-pointers in a 2-minute span midway through the second quarter.