Kobe jumper lifts LA past Celts

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Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (24) loses the ball against Boston Celtics guard Ray Allen (lower L), forward Kevin Garnett (L) and center Kendrick Perkins in the fourth quarter of their NBA basketball game in Boston, Massachusetts January 31, 2010. Allen was called for a foul on the play.

BEIJING, Feb. 2 -- Kobe Bryant made amends for a poor shooting game by sinking a spectacular match-winning jumper as the Los Angeles Lakers edged the Boston Celtics 90-89 on Sunday.

Bryant drilled a difficult 15-footer with 7.3 seconds left despite the close attendance of Ray Allen, who then went on to miss a three-point attempt as time expired to ensure the Lakers (37-11) took a satisfying win over their long-time rivals.

"I was thinking about last year when I had a chance to win a game in regulation but missed it. I wanted to make up for that," Bryant told reporters after Los Angeles beat Boston for the third time in a row since losing to the Celtics in the 2008 National Basketball Association finals.

Bryant finished with 19 points and six assists despite 8-for-20 shooting and Andrew Bynum added 19 and 11 boards as Los Angeles captured its fourth straight win.

Elsewhere, it was: Nuggets 103, Spurs 89; Magic 91, Pistons 86; Cavaliers 114, Clippers 89; Raptors 117, Pacers 102; 76ers 83, Nets 79; Suns 115, Rockets 111 (in overtime); Timberwolves 112, Knicks 91; and Thunder 112, Warriors 104.

In Boston, in a marquee matchup between the last two NBA champions, the Celtics recovered from an early deficit and looked set to prevail when they led by 11 points with less than nine minutes left.

However, the home team suffered a dry spell that allowed the Lakers to inch closer and the visitors pulled within one on Ron Artest's drive with 45 seconds remaining.

Artest then drew an offensive foul on Paul Pierce to set up his team's final possession.

Rajon Rondo led the way with 21 points and 12 assists for a struggling Boston (29-16), which has suffered six defeats in eight games.

The Lakers took the life out of the TD Garden in the first quarter where Bynum had 12 points for the hot-shooting visitors, who took a 30-19 advantage, before Rondo sparked a Boston comeback. The newly named All-Star point guard scored nine in the second and the Celtics seized the momentum with a 30-10 turnaround to grab a 49-40 advantage with 3:01 left before the half.

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Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant watches a free throw by a teammate in the first half of their NBA basketball game against the Boston Celtics in Boston, Massachusetts January 31, 2010.