You can guess who came out on the positive end of that equation.
The Celtics held off a 13-0 fourth-quarter run by the Lakers and avenged a 90-89 loss on Jan. 31 with a solid 87-86 road win.
The same day the C's picked up Nate Robinson and Marcus Landry in exchange for Eddie House, J.R. Giddens and Bill Walker, Boston came out of the gates strong at the Staples Center and headed into halftime with a five-point lead before building it to 10 in the third behind a spirited effort from Ray Allen. The veteran led all scorers with 24 points, while Rajon Rondo notched 14 points, 11 assists and five rebounds. Center Kendrick Perkins posted 13 points and 14 big rebounds against L.A.'s versatile front line for his first double-double in a month.
The Lakers made things interesting in the final quarter, taking a lead with eight minutes remaining but failing to convert on several key possessions in the last two minutes of the game. Derek Fisher's missed desperation jumper with two seconds left sealed the win for Boston.
Pau Gasol's 22 points led the Lakers, who shot 40.2 percent from the floor and just 25.0 percent from 3-point range. Ron Artest chipped in 15 points and eight rebounds for L.A.
Celtics 87, Lakers 86
Staples Center, Los Angeles, Calif.
Feb. 18, 2010
Headliner: Maybe the passing of the NBA trade deadline was all Ray Allen needed to take the pressure off. The veteran, whose name constantly surfaced in trade rumors leading up to Thursday, paced the Celtics with 24 points on 10-for-15 shooting and committed just one turnover in 36 minutes of action.
Rajon Rondo finished with yet another double-double of 14 points and 11 assists with five steals and five rebounds. Rondo also tallied six of Boston's first eight points, allowing the C's to race out to an early 11-2 lead, and he tallied four assists in the first 3 1/2 minutes of the second half.
Unsung Hero: Without Kobe Bryant around to shoulder the load of the scoring, Ron Artest stepped up for the Lakers, finishing with 15 points, eight rebounds and three assists with a steal and a block. He shot 6-for-14 from the floor and was a perfect 2-for-2 from the line. In his first 16 minutes of action, Artest notched eight points and five rebounds.
Also hot for the Lakers was Pau Gasol, who tallied a team-high 22 points and three blocks while going 8-for-8 from the line.
Scrub: Instead of getting sloppy in the third quarter, the Celtics did it in the second, allowing the Lakers to take their first lead of the game on an Artest dunk less than two minutes into the frame. How? Turnovers. The C's committed eight in the first half, leading to 12 points for L.A., and that's how Boston headed into the intermission with a slim five-point lead despite the fact that it shot 56.4 percent from the floor to the Lakers' 42.9 percent.
As the illustrious Charles Barkley pointed out, turnovers allowed the Lakers to stay in a game they had no business staying in.
Boston's bench didn't help matters, either, combining for just 12 points on a night when it desperately needed to make a strong showing in the absence of Eddie House. The bench's struggles at the end of the first quarter led to a 7-0 run by the Lakers and forced Doc Rivers to rush his starters back into the game or else risk letting L.A. take over, and the same shortcomings led to L.A.'s late lead in the fourth. Rasheed Wallace finished 2-of-11 from the floor and, in a shocking development, received his league-leading 13th technical foul.
Key Moment: For the first time since midway through the second half, the Lakers tied the game at 80 on a Lamar Odom 3-pointer with just over eight minutes remaining in the fourth quarter — and they did it with Marquis Daniels, Rasheed Wallace and Glen Davis on the floor for the C's. Andrew Bynum's dunk made it 84-80 Lakers with 7:20 left, capping a 13-0 run for the Lakers.
Then, Doc Rivers resorted to the tactic that worked for him in the first half: He put his starters back on the floor. The C's ended the offensive drought with a Kendrick Perkins layup and took over the lead with a Perk put-back dunk with just over four minutes remaining. Paul Pierce's two missed free throws at 3:30 created a golden opportunity for L.A., but the Lakers couldn't capitalize and Pierce made up for the miscue with a key screen on a Rondo lay-in a minute later.
Kevin Garnett then notched two make-or-break defensive rebounds in the final two minutes to preserve the one-point Celtics lead.
Outlook: Hopefully, by the time the Celtics take on Portland on Friday evening, Nate Robinson will be around to help out. Boston plays its third game in four days at the Trail Blazers on Friday at 10:30 ET, so it will need all the help off the bench it can get.
The Blazers, meanwhile, should be rested, as they last took the court on Tuesday for a 109-87 drubbing of the Clippers — and one day later, they did a little roster switching with their opponent, sending Travis Outlaw and Steve Blake to L.A. in exchange for Marcus Camby, who figures to make his debut against the C's. A big man was an absolute necessity for Portland, which has grappled with the losses of both Greg Oden and Joel Przybilla.
Camby averaged 7.7 points and 12.1 rebounds per game throughout the first half of the season with the Clippers.