Lakers forward Pau Gasol received news right before the game that he was not selected for the All-Star Game.
He let the Celtics know how he felt about the snub with 25 points, 14 rebounds and a game-saving block to help beat the Lakers escape Boston with an 88-87 overtime win.
Kobe Bryant scored 27 points and made a handful of tough shots but was generally ineffective down the stretch. He missed a potential game-tying shot at the end of the fourth quarter – which was fortunately tipped in by Gasol – and also struggled in OT, shooting 1-of-5 from the field.
Andrew Bynum had 16 points and 17 rebounds, none bigger than the tough putback of Bryant’s miss that gave the Lakers their final lead.
Bynum got more love than he may have liked from his team, receiving separate kisses from Gasol and coach Mike Brown, who was relieved to see the Lakers finally got back on track after losing six of their last seven on the road.
LA also got back Steve Blake from a rib injury that sidelined him for nearly a month. Blake played 31 minutes to Derek Fisher’s 24 and sank a jumper in OT.
From Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times: “Maybe Pau Gasol should be snubbed by the All-Star team more often. Maybe Mike Brown will be giving out more in-game affection. And maybe there’s still a rivalry here, at least in the eyes of delighted Lakers fans. The Lakers beat the Boston Celtics in overtime, 88-87, outlasting their eternal enemies in a game that was attractive only to the winners Thursday at TD Garden.Neither team cracked 40% shooting and the 90-point plateau remained elusive despite the extra five minutes, but the Lakers (15-11) will take whatever aids their woeful road record, now 4-9. Gasol had 25 points and 14 rebounds after missing out on the All-Star team for the first time since 2008. He made 12 of 20 shots and blocked Ray Allen’s potential game-winner with 0.3 of a second left in overtime. … Andrew Bynum totaled 16 points, 17 rebounds and a peck on the head from his coach. Said Bynum, with a sour face: “That was terrible. It’s too much. I was just being effective on the glass, going hard every single play and trying to get tip-ins or rebounds.”
The Celtics simply could not execute down the stretch, and the Lakers’ length in the frontcourt clearly bothered them as they were outrebounded 55-45 and attempted only five free throws, settling for jumpers while the Lakers went to the stripe 20 times.
Kevin Garnett had a horrid shooting night, going 6-of-23 for 12 points and missing his last nine. Yikes. Paul Pierce, who was chosen for the All-Star Game, wasn’t much better, going 7-of-18 for 18 points.
From Mark Murphy of Boston Herald: ““I was wide open,” Allen said of that last regulation play. “Paul, as he started dribbling off, both of those guys stayed with him. Paul said he didn’t want to throw the ball. He was kind of in a bad position. I thought either me or Kevin had an opportunity for a good shot.” Pierce, who rimmed out a 20-footer under pressure from Metta World Peace at the end of overtime, didn’t have the vision last night. “One of them I didn’t make the pass, the second one I didn’t hit the shot,” he said with a shrug. “I just thought we didn’t get into our sets like we wanted to. I thought we played a little too much random pick and roll basketball. They really blocked a lot of things that we were trying to do. We weren’t able to get to the hole.” The result was one of the most poorly executed games of the season, with everything from the Celtics’ aggression to their work on the glass failing.”
The Celtics had a five-game winning streak snapped. They are still 9-2 in their past 11 games but really only have one quality win in that stretch. They also have played 17 of their 25 games at home.
In TNT’s nightcap, there were no heroics from Kevin Durant this time around. Despite Serge Ibaka’s dominant defensive effort with 10 blocks, the Sacramento Kings valued the ball down the stretch as they rallied to defeat the sloppy Thunder, 106-101.
Making their only national TV appearance of the season, the Kings are 7-4 at home and have won four of five. The Thunder (20-6) dropped behind the Bulls (22-6) in the race for the best record.
From Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee: “The Kings rallied from 18 down at New Orleans on Monday and pulled off a double-digit comeback last week against Portland at Power Balance. But this comeback was different. The Hornets have the worst record in the Western Conference, and Portland has struggled on the road all season. The Thunder has the best record in the Western Conference. ”We just have to keep creeping up out of this little tunnel that we’re in,” Smart said. “I think a night like this showcases we can do something that’s pretty good.” Oklahoma City looked as if it was about to put the Kings away midway through the final period. The Kings trailed 95-87 with 5:56 left in the game after a three-pointer by Daequan Cook. But Sacramento’s Marcus Thornton hit back-to-back three-pointers as part of a 10-2 run to tie the score 97-97 with 2:07 to play. The Kings took a 98-97 lead on a free throw by DeMarcus Cousins with 1:37 to play. Russell Westbrook answered with an 18-foot jumper with 1:19 to go, but the Kings scored seven unanswered points to build enough of a gap to win.”
The Thunder no longer lead the standings, but they do lead the NBA in turnovers – which has coach Scott Brooks more than a little upset.
From John Rohde of The Oklahoman: “The Thunder committed 23 turnovers, which Sacramento transformed into 28 points, which is 18 more points than OKC got off the Kings’ 12 turnovers. ”It’s unbelievable,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks, shaking his head at his team’s gargantuan turnover total that now stands at 441 through 26 games for an average of 17.0 per – easily the worst clip in the NBA. Unlike it frequently has done all season, OKC was unable to overcome its biggest shortcoming against Sacramento. The flawed Thunder failed close this one out, blowing a 95-87 lead in the final five minutes… ”I wouldn’t say it was a shocker,” Thunder veteran forward Nick Collison said of the outcome. “We’ve been getting by (with too many turnovers), but I think if you play long enough you know it’s hard to do that every single night. You’ve got to give Sacramento a lot of credit. They outplayed us tonight.” The setback overshadowed a 33-point effort from point guard Russell Westbrook on the same day he was selected as a reserve for this month’s All Star Game in Orlando. Westbrook’s performance was marred by seven turnovers, including two in the final minute of play.”
This is why folks aren’t entirely sold on OKC as a championship team. If the Thunder cannot figure out how to take better care of the ball, it will certainly catch up and hurt them come playoff time. Westbrook and Durant combine to average an astounding 8.1 turnovers per game.
- The Warriors beat the Nuggets, 109-101, for just their third victory on the road. Stephen Curry, who led the league in free throw percentage a season ago, shot 4-of-7 from the line to drop to 73.5% on the season. No matter. Curry shot 13-of-17 from the field including six 3-pointers, along with seven rebounds, seven assists, one turnover and two blocks to dominate Ty Lawson in their matchup. Curry felt so good that he paid a little tribute to Mark Jackson, much to the dismay of his teammates. The Nuggets are suddenly reeling with a rash of injuries to critical players. They have now lost five straight and currently sitting a half-game above two teams for seventh in the West.
- Kevin McHale does not seem to mind going to his bench, as five Rockets reserves scored in double figures to pull out a 96-89 victory at Phoenix. Starter Kevin Martin played just 13 minutes and has scored in single digits for four consecutive games. Still, the Rockets are 16-11, good for fourth in the West. The Suns had their three-game winning streak snapped despite a fourth straight double-double from Steve Nash, who was selected as an All-Star reserve.