Lakers take 2-1 series lead
Bryant had 25 points after three but did not score for the first 10 minutes of the fourth quarter. That’s when Fisher took over, adding four key baskets after Boston winnowed a 17-point first-half lead to one point.
The Lakers regained home-court advantage they had lost when Boston took Game 2 in Los Angeles.
Game 4 is Thursday night in Boston.
Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum had 10 rebounds apiece for Los Angeles.
Kevin Garnett, who had just six points in Boston’s victory Sunday, had 25 in Game 3. But Ray Allen, who had 32 points in Game 2, missed all 13 field goal attempts – one shy of the NBA finals futility record.
The Celtics had high hopes after splitting the opening two games in Los Angeles, but the “Beat L.A.!” chants at the TD Garden couldn’t help them overcome poor shooting.
The Lakers led by as many as 17 points in the first half, but Boston cut the deficit to four late in the third quarter and then made it 68-67 early in the fourth on consecutive drives by Glen “Big Baby” Davis and Rajon Rondo. With a chance to take the lead, Allen was called for an offensive foul away from the ball.
Fisher drove for a layup at the other end that made it a three-point game then scored four of the Lakers’ next five baskets to give them a five-point lead with about 4 1/2 minutes left.
“We just had to be poised and understand they’re going to make a run, and we did that,” Bryant said. “They made a push but they never fully got control of the game. We made big shots when we needed it.”
Bryant said his teammate was “just Derek being Derek. He makes big plays all the time. He never ceases to amaze me.”
Allen and Paul Pierce combined to go 1 for 13 from the field as Boston went nearly 6 minutes without a field goal in the first half. Pierce finished with 15 points, including 3 for 4 from 3-point range, but Allen never snapped out of it.
He missed all eight three-pointers, all five two-pointers and got to the line just twice. He was spared of matching the worst shooting performance in NBA finals history when Garnett was called for an offensive foul away from the ball in the final minute while Allen clanged another shot off the rim.
Baltimore’s Chip Reiser missed all 14 shots in a 1948 finals game against Philadelphia, and Dennis Johnson was 0 for 14 for Seattle against Washington in 1978.
Garnett, who scored only six points in 24 foul-plagued minutes in Game 2, had that many in the first 75 seconds of Game 3. Rondo had Boston’s next three baskets, and the Celtics were quickly up 12-5.
But the Lakers ran off eight straight points to go ahead, scoring 32 of the next 40 points to open a 37-20 lead with 9:10 left in the half.
Rondo, who had a triple-double in Game 3, finished with 11 points, eight assists and three rebounds.