Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers ran out of time on Sunday.
Perhaps their amazing fourth-quarter comeback was enough to give them hope in a most difficult situation.
Bryant scored 13 of his 30 points in the last 7:40 as the Lakers erased all but two points of a 24-point deficit before losing to the Boston Celtics 108-102 in Game 2 of the NBA finals.
“It’s something we can take from, absolutely. Understand we played harder,” Bryant said.
“We played with a sense of desperation and more aggression, and I think that’s something for us to take home and learn from. They took care of business at home, and we’ve got to go home and try to do the same thing,” he said.
Only three teams have ever recovered from the 2-0 deficit Los Angeles faces to win the finals, but the teams play the next three games at Staples Center, where the Lakers are 8-0 in the postseason.
They have won 14 straight since last losing on March 28.
“We’ve come too far to really sweat being down 2-0,” Bryant said. “We’re going to go home and handle our business.”
Bryant, who shot 9-for-26 and scored 24 points in a 98-88 loss in Game 1, shot 11-for-23 on Sunday night, and also had five of his eight assists in the final period.
The Lakers had only themselves to blame for falling so far behind. They were within nine points before being outscored 27-12 to finish the third quarter and start the fourth, mainly because of a sieve-like defense.
It was never more flagrant than when unheralded Leon Powe, who scored a career playoff high 21 points in less than 15 minutes, cruised down the lane for a dunk early in the fourth quarter. There was simply no resistance.
Bryant appeared animated at times during timeouts. When asked what he was telling his teammates, the MVP replied: “It was beep, beep, beep, Eddie Murphy Raw times 10.”
The Lakers were plagued by foul problems all night and this was reflected at the foul line, where the Celtics shot 27-for-38 while the Lakers were just 10-for-10.
The Lakers’ bench was abysmal at times, but came alive to score 18 points in the final period.
These included six each by Jordan Farmar and Slovenian Sasha Vujacic.
Vujacic had a chance to bring the Lakers within one point with about 15 seconds left, but his 3-pointer was blocked by Paul Pierce.
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