Bryant Draws Up Lakers’ Winning Play, but Places Himself on the Periphery

That was why Bryant suggested Andrew Bynum take it, and the All-Star center leapt at the opportunity to seal Los Angeles’s latest win in what is perhaps the ’s most storied rivalry.

Bryant scored 10 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter and made a go-ahead jumper with 41.7 seconds left, and Bynum’s hook shot over Kevin Garnett capped the Lakers’ 97-94 victory Sunday.

Bynum had 20 points and 14 rebounds as the Lakers rallied from a 5-point deficit in the final two and a half minutes, scoring the final 8 points. Bryant and Bynum each scored 4, but only after Bryant urged Coach Mike Brown to use him as a decoy.

“Andrew is too big — you can’t teach that,” Bryant said. “I knew it was going to be a high-percentage shot.”

After Bynum coolly scored out of a timeout with 15.5 seconds left, Boston could not get a good look at a tying 3-pointer.

Bynum appeared to take particular satisfaction in his decisive role in the victory after years as a supporting player to Bryant’s late-game heroics.

“It was crazy,” Bynum said. “Kobe came up with that play. He said, ‘They’re not going to be able to know what to do.’ I was able to get deep position and go to work.”

Rajon Rondo had 24 points and 10 assists for the Celtics, who opened an eight-game trip by blowing a late lead. On Boston’s final possession, Ray Allen failed to get free for a 3-pointer before Rondo badly missed a desperate tying attempt.

The Lakers earned their 18th victory in 19 home games, stylishly finishing their third straight victory over Boston in yet another thrilling meeting.

“We love beating this team,” Bynum said.

The game might have been the final meeting for the current veteran cores of the franchises that met in the N.B.A. finals in 2008 and 2010. Boston’s Big Three of Garnett, Allen and Paul Pierce could be broken up after this season, while both Pau Gasol and Rondo are the subject of trade rumors.

If this was the finale, both teams went out in style.

“It’s almost as if this is for the championship every time we play them,’ ” said Allen, who scored 17 points. “It definitely was an entertaining game.”

Boston erased an early 15-point deficit and clung to a small lead down the stretch. Allen’s 3-pointer put the Celtics ahead by 94-89 with 2 minutes 41 seconds left, but Los Angeles trimmed the lead to a point on baskets by Bryant and Bynum before Bryant made his 14-footer to put the Lakers ahead.

Allen hit three 3-pointers and had six assists for the Celtics, and Brandon Bass scored 15 points but missed a go-ahead jumper in the final minute. Pierce had 13 points and 9 assists but shot 4 of 14.

CAVALIERS 118, ROCKETS 107 Antawn Jamison scored 28 points and the rookie Kyrie Irving scored 16 of his 21 points in the final 4:14 for host Cleveland.

The Cavaliers, coming off impressive road victories over Denver and Oklahoma City, have moved back into the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference.

“You have to pay attention to the standings,” Irving said. “I’m aware we’re a game out of the eighth spot.”

The Knicks currently hold that final position.

WARRIORS 97, CLIPPERS 93 Monta Ellis (21 points, 11 assists) and David Lee (18 points, 10 rebounds) had double-doubles as Golden State won in Los Angeles.

MAGIC 107, PACERS 94 Dwight Howard had 30 points and 13 rebounds, and J. J. Redick added 18 points and a career-high 9 assists as Orlando won at home. The Magic played without starters Hedo Turkoglu and Jason Richardson, but seemed unfazed as they built a 20-point lead in the first half and got 30 points from their reserves.

BUCKS 105, RAPTORS 99 Ersan Ilyasova had 31 points and 12 rebounds, Drew Gooden added 21 points and visiting Milwaukee posted its sixth straight victory over Toronto.

GRIZZLIES 94, NUGGETS 91 O. J. Mayo scored 22 points, including a critical 3-pointer in the closing seconds, as visiting Memphis hung on. The Grizzlies swept their three-game regular season series against the Nuggets for the first time in their history. Mike Conley, who returned after sustaining a cut above his right eye, added 13 points. Dante Cunningham had 12 points and Tony Allen 10 for the Grizzlies, who also snapped an eight-game losing streak in Denver.

HAWKS 106, KINGS 99 Josh Smith scored 19 of his 28 points in the second half for visiting Atlanta, which beat Sacramento for the eighth straight time.

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Nowitzki Outduels Love As Mavericks Top Timberwolves, 104-97

Nowitzki topped 24 points for the fourth straight game by shooting 11 for 19 from the floor, including 4 of 7 from 3-point range. Love finished with 32 points and 12 rebounds, going 14 for 14 from the free-throw line.

PISTONS 109, NETS 92 Greg Monroe had 18 points and 11 rebounds, and host Detroit rolled to its fourth straight victory. It’s the longest winning streak for the Pistons since a five-game run in December 2009. Johan Petro scored 16 points for the Nets, who lost their fifth straight.

HEAT 106, WIZARDS 89 Dwyane Wade scored 26 points, putting in more than his share of poetry-in-motion moments during a second-quarter run, as visiting Miami topped Washington, 106-89.

