Kobe Bryant’s Dagger Extends Celtics’ Slide to Three Straight

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Kobe Bryant's Dagger Extends Celtics' Slide to Three Straight After turning an early 13-point deficit into an 11-point fourth-quarter lead, the Celtics looked likely to get back into the win column on Sunday. But the Celtics collapsed down the stretch, losing to the Lakers in the final seconds, 90-89.

A night after the Los Angeles Kings extended the Boston Bruins’ losing streak to seven, the Los Angeles Lakers extended the Celtics’ losing streak to three. The Celtics are now just 6-11 since Christmas.

Lakers 90, Celtics 89
TD Garden, Boston, Mass.
Jan. 31, 2010

Live Blog | Box Score | Recap

Headliner: Trailing by one with the game on the line, the Lakers put the ball into Kobe Bryant‘s hands, and the best closer in the game didn’t let down his teammates. Bryant nailed a jump shot with Ray Allen in his face with 7.3 seconds on the clock to give the Lakers a 90-89 lead. Bryant finished the game with 19 points, shooting 8-for-20 from the floor and just 1-for-3 from behind the arc. On a day when he wasn’t at his best, Bryant was still able to rise to the occasion in the final seconds of a close game.

Unsung hero: If not for Bryant’s game-winning shot, Rajon Rondo would have been the focal point of the game. Rondo posted another double-double with 21 points and 12 assists, leading all scorers in the game. It was the fifth double-double in January for Rondo, as the Celtics point guard showed on Sunday why he will be headed to the upcoming All-Star Game in Dallas.

Weak Link: Paul Pierce was forced to take a seat on the bench early on as he picked up two fouls, and the Celtics found themselves trailing by 11 after the first quarter. The C’s were able to get back in the game and eventually take the lead, but missing Pierce for the majority of the first quarter played a role in what turned out to be a one-point game. Pierce was still able to finish with 15 points, but his offensive foul in the final minute of the game led to the turnover that resulted in Kobe’s game-winning shot.

Turning Point: The Celtics led 89-88 with the shot clock and game clock just a second off with 25 seconds left to play in the game. The C’s had a chance to extend their lead to three or put the game away with a 3, but Pierce turned the ball over when he used his left hand to push off on Ron Artest. The Lakers gained possession on the play, leading to Bryant’s impressive shot against the near-perfect defense of Ray Allen.

Up Next: The Celtics head to our nation’s capital on Monday to face the Wizards before returning home for a three-game homestand. The Celtics will host the Heat on Wednesday, the Nets on Friday and the Magic on Sunday. After the three home games, the Celtics travel to New Orleans for their final game before the All-Star break.

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