- The Washington Times - Friday, December 26, 2008

LOS ANGELES | The six-month wait is over. The Los Angeles Lakers can put the anguish of losing the NBA Finals to the Boston Celtics 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 three minutes and the Lakers used a strong finish to beat Boston 92-83 on Thursday, snapping 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 of the finals in June to win their first championship in 22 years and league-high 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.

The teams have been archrivals since the 1960s, meeting 11 times in the finals, with the Celtics going 9-2.

“We’ve been waiting for that opportunity for a long time, and we won,” said Lakers guard Sasha Vujacic, who scored 10 points. “I don’t like them at all. A lot of people called us softies or whatever. It doesn’t matter at all. We know what we can do.

“Last year, they won the championship. This year, it’s our year. We want to take it all the way.”

The victory was the 1,000th for Los Angeles’ 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. I mean, he’s one of the greatest coaches of all time,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. “I can guarantee you that I won’t win 1,000 games because I won’t be around that long. It’s just an amazing number. When you throw up 1,000 wins, that says a lot.”

The Celtics entered with a 27-2 record - the fastest start by a two-loss team. They were in pretty good shape when Kevin Garnett dunked off a feed from Rajon Rondo to put them ahead 81-79 with 3:57 remaining. But the Lakers went on a 13-2 run to finish the game.

“Give them all the credit,” said Boston’s Paul Pierce, who had 20 points and 10 rebounds but was scoreless in the fourth quarter. “We just have to play better down the stretch.”

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide