Ray Allen indeed broke Reggie Miller's record for most career three-pointers late in the first quarter of the Boston Celtics' game against the L.A. Lakers on Thursday -- with Miller broadcasting the game for TNT, no less -- but the Celtics had trouble scoring much else. Allen hit for 20 points, but no other Celtic hit for more than 15 as the Lakers came back from a 15-point first-half deficit to win 94-86.
Kobe Bryant did the job on Boston, exploding for 20 of his 23 points in the second half and knocking Allen to the bench with foul trouble. Kobe took just three field goal attempts in the first half, instead deferring to his teammates like Ron Artest (six FGAs), Andrew Bynum (six) and, of course, Pau Gasol (nine). Bryant's performance was more familiar in the second half -- he took 14 of the Lakers' 37 shots, playing 17 of the 24 minutes. That's Kobe.
He made the most of it, hitting eight of those 14 shots on his way to 20 in the second half. But, oddly enough, Lakers coach Phil Jackson had some success relying on his bench, too. Bryant and Gasol rested to start the fourth quarter with L.A. holding a small lead. The hybrid bench unit that included starters Bynum and Artest and reserves Steve Blake, Shannon Brown and Lamar Odom held the Lakers' lead for seven minutes to start the fourth. Once Kobe came in with five minutes left and L.A. up three, he was well-rested and nailed three straight shots to put the Lakers up by nine.
Jackson can't often rely on much beyond Odom off the bench; to see the unit hold a lead against such a strong team has to make him a bit more comfortable.
Boston shot just 40 percent. Whether that's a function of L.A.'s defense or just some bad shooting on the Celtics' part remains to be seen; Boston, you'll remember, had no problems scoring at will in the teams' last match-up.