LOS ANGELES — The Celtics evened the NBA Finals with Ray Allen shredding the Lakers from the 3-point line — and Rajon Rondo doing everything else from everywhere else.
Allen scored 27 of his 32 in the first half with a record-setting 3-point shooting display, Rondo completed a triple double down the stretch and the Celtics handed the Lakers their first home loss of the postseason, 103-94 Sunday in Game 2.
Allen hit a Finals-record eight 3-pointers, including 7-of-7 before halftime, in a dazzling effort. Rondo took charge after Allen cooled, racking up 19 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists for his fifth playoff triple double.
"An entire team effort," Rondo said. "Ray carried us through the first half. Second half, we got in a little slump, but we stuck with it, stayed together and got a victory."
Game 3 is Tuesday in Boston.
Kobe Bryant scored 21 while battling more foul trouble for the Lakers, who couldn't catch Boston's dynamic guards in Los Angeles' first home playoff loss since last season's Western Conference final. Pau Gasol had 25 points and eight rebounds for the Lakers, and Andrew Bynum added 21 points and six rebounds.
"They got to the ball a lot of times quicker than we did, second-chance opportunities, loose balls," Gasol said. "They were pursuing the ball with a little more desire."
The clubs traded the lead throughout the fourth quarter, but Rondo's heady layup put the Celtics ahead for good with 3:21 to play. It was vintage Rondo, scooting in to collect a shot blocked by Gasol and scoring before Gasol could react.
Kevin Garnett then hit a jumper, and after another possession of stifling defense, Rondo hit another jumper, celebrating with a swing of his arm.
Rondo has grown into possibly the Celtics' biggest offensive threat in these playoffs. Although it wasn't as gaudy as his 29-point, 18-rebound, 13-assist Game 4 vs. Cleveland, his 10-point fourth quarter against the Lakers looms large — particularly if Boston gets rolling toward its 18th title during three straight games at home.
"He just did a lot of things — the blocked shots, the steals," Boston coach Doc Rivers said. "He's our quarterback, and he does a lot of stuff for us."
After the Lakers' whistle-plagued 102-89 win in the opener, both teams again struggled with fouls. Garnett and Bryant both spent extra time on the bench, with Bryant picking up his fifth foul early in the fourth.
Garnett had just six points, and Paul Pierce never got going, scoring 10 on 2-for-11 shooting. The Celtics also struggled against the Lakers' low-post game. But with Allen and Rondo playing spectacularly, none of their flaws mattered much.
Allen had just 12 points on 3-for-8 shooting in the opener. But he found his form Sunday, and with his eighth 3-pointer midway through the third quarter, Allen broke the record for a full game shared by Kenny Smith and Scottie Pippen.
"I didn't think it was easy, getting the 3s up in the air," Allen said. "You look up and everybody is probably thinking, 'How did this guy get open?' But there's so much going on there — big screens, misdirection plays. I thought they did everything they could to keep me from shooting 3s, (but we) worked tirelessly."
Meanwhile, Bryant finished with six assists, five turnovers and four steals. Midway through the fourth, it looked as though he was going to take over. He scored five in a row to extend the Lakers' lead to 90-87.
But Rondo keyed a 16-4 run to help the Celtics tie the series.
|Series tied 1-1|
BOSTON (103): Pierce 2-11 6-6 10, Garnett 2-5 2-2 6, Perkins 4-7 4-6 12, Rondo 8-18 2-5 19, R.Allen 11-20 2-2 32, Davis 4-13 0-1 8, Wallace 3-5 0-0 7, T.Allen 0-2 2-2 2, Williams 0-1 0-0 0, Robinson 2-2 2-2 7. Totals 36-84 20-26 103.
L.A. LAKERS (94): Artest 1-10 3-8 6, Gasol 7-10 11-13 25, Bynum 6-10 9-12 21, Fisher 2-8 2-2 6, Bryant 8-20 3-3 21, Odom 1-3 1-1 3, Vujacic 1-1 0-0 3, Farmar 3-7 0-0 7, Brown 0-2 2-2 2. Totals 29-71 31-41 94.
3-Point Goals—Boston 11-16 (R.Allen 8-11, Rondo 1-1, Robinson 1-1, Wallace 1-3), L.A. Lakers 5-22 (Bryant 2-7, Vujacic 1-1, Farmar 1-4, Artest 1-6, Gasol 0-1, Odom 0-1, Fisher 0-2). Fouled Out—Artest. Rebounds—Boston 56 (Rondo 12), L.A. Lakers 50 (Gasol 8). Assists—Boston 28 (Rondo 10), L.A. Lakers 18 (Bryant 6). Total Fouls—Boston 29, L.A. Lakers 29. A—18,997.