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Final: Lakers 90, Celtics 89

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff  January 31, 2010 06:08 PM

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FINAL, Lakers 90, Celtics 89: Kobe Bryant hit the winner over Ray Allen with 7.3 seconds left, and Allen missed a 3-pointer that would have won the game as time expired. Bryant led the Lakers with 19 points. Rajon Rondo paced the Celtics with 21 points and 12 assists.

2:23 4th quarter, Celtics 86-84: So much for the starters taking the lead and running away with a win. This one's coming down to the wire. The Celtics are using Pierce on Bryant, while the Lakers are taking their slack-off-Rondo strategy to new extremes. Rondo turned it over on the last play -- tried to pass, no one was open, and traveled.

5:50 4th quarter, Celtics 84-78: The starters (minus Perkins, plus Wallace) are back in for the Celtics. Kobe Bryant has played 39 minutes. Does he ever rest? Does he ever sleep? Does he stay up all night making puppets in his likeness?

8:11 4th quarter, Celtics 81-74: Could it be, a 3-pointer by Eddie House that isn't overturned and called a 2? Regardless, it's a big shot. House needed it, as did his team. If the bench can hold the lead, Rondo and Co. should be able to put this one away.

END 3d quarter, Celtics 73-66: The Celtics increased their lead, albeit not by much, in the third quarter, a good sign heading into the fourth. The next 4-5 minutes, with Rajon Rondo, Kevin Garnett, and Kendrick Perkins on the bench, will be crucial.

3:33 3d quarter, Celtics 67-62: Kevin Garnett nimbly finished off a fast break to put the Celtics up 5 and force a Lakers timeout. Garnett has 6 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 turnovers thus far. He hasn't been at his best, but the Celtics haven't yet needed it.

8:03 3d quarter, Celtics 58-56: Ron Artest asserting himself with a strong drive past Paul Pierce. Artest has only 3 points, and the Lakers are minus-9 with him on the floor. Can't imagine it stays that way.

Halftime, Celtics 52-47: Well, you know ABC's happy, because if you tune away from this one in the second half you're a dope. The game is interesting because the presence of one player, Kendrick Perkins, throws Los Angeles completely out of its offense, but his absence allows the Laker big men to thrive. The game is interesting because Tony Allen must play out of his mind for the Celtics to win (he has). And the game is interesting because you know Kobe Bryant (9 points) isn't finished.

3:23 2d quarter, Celtics 46-40: It's a game now, which should make for a fun afternoon. Kudos to Doc Rivers for sticking with what's working (Rondo, Tony Allen, Pierce, Garnett, Perkins).

4:57 2d quarter, Tied at 40: The future core of this team, Rajon Rondo and Kendrick Perkins, are making everything happen for the Celtics. Rondo has 10 points and 7 assists already. His last dish found Perkins, who slammed home a dunk to tie the score. The speed of Rondo and the toughness of Perkins are two pieces the Lakers can't match.

6:56 2d quarter, Lakers 40-36: Tony Allen knocks down a long jumper. He's got 12 points. Doc Rivers cannot take him off the floor right now.

9:26 2d quarter, Lakers 34-29: Rajon Rondo has steadied the reserves. Along with Tony Allen, Rondo's bringing the Celtics back. Now if only House, Wallace, and or Davis could do anything to help the cause.

END 1st quarter, Lakers 30-19: Apologies for the delayed updates. Terrible internet access here at the Garden. Terrible foul trouble for the Celtics. They need Pierce and Perkins on the floor, and soon. LA all over Boston's bench.

1:43 1st quarter, Lakers 26-14: The Lakers are killing the Celtics with Pierce, Rondo, and Perkins off the floor. The absence of Perkins may be felt the most. Andrew Bynum has 10 points. Kevin Garnett isn't providing any kind of interior defense in his absence.

5:54 1st quarter, Lakers 13-10: It's foul city. Pierce, Artest, and Perkins each with two. Who guards Kobe Bryant without Pierce on the floor? The best option is Tony Allen, but that is a big task for TA, his biggest in the last couple of seasons.

8:57 1st quarter, Lakers 5-4: Paul Pierce picks up his second personal foul. Replaced by Tony Allen. As we expected, Kobe Bryant starts out guarding Rajon Rondo.

Pregame: Ready to go. Rene Rancourt with the national anthem, bringing a little Bruins luck to the Celtics. Wait, what?

You can also follow along on Twitter: @GlobeGaryDzen, @GlobeCeltics.

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