Monday , Mar , 20 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Kobe fires away for 43 as Lakers top Celtics

Boston, MA (Sports Network) – Kobe Bryant scored 43 points to lead the Los
Angeles Lakers to a wire-to-wire win over the Boston Celtics, 105-97, at TD
Banknorth Garden.

Bryant hit 18-of-39 shots from the floor and scored 16 points in the fourth
quarter, as the Lakers ended a two-game slide and won for just the second time
in six outings.

Lamar Odom had 17 points and Smush Parker scored 14 for Los Angeles, which
avenged a home loss to the Celtics earlier this season.

Paul Pierce had 26 points and nine boards, but scored just two points in the
fourth quarter for Boston, which lost for the fourth time in five outings.
Tony Allen added 18 points and Wally Szczerbiak had 15 for the Celtics, who
have dropped five of seven.

Trailing by 13 points, 93-80, after Luke Walton drained a three-pointer nearly
four minutes into the fourth quarter, the Celtics began to make it
interesting.

Boston answered with a 12-4 run to get within 97-92 following a Szczerbiak
jumper with under three minutes to play. That, however, was as close as the
Celtics could get.

Bryant’s basket on the Lakers’ ensuing possession increased the lead to seven
points. Going back to the 6:35 mark, Bryant ended up scoring the final 12
points of the game for Los Angeles.

“I’m just doing what I need to,” said Bryant. “When the game’s on the line,
they put the ball in my hands, and we worked on getting in the position where
I could deliver.”

Bryant’s 39 shots in the game nearly quadrupled the Lakers’ next leading
shooter, Parker, who attempted 11 shots. For the game, LA ended 43-of-90 from
the floor.

“I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do,” said Bryant. “I don’t really care
whether it’s 50 shots, 60 shots or five shots. I’ve got to do what I have to
do to help us win.”

The Lakers ran out to a 32-26 lead after one quarter and continued to add to
their lead in the second. LA scored the first seven points of the quarter,
capped by a Walton basket for a 39-26 cushion.

Boston later drew within 42-35 midway though the frame, but the Lakers ended
the half by scoring 14 of the final 19 points to carry a 56-40 lead into the
break. An Odom bucket with under a minute to play gave LA a comfortable 56-37
lead before Boston scored the last three points of the quarter.

Parker’s three-pointer in the early stages of the third extended the Lakers’
lead to 19 points, 59-40.

Boston, though, didn’t go away and managed to cut the deficit to just eight
points going into the fourth, 82-74.

“That was ugly to watch on our part,” said Boston head coach Doc Rivers. “I
just thought we never had any rhythm. It started out on the first pass of the
game when we threw it backcourt. I think maybe the first three or four
possessions were turnovers and from there we never got any rhythm.”

Game Notes

Pierce is day-to-day with a mild right ankle sprain suffered early in the
first quarter when he drove to basket and stepped on Parker’s left foot…The
Lakers are a half-game ahead of Sacramento for seventh place in the
Western Conference…Boston hit 34-of-80 shots from the field and 24-of-30
from the free throw line. The club, however, hit only 5-of-21 threes…The
Lakers went to the free throw line just 16 times in the game, hitting 12.
Bryant ended 7-of-10 from the stripe…LA also hit 7-of-19 three-pointers…LA
improved to 17-21 on the road this season…Boston fell to 19-15 at home…The
Celtics beat the Lakers, 112-111 on February 26 at the Staples Center…Bryant
also had five rebounds and five steals.

BOS LAL