BOSTON (Reuters) - Kobe Bryant made amends for a poor shooting game by sinking a spectacular game-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 L.A. beat Boston for the third time in a row since losing to the Celtics in the 2008 NBA Finals.
"The fans are very knowledgeable here and it's always a great place to get a win."
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.
In a marquee matchup between the last two NBA champions, the Celtics recovered from an early deficit and looked poised to prevail when they led by 11 with less than nine minutes remaining.
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), who have suffered six defeats in eight games.
Injuries and an aging roster have been of concern for the Celtics, who have compiled a mediocre 13-8 home record this season.
The Lakers took the life out of the TD Garden in the first 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.
"We came back with some energy from our bench who gave us a lift and we stuck with it and kept fighting," Rondo said.
"No matter what are offense does we have to come down and play defense."
(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by John O'Brien)