Allen powers C’s past Lakers

Ray Allen missed a potential game-winning shot at the final horn

the last time the Boston Celtics played the Los Angeles Lakers

He was determined to make Derek Fisher suffer the same fate

in the rematch.

Allen’s key defensive stop Thursday night secured an 87-86

victory for the Atlantic Division leaders. He also scored 12 of his

24 points in the third quarter and made 10 of his first 11 shots,

helping send the defending NBA champions to their first loss in

five games since Kobe Bryant went down with a sprained left ankle.

“I just tried to be patient and settle in,” Allen said. “Just

allow my body to kind of ease its way into the game and not force

any action. And it just came my way.”

The Lakers had won the previous three meetings with the

Celtics after losing the 2008 finals to them in six games. On Jan.

13, they beat Boston 90-89 on the parquet floor, after Bryant hit a

jumper with 7.3 seconds left to give the Lakers their only lead of

the second half and Allen missed 3-point shot at the other end.

“Ray was huge tonight. I think we should threaten to trade

him all the time and then pull him back,” coach Doc Rivers said.

“He was phenomenal. That stretch in the third quarter won the game

for us, in my opinion.”

Kendrick Perkins had 13 points and 14 rebounds, Kevin Garnett

had 13 points and eight boards and Rajon Rondo added 14 points and

11 assists for the Celtics, who were busy before gametime. They

acquired guard Nate Robinson and Marcus Landry from the New York

Knicks in exchange for Eddie House, J.R. Giddens, Bill Walker and a

future conditional second-round pick.

Pau Gasol scored 22 points, and Lamar Odom had 13 points and

14 rebounds for the Lakers – who missed nine of 25 free throws.

Bryant, the league’s fourth-leading scorer, remained in the

trainer’s room getting treatment on his sprained left ankle while

his teammates rallied from a nine-point deficit in the fourth

quarter to take a four-point lead.

“Our defense gave us an opportunity to win, but we couldn’t

get it done,” coach Phil Jackson said after the Lakers’ fifth home

loss. “We couldn’t find a way to score in the last few minutes. I

think we had some pretty good shots. We just couldn’t convert.”

But the Celtics, who came in allowing a league-low 93.7

points per game, held the Lakers to one field goal over the final

7:14 to record their second straight win after the All-Star break.

The Lakers’ point total was their lowest against the Celtics since

Feb. 15, 1991, when they lost 98-85 at the Forum.

Los Angeles went 4 minutes, 48 seconds without a basket until

Odom’s layup with 2:26 to play. Garnett missed a 21-footer with 51

seconds left, but the Lakers lost possession on a turnover by

Gasol. The Lakers got the ball back and Odom missed a driving layup

with 2.2 seconds to go.

The groans from the sellout crowd turned to audible sighs of

relief when everyone realized the Lakers had called a time out just

before Odom made his move to the basket. But the ensuing inbounds

pass from Ron Artest to Fisher resulted in a missed 21-footer by

the 14-year veteran with Allen’s hand in his face.

“Give Boston credit. They’re one of the better defensive

teams,” Jackson said. “Fish broke off his cut. He was supposed to

open the floor up, and we were supposed to have an option there. It

didn’t work.”

The Celtics were leading 66-55 when Garnett picked up his

fourth foul and went to the bench with 8:27 left in the third

quarter. He was replaced by Rasheed Wallace, who received a

technical foul from referee Bob Delaney with 3:10 left in the

period for shoving Gasol as the two power forwards jockeyed for

position.

Garnett didn’t return to the floor until 7:53 remained. By

then, the Lakers were eight points into a 13-0 run triggered by two

layups by Sasha Vujacic and capped by Andrew Bynum’s 20-footer. The

basket gave Los Angeles an 84-80 lead with 7:14 to play, but

Perkins’ layup put Boston back in front to stay with 4:24

remaining.

“We really put some plays together and created some

intensity,” Gasol said. “We finished plays, got some stops and some

defensive rebounds and gave ourselves a chance. We fought and

competed. It was a one-point game. We were so close.”

NOTES: Wallace’s technical foul was his 13th this season.

Three more will get him an automatic one-game suspension. The NBA

recently rescinded two technical fouls he already had been

assessed. … The last time the Lakers hosted Boston, on Christmas

Day 2008, they snapped the Celtics’ franchise-record 19-game

winning streak and gave Jackson his 1,000th victory as an NBA head

coach. … Allen ended a three-game stretch for the Celtics in

which no player scored more than 17 points. … Garnett needs 16

rebounds to become the 20th player in NBA history with at least

20,000 … Artest “posterized” Wallace with a thunderous dunk that

reduced Boston’s lead to 41-36 with 6:57 left in the half. … The

Celtics are 3-0 in games decided by one point, and the Lakers are

5-2.