Kobe Bryant, Lakers beat Celtics 112-104
BOSTON — Kobe Bryant had 15 points and 11 rebounds for Los Angeles in likely his final game in Boston, leading the Lakers to a 112-104 victory over the Celtics on Wednesday night.
Bryant played 33 minutes and recorded his first double-double of what he says is his final season. Jordan Clarkson scored 24 points and Lou Williams had 19 as Los Angeles stopped a four-game slide.
Isaiah Thomas had 24 points and Evan Turner scored 20 for Boston, which had won four in a row.
It was Bryant's 173rd career double-double. The crowd chanted "Kobe! Kobe!" in the final minute.
The Celtics trailed by 11 with just over six minutes left, but used a 9-0 run to close to 100-98 on Avery Bradley's jam.
It was still a two-point game before Bryant hit his second 3-pointer of the quarter, making it 107-102 with 1:40 left.
Los Angeles (6-27) appears to be headed for another poor finish in Bryant's last season. But the Lakers put together a solid effort against the Celtics, using a 21-4 run in the third to turn a one-point deficit into an 83-69 lead.
The Lakers led 89-78 entering the final quarter.
In the first half, Bryant scored on consecutive drives 22 seconds apart — after missing his first eight shots from the floor and a free throw — to give the Lakers a 51-44 edge.
Los Angeles led 58-56 at halftime.
Bryant received a huge ovation when he was announced for the starting lineups and touched his chest before waving to the fans.
But those cheers quickly turned to boos the first time he touched the ball, with many of the fans reminding him that he remains a big part of perhaps the NBA's best rivalry. There were loud cheers when he missed the free throw after a Boston technical foul.
The 37-year-old Bryant played in the NBA Finals against Boston in 2008 and 2010. The first one ended with a blowout win by the Celtics in TD Garden. Los Angeles captured the second at Staples Center in a seventh game.
Before Wednesday's game, Bryant said losing in 2008 helped him discover the leader he needed to become.
"For the second half of my career, it's the most important piece," he said. "Because when we lost in 2008, that was the turn. That was when I said, 'I have to figure this leadership thing out. I can't go through this."'
Lakers: F Brandon Bass played his first game back in Boston after spending four seasons with the Celtics, and got a nice hand. The 30-year-old signed as a free agent with Los Angeles during the summer.
Celtics: F David Lee returned after missing the last two games with a sore lower back.
Lakers: Host Philadelphia on Friday.
Celtics: Host Brooklyn on Saturday.
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