Lakers beat Celtics on emotional night
Updated: 2013-02-22 07:11
Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss loved to win. He especially relished beating the Boston Celtics.
Playing their first game since Buss died, the Lakers earned an emotional 113-99 victory over their greatest rival on Wednesday night.
Dwight Howard had 24 points and 12 rebounds, Kobe Bryant added 16 points, Steve Nash and Earl Clark had 14 apiece and Metta World Peace scored 12 in a game that surely would have delighted Buss.
"It was very fitting," Bryant said. "You look at all the trophies, parades and support this team has - that all came from one man. The impact is a global one."
The Lakers won their most recent NBA championship - and last under Buss - in 2010, beating the Celtics 4-3 in the Finals. Buss died on Monday at 80 after an 18-month struggle with cancer that forced him to watch his team's games on TV or an iPad instead of from his suite above the Staples Center court.
His empty seat was illuminated and "R.I.P. Dr. Buss" was written on the board inside the Lakers locker room.
"We got to continue to carry on what he built," Bryant said.
Paul Pierce scored 26 points for the Celtics, who fell to 8-17 on the road and lost their third in a row away from home. Courtney Lee added 20 points and Kevin Garnett had 12 on 6-of-14 shooting.
"We've been in that situation with Red Auerbach, and so many other emotional games - teams are very dangerous, especially in their home building," Pierce said. "You take a lot of pride in protecting that and going out and getting that first win. You could see it in their eyes. I saw it in Kobe's eyes. He was really emotional coming out and he wanted this game bad. We understood that."
Howard's performance in the Lakers' first game since the All-Star break came on the eve of the NBA trade deadline. He has been the subject of rumors, but general manager Mitch Kupchak said this week that Howard wouldn't be going anywhere.
"I was thinking about it all day, getting this win for Dr Buss," Howard said. "We came out with a lot of energy, a lot of intensity. We have to keep working every day in practice to get better and hopefully this season can happen for us."