BOSTON -- There is no question Kobe Bryant is the center of attention on the Los Angeles Lakers. But on Thursday night, it was their big men whose size was a difference-maker.
Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol combined for 41 of the Lakers' 88 points and 31 of their 40 rebounds. The Lakers outscored the Celtics 46-38 in the paint during their overtime win, including a 44-38 edge in regulation.
"We are just active, Gasol said of himself and Bynum. "They do a job on being really aggressive loading the strong side of the floor and obviously with Kobe creating so much attention, sometimes they took the bodies off us. And we just took advantage of that and tried to pursue the ball and get those loose balls and rebounds and put them back."
Not only were the Celtics dominated in the paint, they were also outscored 24-13 in second-chance points. The C's gave up 22 of those in regulation, nearly 10 more points than their opponent's season average.
"The rebounding, theyre big man," said Kevin Garnett. "Bynums coming into his own and its good to see a big guy like that whos kind of re-established the big man back in our league. He and Pau have a great chemistry. They work really well together. The second chance points hurt us, but we knew that coming into the game. We were trying to contain Kobe and our schemes and stuff, you leave those options open. So youre going to give something up."
The Celtics knew what Bynum and Gasol were capable of, and the pair delivered on it.
"We just kind of picked up our aggressiveness defensively, stepping out, everybody was moving their feet, everybody really wanted to win," said Byum. "We wanted one and we got it."