Celtics pull away from Lakers for 113-96 victory

Boston Celtics 113, Lakers 96 (final)

The Lakers scored the first three points of the night, but other than a few brief flurries they were never really in the game against the Celtics on Friday night in Boston.

Playing their third road game in four nights, the Lakers won just one quarter (the second, by five points), getting thoroughly outworked by the Celtics.

Tyler Zeller put up monster numbers with 24 points and 14 rebounds on 10-of-11 shooting. Rajon Rondo also notched a double-double with 12 points and 16 assists, as did Jared Sullinger with 17 points and 13 rebounds.  Jeff Green contributed 17 points while Avery Bradley added 16.

The Lakers were led by Kobe Bryant with 22 points, but the veteran guard needed 21 shots (making nine, 42.9%) to get it. Nick Young added 16 off the bench as the team shot 41.3% from the field and 37.5% (6 of 16) from three-point range. The Celtics shot 51.1% and 40% (8-20) but missed nine free throws (13 of 22).

Jeremy Lin gave the Lakers a few bursts, finishing with 14 points. Jordan Hill scored 13 but had only four rebounds.  Boston finished with a 53-37 advantage on the glass, along with a 29-14 assist advantage.

Robert Sacre had a difficult night off the bench, missing nine of 10 shots for two points.  Ronnie Price made only three of 10 shots and Young was five of 14.  Starters Carlos Boozer (two points) and Wesley Johnson (scoreless) combined to shoot just one for 11 (9.1%). Reserve guard Wayne Ellington was a bright spot with 11 points.

The Lakers (5-15) return home to host the New Orleans Pelicans (8-9) on Sunday night at Staples Center.  The Celtics (6-11) will play the Washington Wizards (12-5) in Boston, also on Sunday.

Celtics 86, Lakers 70 (end of third quarter)

The third quarter has been a weak spot for the Lakers for much of this season. Friday night in Boston against the Celtics was no different.

Boston outscored the Lakers, 33-22, in the third quarter, extending their lead to 16 points after 36 minutes.

Kobe Bryant leads all scorers with 20 points. Jeremy Lin has 14 points while Jordan Hill added 13.  The Lakers shot 42.6% from the field and 3 of 10 from three-point range.

The Celtics have gotten double-doubles from Tyler Zeller (18 points and 10 rebounds) and Jared Sullinger (15 and 12).  Rajon Rondo was two points short off a double-double to go along with 14 assists.  Jeff Green also scored 17 on seven-of-eight shooting.

Boston made 49.3% of its shots from the field and 41.2% (7 of 17) from behind the arc.

Celtics 53, Lakers 48 (halftime)

The Lakers trimmed what was once a 16-point deficit all the way down to three points with 4:12 left in the second quarter.

Boston responded with a quick two-minute flurry to push their lead back to double figures after Evan Turner made a three-pointer, putting Boston ahead 51-39.

Jeremy Lin, who was scoreless for 22 minutes, poured in seven points in the final two minutes of the half, including a driving layup at the buzzer to get the Lakers back to within five.

Tyler Zeller leads all scorers with 14 points on seven-of-eight shooting, along with nine rebounds in just 17 minutes.  Rajon Rondo scored eight with eight assists.  Boston shot 49.0% from the field but just 16.7% from the free-throw line (1-6).

Kobe Bryant and Jordan Hill both scored 11.  Hill didn't miss any of his five shots as the Lakers shot 42.6% from the field and 100% from the free-throw line (6-6).

Celtics 30, Lakers 20 (end of first quarter)

The Celtics jumped ahead quickly against the Lakers, building a 16-point lead at one point in the first quarter.

Kobe Bryant and Nick Young spurred a brief Lakers' run to help make the quarter slightly more respectable, but that was not the Lakers' best quarter of basketball this season.

Tyler Zeller leads all scorers with eight points in just more than nine minutes. Rajon Rondo scored six points and has five assists for the Celtics, who shot 60.9% from the field.

The Lakers got seven points apiece from Jordan Hill and Bryant. Young added four points off the bench for the Lakers, who shot only 37.5% from the field and committed four turnovers.

Starters Wesley Johnson, Carlos Boozer and Jeremy Lin combined to shoot 0 for 4 from field, although the offense ran primarily through a quick-shooting Bryant.

Pregame

The Lakers (5-14) finish a three-game trip on Friday against the Boston Celtics (5-11) at TD Garden.

Boston has been competitive in a number of games, often faltering in the fourth quarter. The Lakers tend to have their troubles in the third quarter.

The Lakers are still without Xavier Henry (Achilles' tendon), Ryan Kelly (hamstring), Steve Nash (back) and Julius Randle (leg).

For an in-depth breakdown, check out Preview: Lakers at Boston Celtics.

Email Eric Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.

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