The familiar "Beat LA!'' chant started in the third quarter.
It's easier to do that now than it was during most of the Lakers-Celtics rivalry. But there's still something special when the teams who have met in a record 12 NBA Finals face each other, even if they've been struggling just to reach the playoffs.
"No matter what direction these teams are going, it'll always be a rivalry,'' Paul Pierce said. "Everybody's always going to watch.''
On Thursday night, they saw a 116-95 rout by Boston, its biggest win of the season and Los Angeles' worst loss.
The Lakers got Dwight Howard back after he missed three games with a sore right shoulder. He had nine points and nine rebounds in 28 minutes before fouling out with 5:07 left.
"There were a couple times where I felt'' pain in the shoulder, he said. "I just tried not to think about it.''
But they were without Pau Gasol for the first time since he was diagnosed with a torn plantar fascia in his right foot that will sideline him indefinitely.
Boston was missing two key players, both out for the season. Point guard Rajon Rondo sat out his sixth game with a torn ligament in his right knee and the Celtics have won them all. Rookie forward Jared Sullinger missed his fourth game following back surgery.
In fact, only two active players on each team remained from the 2010 squads that reached the NBA Finals, won in seven games by the Lakers - Pierce and Kevin Garnett for Boston and Kobe Bryant and Metta World Peace for Los Angeles.
In 2008, the Celtics won the title in six games over the Lakers. Before that, they met three times in the Larry Bird-Magic Johnson era of the 1980s with Los Angeles winning twice.
"You walk through these hallways when you come in here,'' said Pierce, who scored 12 of his 24 points in the third quarter when Boston pulled away. "You see the whole rivalry, pictures. You see throughout the decades how it goes, regular season, postseason, championship. It's always going to have that extra little edge to this game.''
But now the Lakers are in 10th place in the West, 3 1/2 games behind the Houston Rockets for the final playoff spot in the conference despite winning six of their last eight games. The Celtics broke a seventh-place tie with the Milwaukee Bucks in the East and trail the Atlanta Hawks by just 1 1/2 games for sixth.
They've moved up without their star point guard.
"Our guys just think they're good,'' Boston coach Doc Rivers said. "We're playing selfless and free.''
The Lakers aren't passing the ball well enough with just 16 assists on Thursday or shooting accurately with just a 41.4 field goal percentage against the Celtics.
"For whatever reason, we didn't come out real sharp,'' Los Angeles coach Mike D'Antoni said. "Defensively, it was disappointing that we didn't fight as hard as we've been fighting.''
Jeff Green scored 19 points for the Celtics and Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry had 15 each. Garnett became the 16th player in NBA history to score 25,000 points.
Without Rondo controlling the ball, the Celtics are concentrating on moving it quickly and shooting it when they're open. The Lakers gave them plenty of unchallenged shots.
"The roof just kind of caved in on us and it gave them a lot of transition points and easy baskets,'' said Bryant, who had 27 points. "They were hot. I can't really remember them missing a shot in the third quarter.''
They actually missed five. But they made 16, outscored the Lakers 37-25 and ended the period with a 95-69 lead.
"I said to the guys at halftime (if) we rebound the ball a little bit better, we can get out and run and open this game up and I thought that's exactly what we did in the third.''
The Lakers cut a 58-44 halftime deficit to 72-61 with 5:07 left in the third quarter, but they came no closer as the Celtics went on a 23-8 run to build their 26-point lead going into the fourth. Pierce started the surge with a three-point play and ended it with a 3-pointer with 41 seconds left.
"The first half was just as bad as the second,'' said Lakers point guard Steve Nash, who had just nine points and five assists. "Disappointing performance, start to finish.''
Perhaps, but to Pierce it was pretty special, another chapter in the rich rivalry.
"It always feels good when you can give them a little old-fashioned beatdown in your house,'' he said, "no matter what direction these teams are going.''
The familiar "Beat LA!'' chant started in the third quarter.
Howe, Whatley shine at OU Showcase
Claremore High School seniors Bryce Howe and Matt Whatley caught the eyes of several NCAA Division I and JUCO scouts Friday in Norman.
Howe and Whatley, as well as Claremore’s Cole Weiesnbach and Cameron Smith, competed with the Bearcats — a competitive baseball team coached by Jenks’ Jeff Owens — at the University of Oklahoma Showcase.
‘Staying close to home’
Home is where the heart is.
Claremore graduate Isaac Hollihan loves playing baseball and takes his academics pretty serious.
For the next four years, Hollihan will continue his baseball career a short distance from his Claremore residence at Rogers State University.
TRACK: Tyson Gay healthy heading into nationals
For a little bit, Tyson Gay's first step tearing down the track made him wince and his next made him wonder: Would he ever be the same sprinter again?
The runner who captured three gold medals at the 2007 world championships. The runner who broke the American 100-meter record in 2009.
Texas Longhorns men's track coach retires
Texas men's track coach Bubba Thornton is retiring after 18 years and 12 conference championships.
According to a statement from the school on Monday, Thornton and athletic director DeLoss Dodds mutually agreed to terminate the coach's contract effective Aug. 31. The Longhorns won this year's Big 12 indoor and outdoor championships and finished sixth at the NCAA outdoor championships.
Daytona frontstretch getting $400M facelift
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STANLEY CUP NOTEBOOK: Rough ice affects play in Game 3
Teams try to avoid risky plays in the postseason that they might try in the regular season. And when the ice surface isn't smooth, even greater care is necessary.
Boston took that approach with less-than-ideal ice conditions during its 2-0 win over the Chicago Blackhawks that gave the Bruins a 2-1 lead in the Stanley Cup finals on Monday night.
STANLEY CUP: Rask shuts down Blackhawks, Bruins take 2-1 lead
The puck bounced off the post and rolled across the crease, away from the goal line. The red light flashed briefly, but replays would confirm that Tuukka Rask's shutout streak was intact.
For the last 122 minutes, 26 seconds of the Stanley Cup finals, the Bruins goalie has prevented Chicago from scoring.
New $15M scoreboards planned for Jazz arena
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NBA FINALS: Heat have no room for error versus Spurs in Game 6
They lost three times in three months in one of the most overpowering stretches the NBA has ever seen.
Now the Miami Heat have lost three times in five games.
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