The AP reports: Trailing Boston by 24 points with less than 8 minutes left, the Lakers got within two before losing 108-102 on Sunday night to the Boston Celtics, who are heading out West feeling a little lucky to have a 2-0 lead in the NBA finals… Only three teams—Boston in 1969, Portland in 1977 and Miami in 2006—have overcome an 0-2 deficit to win the title… Paul Pierce darted around the parquet floor with ease to score 28 points and unknown Leon Powe added 21 as the Celtics held serve at home in these trip-down-memory-lane finals. But coasting to a blowout win, the Celtics nearly blew up… The Lakers trailed 95-71 with 7:55 remaining but used a 31-9 run to pull to 104-102 on two free throws by Bryant with 38.4 seconds left. Pierce, though, made two free throws, then blocked a 3-pointer by Sasha Vujacic, and James Posey made two free throws with 12.6 seconds left to ice it for Boston, which improved to 12-1 at home in the postseason.
Ticker reports: Ray Allen scored 17 points and Kevin Garnett added 17 and 14 rebounds for the Celtics, who are now just two wins from their league-best 17th title… Bryant fought early foul trouble but still managed a game-high 30 points and Pau Gasol added 17 for the Lakers, who head home down 2-0 in the best-of-seven matchup, with Game Three set for Tuesday night at Staples Center in Los Angeles… Bryant and the Lakers ran into serious foul trouble in the second. Bryant picked up his third personal with 1:53 remaining in the first half, and his backcourt teammate Derek Fisher followed with his third infraction with 23.9 seconds remaining.
InsideHoops.com Stat Notes: The Celtics shot 52.9%, the Lakers 49.4%. The Celtics shot an amazing 9-of-14 three-pointers (Pierce 4-of-4, Ray Allen 3-of-6, James Posey 2-of-3), the Lakers a terrific 47.6% (Sasha Vujacic 2-of-3), Jordan Farmar 3-of-4). Huge: The Celtics had 38 free throw attempts (hitting 27), the Lakers just 10 attempts (hitting all 10). Boston dished 31 assists, L.A. 13.
For the Celtics, Pierce (9-of-16) had 28 points, 4 rebounds and 8 assists (plus 5 turnovers). Leon Powe (6-of-7, 9-of-13 free throws) had 21 points off the bench. Garnett (7-of-19) had 17 points and 14 rebounds. Ray Allen (6-of-11) scored 17. Rajon Rondo only scored 4 but dished 16 assists (just 2 turnovers) plus 2 steals.
For the Lakers, Bryant (11-of-23) had 30 points, 4 rebounds, 8 assists and 3 steals. Pau Gasol (8-of-12) had 17 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists. Vladimir Radmanovic (5-of-12) had 13 points and 10 rebounds. Lamar Odom (5-of-11) was contained all night and had 10 points, 8 rebounds and not much else. Derek Fisher needed 8 shots for his 9 points and 3 steals. Farmar scored 9. Vujacic scored 8.