Kobe Bryant Scores 29 as Lakers Beat Celtics, Take 2-1 NBA Finals Lead

Kobe Bryant grabbed 29 points and the Los Angeles Lakers held sharpshooter Ray Allen without a basket in a 91-84 defeat of the Boston Celtics to take a 2-1 lead in the NBA Finals.

Kevin Garnett had 25 points for the host Celtics, who fell behind by 17 points in the second quarter and trailed the rest of the game in Boston. Game 4 is tomorrow in the best-of-seven National Basketball Association championship series.

For the second straight game, a player in his 14th NBA season set the pace. The Lakers’ Derek Fisher, 35, scored 11 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter and went end-to-end for a three-point play in the closing minute to hold off the Celtics.

“He’s the heart and soul of this team, as simple as that,” Bryant said of Fisher in a postgame news conference. “He’s done it over and over and over again.”

In Game 2, 34-year-old Allen hit an NBA Finals-record eight 3 pointers and scored 32 points in Boston’s 103-94 win in Los Angeles. Last night, Allen went 0-for-13 from the field, missed all eight of his 3-pointers and scored two points.

“I thought he was pressing early on some of them,” Boston coach Doc Rivers said in a news conference. “I thought all of his shots looked flat tonight, I didn’t think he had any legs.”

Fisher and Bryant have won four NBA titles together on the Lakers. Fisher left the Lakers for three years before returning for the 2007-2008 season.

One Day Off

“I love what I do and I love helping my team win,” Fisher said. “To come through tonight again for this team, it’s always quite surreal and quite humbling to do it again. But it’s just like a kid, you never get tired of that candy.”

The veteran point guard said there’s little time to savor the victory, since the teams have one day off before returning for Game 4.

“Ray Allen’s not going to miss all of his shots on Thursday night, that’s not going to happen,” Fisher said. “We have to play a much better game than tonight in order to win on Thursday.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Rob Gloster in San Francisco at rgloster@bloomberg.net

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