Allen, Rondo help Celtics even series
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 Los Angeles Lakers their first home loss of the postseason, 103-94, Sunday 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.”
Game 3 is Tuesday 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 finals.
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 clubs traded the lead throughout the fourth quarter, but Rondo’s heady layup put the Celtics ahead for good with 3:21 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 these playoffs. Although it wasn’t as gaudy as his 29-point, 18-rebound, 13-assist, monstrous Game 4 in the second round against Cleveland, his 10-point fourth quarter against the Lakers looms among his largest achievements—particularly if Boston gets rolling toward its 18th championship during three straight games at home over the next week.
“He 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.”
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.