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LEAD: Pau Gasol makes game-saving block, Lakers edge Celtics in OT
By Paul Levine Feb 10, 2012, 7:55 GMT
Los Angeles - Spaniard Pau Gasol wasn't named a Western Conference All-Star team reserve on Thursday, but the four-time selection played like one until the very end.
Gasol had 25 points with 14 rebounds and blocked Ray Allen's put-back attempt at the buzzer in overtime as the visiting LA Lakers escaped with a dramatic 88-87 victory over the Boston Celtics.
'This was a huge win tonight against the Celtics,' said Gasol. 'We needed one like this. We kept playing until the very last second.'
Gasol was passed over by the coaches for his younger brother Marc of the Memphis Grizzlies for the league's mid-season showcase to be played February 26 in Orlando. However, Kobe Bryant didn't necessarily think Pau should have been left off the All-Star squad.
'I believe he deserves to be an All-Star every year because of how good he is,' Bryant said. 'Next time we play Memphis it should be interesting.'
Bryant scored 27 points while fellow All-Star starter Andrew Bynum had 16 points with 17 rebounds as the Lakers stopped a modest two-game slide and improved to 4-9 on the road.
Allen netted 22 points, and All-Star Paul Pierce collected 18 points, nine rebounds and seven assists for the Celtics, who had won their previous five games and nine of 10.
'I thought this was an awful game,' said Celtics coach Doc Rivers after each team shot a miserable 39 per cent from the field. 'If we had won, it would have been an awful game that we won.'
Gasol's tip-in with 9.8 seconds left in regulation squared the contest at 82-apiece and sent it into overtime after Boston's Mikael Pietrus missed badly on a desperation three-point attempt.
The Celtics took a short-lived 87-86 advantage in the extra session on Pierce's three-pointer. But Bynum tipped in Bryant's missed jumper with one minute 30 seconds left that proved to be the eventual difference-maker.
The Celtics had a final shot to win the game after another Bryant miss with 7.5 seconds left. Pierce, however, had his jumper rim out. Allen sneaked in the right side to put in the rebound, only to have the seven-foot Gasol come over to swat away the shot, giving the Lakers their sixth win in the last seven visits to Boston.
'I was in the perfect position,' Allen said, 'and he came out of nowhere.'
'You just got to play until the clock runs out,' Gasol said. 'I've been in situations before in my career where you just freeze and you just catch yourself looking at the ball and somebody makes a play and you end up losing a game.'
Elsewhere: Sacramento Kings 106, Oklahoma City Thunder 101: Tyreke Evans scored 21 points, DeMarcus Cousins added 19 and the host Kings went on a late 18-4 run to surprise the Western Conference-leading Oklahoma Thunder, 106-101, for their fourth win in five games.
Russell Westbrook netted 33 points, Kevin Durant had 27 and Serge Ibaka blocked 10 shots for Oklahoma City, which dropped to 2-2 on its five-game road trip.
Houston Rockets 96, Phoenix Suns 89: Argentine Luis Scola scored 16 points, Patrick Patterson added 14 and the visiting Rockets won their third in a row, while snapping the Suns' three-game success.
Channing Frye scored a season-high 21 points, while Steve Nash, celebrated his eighth All-Star game selection earlier in the day, with 14 points and 13 assists.
Golden State Warriors 109, Denver Nuggets 101: Stephen Curry poured in a season-high 36 points, rookie Klay Thompson added 19 and the visiting Warriors handed the slumping Nuggets their fifth straight loss.