Wade either scored or assisted on 20 consecutive Heat points, and Wade and LeBron James combined to score Miami’s last 18 points of the first half.

Chris Bosh had 24 points and 11 rebounds, and James finished with 18 points and 9 assists for the Heat. JaVale McGee scored a season-high 24 points and had 13 rebounds to lead the Wizards.

BULLS 95, BOBCATS 64 Joakim Noah had 17 points and 14 rebounds, Carlos Boozer scored 16 points and Chicago throttled the host Bobcats despite the absence of the league’s reigning most valuable player, Derrick Rose.

The Bulls (23-6) won their fifth straight over all and improved to 5-1 this season without Rose, who sat out because of a back strain.

BUCKS 113, CAVALIERS 112 Brandon Jennings scored 24 points and made a big layup in overtime as Milwaukee rallied past host Cleveland. Jennings also had eight assists for the Bucks, who trailed by 10 late in the third period, right after Coach Scott Skiles was ejected.

Antawn Jamison had a season-high 34 points and 11 rebounds for Cleveland but missed two free throws with 3.7 seconds to go in regulation and the game tied.

CLIPPERS 78, 76ERS 77 With some help from Blake Griffin, Chris Paul excelled when the Los Angeles Clippers needed it most in Philadelphia. Paul had 24 points, including the game-winning 17-footer with 3.2 seconds left, and Griffin added 16 points and 11 rebounds.

86, 74 DeMar DeRozan scored 21 points, Jose Calderon had 17 points and 14 rebounds and the host Raptors beat Boston for their third win in the past 20 meetings with the Celtics.

BLAZERS 94, HORNETS 86 Jamal Crawford scored a season-high 31 points, and Portland snapped a two-game skid while handing New Orleans its eighth straight loss. Trevor Ariza had 23 points and 9 rebounds for the Hornets.

GRIZZLIES 98, PACERS 92 Rudy Gay scored 21 points and Marreese Speights added a season-high 19 points and 9 rebounds as the Grizzlies won in Memphis.

HAWKS 89, MAGIC 87 Josh Smith scored 23 points and had 19 rebounds to lead Atlanta past the host Magic in overtime.

Dwight Howard had 18 points and 18 rebounds for Orlando.

IRVING TO REST The Cavaliers rookie guard Kyrie Irving will spend the weekend resting and recovering from a concussion.

GINOBILI RETURNING Manu Ginobili will return to the San Antonio Spurs’ lineup against the Nets in Newark on Saturday after missing more than a month with a broken left hand.

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Celtics Beat Pistons 86-82 for 4th Straight Win

BOSTON (AP) — Paul Pierce scored 22 points, and Ray Allen hit a jumper with 25 seconds left to give the their first lead of the second half and help them beat the 86-82 on Wednesday night.

It was the fourth straight victory for the Celtics. The Pistons had their three-game winning streak snapped.

had 12 points and 12 rebounds, and added 11 points and six boards in his second game back after missing nine with a leg injury.

Rodney Stuckey scored 15 points and Greg Monroe had 13 points and nine rebounds for the Pistons, who led by eight with 8 minutes left but did not score over the game’s last 2:43.

The Pistons had won three in a row after coach John Kuester shook up his lineup, benching Richard Hamilton and inserting rookie Monroe at center and at point guard. It was the longest winning streak of the season for Detroit, which opened with an 11-26 record.

The Pistons led by eight on Ben Gordon’s 3-pointer, but the Celtics made three straight baskets before Chris Wilcox hit one free throw to make it 76-73 with 5:23 left. Rajon Rondo took a jumper near the top of the key, and O’Neal tipped the rebound off the backboard before grabbing it and laying it in; McGrady swiped at him, and the free throw made it 76-all.

It was a two-point game with 3:02 left when O’Neal missed two free throws, and Detroit made it 82-78 on Monroe’s reverse layup. But Garnett scored inside, and then Pierce made a jumper in the lane.

After McGrady missed, Garnett missed a long jumper but Rondo got the rebound and called timeout. The Celtics ran Allen off a screen to get him open near the 3-point line on the right side and he sank the basket; it was initially ruled a 3-pointer, but replays showed his right foot was on the line, making the score 84-82.

Stuckey missed a leaner in the lane, and Garnett grabbed the rebound, then hit one of two foul shots. Gordon drove and missed a layup over Glen “Big Baby” Davis’ outstretched arms.

NOTES: Celtics G Marquis Daniels rolled his ankle early in the second quarter and did not return. … Charlie Villanueva came off the bench and played the entire second quarter, scoring seven points. … The Pistons shot 58 percent (11 for 19) in the second and led 45-42 at halftime. The Celtics committed nine turnovers in the third quarter, and shot 29 percent from the field. But the Pistons shot just 26 percent. … Allen missed both free throw attempts after being fouled early in the fourth quarter. It’s the second time this year he has missed two foul shots in one trip to the line, and just the second time since 2007.

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