LOS ANGELES — The Boston Celtics evened the NBA finals with Ray Allen shredding the Lakers from the 3-point line and Rajon Rondo doing everything else from everywhere else.
Allen scored 27 of his 32 points in the first half with a record-setting 3-point shooting display, Rondo completed a triple-double down the stretch and the Celtics handed Los Angeles its first home loss of the postseason, 103-94 Sunday night in Game 2.
With his fundamentally flawless jumper snapping crisply from his wrists, Allen hit a finals-record eight 3-pointers, 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."
Allen had just 12 points on 3-for-8 shooting in the finals opener, never finding his rhythm after early foul trouble. He didn't even hit a 3-pointer in Game 1 – but the sharpshooting veteran was just saving it up.
Allen tied the finals record for a full game with seven 3-pointers in the first half alone. He hit three 3-pointers in a two-minute span in the second quarter, looking over at his bench with a dry, what-can-I-do smile that recalled Michael Jordan's shrugged shoulders during his 35-point half in the 1992 finals against Portland.
Allen didn't even miss until his eighth try rimmed out in the waning moments of the half.
"I didn't think it was easy, getting the 3's up in the air," Allen said. "You look up and everybody is probably thinking, 'How did this guy get open?' But there's so much going on there – big screens, misdirection plays. I thought they did everything they could to keep me from shooting 3's, (but we) worked tirelessly."
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.
Garnett had just six points, and Paul Pierce never got going, scoring 10 on 2-of-11 shooting. The Celtics also struggled against the Lakers' low-post game.
With Allen and Rondo playing spectacular basketball, none of their flaws mattered much.
"They both were terrific," Rivers said.
With his eighth 3-pointer midway through the third quarter, Allen broke the record for a full finals game he shared with Kenny Smith and Scottie Pippen – and though he didn't hit another under tight defense, Rondo took charge.
The Lakers stayed in it with an inside game that generated 41 free throws – 15 more than Boston – and strong efforts from Gasol and Bynum. While Bryant merely struggled, Ron Artest had another awful playoff game on offense, going 1-for-10 and making three turnovers before fouling out.
"Our big guys played great," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "We didn't get the ball often enough to them, or in a good enough position many times, and a lot of our outside shooting was not that (good). … In a sequence like this, there's no doubt it's a blow to us to lose the homecourt, but we anticipated this might happen, and we're just going to have to go pick it up."
The Celtics essentially were a two-man show all night, and it was good enough to succeed in Hollywood.
Rondo sliced up the Los Angeles defense with slick drives after playing a tentative opener, while Allen was relentless from the perimeter, hitting his fourth, fifth and sixth 3-pointers in that jaw-dropping span midway through the second quarter.
Bryant's vaunted defense didn't help much after switching onto Allen, and Kobe didn't even get his second field goal of the game until Allen already had 22 points. Bryant spent most of the first half's final minutes on the bench after picking up his third foul on a charging call drawn by Allen.
Allen was one shy of the record for 3-pointers in one half of any playoff game. … Before the game, the NBA unveiled the logo for next February's All-Star weekend at Staples Center. … Toronto big man Chris Bosh heard from plenty of Lakers fans who would like to see him in purple and gold next fall when he walked around Staples Center's lower bowl.
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