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Lakers' Pau Gasol is a star in 88-87 overtime victory over Celtics

Passed over for the NBA All-Star game, Gasol ties the game in the closing seconds of regulation before making a big block in overtime to preserve the win over the Lakers' longtime rivals.

February 09, 2012|By Mike Bresnahan
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Reporting from Boston — Maybe Pau Gasol should be snubbed by the All-Star team more often.

Maybe Mike Brown will be giving out more in-game affection.

And maybe there's still a rivalry here, at least in the eyes of delighted Lakers fans.

The Lakers beat the Boston Celtics in overtime, 88-87, outlasting their eternal enemies in a game that was attractive only to the winners Thursday at TD Garden.

Neither team cracked 40% shooting and the 90-point plateau remained elusive despite the extra five minutes, but the Lakers (15-11) will take whatever aids their woeful road record, now 4-9.

Gasol had 25 points and 14 rebounds after missing out on the All-Star team for the first time since 2008. Western Conference coaches chose forwards LaMarcus Aldridge, Dirk Nowitzki and Kevin Love ahead of Gasol, complementing starting forwards Blake Griffin and Kevin Durant.

The four-time All-Star found out about it a few minutes before tipoff, when a TV reporter wandered over and asked for a reaction while he was stretching. Gasol answered with his play.

He made 12 of 20 shots and blocked Ray Allen's potential game-winner with 0.3 of a second left in overtime.

"Obviously, I'm not excited that I didn't get picked," Gasol said. "It's always an honor and a great recognition for a player to be part of an NBA All-Star [game], but it's been a crazy year. It would have been good if I was picked, but not much I can do about it."

Gasol's younger brother made the All-Star team as a reserve center. Marc Gasol, a former Lakers draft pick, was sent to Memphis in 2008 as part of the trade that brought his brother to the Lakers. He is averaging 15 points and 10.2 rebounds for the Grizzlies.

Not that the Lakers cared about the younger Gasol. They had a road game to try to win.

Kobe Bryant had 27 points on 11-for-24 shooting and Andrew Bynum totaled 16 points, 17 rebounds and a peck on the head from his coach.

Brown was elated after Bynum scored on a tip-in with 1:29 left in overtime, what turned out to be the final points of the game. Brown approached Bynum during a timeout and, yep, you guessed it.

"That's my guy," Brown said. "If Andrew Bynum can figure out how to play every play like he's a monster, he will be off-the-charts good for us.

"I was excited for him and excited for the moment, so I laid one on him. I've done that before to my guys. Ask [Cleveland center] Anderson Varejao."

Said Bynum, with a sour face: "That was terrible. It's too much. I was just being effective on the glass, going hard every single play and trying to get tip-ins or rebounds."

Bynum and Bryant were voted All-Star starters, but Gasol's numbers had been suffering across the board.

He was averaging 16.4 points and shooting 50.3% before Thursday, down from 18.8 points and 52.9% last season.

He won't be in Orlando for the All-Star game on Feb. 26.

"It's going to be extremely weird," Bryant said. "I really don't know how to react to it without saying anything that's disrespectful to some of our peers and contemporaries, but probably Pau deserves to be there. He deserves to be there every year simply because he's one of the best players in the league."

It's tough to call Lakers-Celtics a rivalry these days, especially with each team languishing in seventh place in its conference before Thursday.

Kevin Garnett made only six of 23 shots for the Celtics, who fell to 14-11. Boston shot 39.2%, the Lakers 39.6%

"It's always a brawl," Bryant said. "It's ugly. It's physical."

And it was a road victory for the Lakers, who have had so few in a season that's passing by so quickly.

mike.bresnahan@latimes.com

twitter.com/Mike_Bresnahan

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