Celtics crush Lakers in Howard's return
Paul Pierce scored 24 points while Boston's reserves contributed big as the Celtics stretched their winning streak to six after crushing the Los Angeles Lakers, 116-95, at the TD Garden in Boston, Thursday (Friday morning in Manila), February 7.
With the resounding triumph, the Celtics became the first team in NBA history to win six straight, lose six straight and then win six straight again in an 18-game stretch, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Jeff Green and Jason Terry added 19 and 15 points, respectively, for Boston, which improved to 26-23 and widened their lead for the final playoff spot in the East to four games.
Both squads exchanged blows in the opening period, but a big push by the Celtics in the middle quarters changed the complexion of the match.
The Lakers cut the lead down to 11 points midway through the third period but Pierce jumpstarted a 23-8 blast that helped Boston finally put Los Angeles away, 96-59, entering the final period.
Pierce added seven rebounds and six assists for the Celtics, which moved to 6-0 without injured point guard Rajon Rondo.
Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 27 points but had zero assists for the first time since January 1.
Returning from a three-game absence due to a shoulder injury, Dwight Howard had nine points and nine rebounds before fouling out.