On a night where Ray Allen became the all-time three-point leader, it was the Los Angeles Lakers who took home the glory, with a hard-earned road 92-86 victory against their bitter rivals the Boston Celtics, in what could be a preview of the NBA Finals.
The TD Garden faithful were all abuzz in the first quarter in anticipation of Ray Allen's attempt to break Reggie Miller's record of 2,560 three-pointers. By the end of the quarter, Allen delivered, and the Celtics were rolling.
But he Lakers' strategy of feeding their big men in the first half would pay off. Andrew Bynum and Paul Gasol finished the game with a combined 36 points and 19 rebounds, exploiting a rather thin Celtics front court. Meanwhile, Kobe Bryant almost seemed like an invisible man for the first 24 minutes, scoring just three points on 1-of-3 shooting from the field, and 1-of-2 shooting from the free-throw line.
That all changed in the second half when Bryant started to heat up. He went on to finish the game with 23 points to go along with five rebounds, and four assists.
Meanwhile, Allen, who was treated to loud ovations from an energized TD Garden crowd upon breaking Reggie Miller's career three-point record, began the game with hot shooting, and led all scorers after the first quarter with 12 points. But early foul trouble basically neutralized the sharp-shooter the rest of the way.
The victory was sweet revenge for the Lakers who lost to the Celtics less than two weeks ago at Staples Center.
Boston led by as many as 15 in the first half, before the Lakers went on a 10-0 run, to trim the lead before the break. It seemed as though the Celtics never regained their form after midway through the first half.