Lakers 90, Celtics 89

BOSTON — Phil Jackson tied Pat Riley for the Lakers’ record for coaching victories with 533. Kobe Bryant hit the go-ahead shot over Ray Allen with 7.3 seconds remaining. Allen missed a jumper at the buzzer. Bryant and Andrew Bynum scored 19 points each. Bynum also had 11 rebounds. Pau Gasol had 11 points and 11 rebounds. Ron Artest had 11 points. Rajon Rondo led the Celtics with 21 points, five rebounds and 12 assists.

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Lakers-Celtics preview

BOSTON — The Lakers are 36-11, lead the Western Conference and have won three consecutive games going into today’s contest against Boston. The Celtics are 29-15, lead the Atlantic Division and have lost two in a row and five of seven. The Lakers won both games against Boston last season after falling to the Celtics in the 2008 Finals. Phil Jackson can tie Pat Riley’s franchise record for coaching victories with 533 with a win today. Kobe Bryant needs 47 points to match Jerry West’s team record of 25,192 points in a career. This is the seventh game on the Lakers’ eight-game trip, which concludes Monday in Memphis with a matchup between the Gasol brothers, Pau and Marc. It’s also the two-year anniversary of the trade that brought Pau to the Lakers and sent Marc to Memphis.

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Kobe’s index finger

BOSTON — Kobe Bryant gave reporters their first up-close look at his broken right index finger today before the Lakers practice. He usually keeps it hidden from view while speaking to the assembled mob. He often wears a splint while off the court in order to keep from banging it on things during the normal course of the day. But today he showed how the swelling has subsided. It’s still puffy, though. He also showed how he can’t bend it without pushing it into position. It was kind of gross, although no one turned away.

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Halftime: Lakers 51, 76ers 42

PHILADELPHIA — Pau Gasol scored 11 points and Ron Artest had 10 as the Lakers held a small lead at halftime tonight. Gasol also had five rebounds and five assists. Kobe Bryant, in his return to Philadelphia, scored only two points in the first half. Lamar Odom added eight points in a reserve role. Elton Brand led Philadelphia with 11 points.

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Jeanie Buss on trade rumors

The trade rumor mill is cranked up to full intensity. The Lakers are rumored to be ready to swap Andrew Bynum for Toronto’s Chris Bosh. They are talking to Chicago about taking Kirk Hinrich off their hands for Adam Morrison and Sasha Vujacic. None of these stories is accurate, according to Lakers executive VP Jeanie Buss, who wrote on Twitter last night: “I’m not listening to any Lakers trade rumors. Its typical this time of year to have trade rumors flying around 2/18/10 is deadline keep calm.”

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Pau’s an All-Star

PHILADELPHIA — Pau Gasol was picked to be a reserve on the Western Conference All-Star team today. It’s his second consecutive selection and his third overall. Gasol is averaging 17.4 points points, 11 rebounds and 3.3 assists in 29 games. He sat out 11 because of a strained right hamstring and six games with a strained left hammy. The Lakers are 24-5 with him on the active roster and 11-6 without him.

Other reserves from the Western Conference:
Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas
Chris Paul, New Orleans
Brandon Roy, Portland
Zach Randolph, Memphis
Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City
Deron Williams, Utah

Eastern Conference reserves
Al Horford, Atlanta
Joe Johnson, Atlanta
Paul Pierce, Boston
Rajon Rondo, Boston
Gerald Wallace, Charlotte
Derrick Rose, Chicago
Chris Bosh, Toronto

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Lakers 118, Pacers 96

INDY — The big three went off again and the Lakers re-discovered their defensive intensity tonight in the second half en route to a lopsided victory over the overmatched Indiana Pacers. Kobe Bryant had 29 points, Andrew Bynum scored a season-high 27 and Pau Gasol added 21 points. Bryant had nine rebounds, Bynum had 12 and Gasol had 13. Lamar Odom scored 12 points and grabbed a team-best 14 rebounds. The Lakers outrebounded the Pacers, 62-42. The Lakers also had 20 offensive rebounds. They outscored Indiana, 59-40, in the second half after leading by three at halftime.

Here’s some postgame reaction from Lakers coach Phil Jackson: “I express (the need for improved defense) to the players nightly. Our middle is really soft. We’re giving up a lot of penetration. If we give up that much penetration, we’re going to get hurt both inside and outside.”

Here’s Bynum on whether he’s played well enough to be picked for the All-Star team: “I think I’m definitely able to play at that (All-Star) caliber when the ball comes my way.”

Here’s Gasol on the same subject: “I’m hopeful. It’s something to be part of that great game. It’s a great recognition to be among the best in the league. Obviously, you hope you’re going to be selected. Hopefully, you play your best and the coaches will give you that credit.”

Next stop on the Lakers’ eight-game trip: Philadelphia.
The All-Star backups will be announced Thursday on TNT.

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Lakers 115, Wizards 103

WASHINGTON — Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant scored 26 points apiece tonight against the Washington Wizards, and Lamar Odom added 15 points as the Lakers rebounded from Sunday’s last-second loss against the Toronto Raptors. The Lakers led by as many as 19 points in the second half and were never threatened. Antawn Jamison led the Wizards with 27 points. The Lakers shot 58.7 percent; the Wizards shot 51.2 percent.

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White House highlights

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama honored the Lakers for winning the NBA championship today, inviting the players, coaches, staff and assorted family and friends to the White House. He praised Kobe Bryant, quoted Lamar Odom, talked smack to Magic Johnson and encouraged Shannon Brown in the upcoming Slam Dunk contest.

Obama hosted the Lakers in the East Room at the White House. Bryant and Derek Fisher presented the President with a Lakers jersey with his name on the back. They also gave him a signed basketball. Obama said, “I am especially excited to meet Coach Phil Jackson, the Zen-Master, who won his record 10th NBA championship.”

Obama then added, “I want to point out six of them came with the Bulls (Obama’s favorite team).” Obama pantomimed Michael Jordan’s classic layup in which he switched the ball from one hand to another in midair during the Bulls’ victory over the Lakers in the 1991 Finals. “You remember that, Magic.”

Johnson, now a Lakers executive, cracked up laughing.

“Magic did pretty well,” Obama added, smiling. “He wasn’t bad.”

Johnson later told reporters: “I got a kick out of that. You know, what can you say when the President of the United States can trash-talk you? Normally, I have a pretty good comeback, but this time I had to let him slide. I had to let him slide, because he was right, Michael did do an incredible move.”

Of Bryant, he said, “Of course, I have to recognize Kobe Bryant, one of the most competitive players I have ever seen. If I had a broken finger (as Bryant does), I would have trouble getting out of bed in the morning.”

Of Brown, he said, “One last thing, I was told Mr. Brown intends to win the dunk contest.”

Then the Lakers presented Obama with a jersey and a ball. He went around to shake the hands of the players, coaches and team executives, who had stood behind him on risers as he addressed Lakers staff and family members, plus 100 or so media members from behind a podium. Obama also met Bryant’s daughters, Natalia and Gianna.

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Raptors 106, Lakers 105

TORONTO — The Lakers’ funk continued today with a one-point loss to the Toronto Raptors. Hedo Turkoglu made two free throws to put the Raptors ahead, 106-105, with 1.2 seconds remaining. Kobe Bryant missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer at the other end after boggling the inbounds pass from Luke Walton. The loss was the Lakers’ second in three games to start their eight-game trip. Bryant had 27 points, a career-high 16 rebounds and nine assists as the Lakers fell to 33-11. Pau Gasol had 22 points and nine rebounds and Andrew Bynum scored 21 points and grabbed nine rebounds.

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