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                === Celtics stay hot by steamrolling Lakers ===
 
 Boston,  MA (Sports Network) - The Boston Celtics have yet to lose since Rajon
 Rondo  suffered a torn  ACL, and none of their six wins following the All-Star
 point  guard's  injury were as impressive  as Thursday's 116-95 pasting of the
 rival Los Angeles Lakers.
 
 Paul  Pierce  led the way  with 24 points, seven  rebounds and six assists for
 the Celtics, who shot 53 percent from the field and led by as many as 32. Jeff
 Green  donated  19 points off  the bench, while  Jason Terry and Kevin Garnett
 added 15 apiece in the rout.
 
 "Whenever  you match up  against the Lakers, it always feels good to give them
 the old fashioned beat down  at your house,"  said Pierce.  "It doesn't matter
 what direction  this team is going,  there will always be a rivalry.  You know
 everybody's always going to watch and it feels good to win like that."
 
 The Lakers welcomed back Dwight Howard, who missed three straight games with a
 shoulder  injury, but the All-Star center was a virtual non-factor in totaling
 nine points and nine rebounds before fouling out in the fourth quarter.
 
 Kobe  Bryant netted 27  points and did not record an assist for just the third
 time this season, as LA fell to 3-2 on its seven-game road swing.
 
 "It's  typical  Celtics basketball. They  all just put  their hard hats on and
 they  go  out, go  hard and figure  things out," Bryant  said. "It always just
 seems like whenever their backs are against the wall, you know that's when you
 really see the best from them."
 
 Earlier  Thursday,  the Lakers confirmed forward  Pau Gasol will miss at least
 6-to-8 weeks due to a tear of his plantar fascia in his right foot.
 
 The news continued getting worse shortly after things tipped off at TD Garden.
 
 The  Celtics, losers of  six in a row prior to Rondo going down,  scored eight
 of  the  first 10 points of  the second quarter  to build a 35-25 cushion, and
 went into halftime holding a healthy 58-44 lead.
 
 They really turned it on in the third frame, making 16-of-21 (76 percent) from
 the field to build a 26-point advantage at 95-69 heading to the fourth.
 
 During  a quarter-ending  14-3 run, Green threw down a thunderous dunk and got
 back  on defense to  block Antawn Jamison at the rim. At the other end, Pierce
 drained  a  3-pointer to cap his  12-point frame, and both teams emptied their
 benches in the fourth with the outcome no longer in doubt.
 
 "That was a great game by our guys, ball movement, pace," Celtics head coach
 Doc Rivers said. "During the six-game streak we've had a lot of lessons."
 
 
                                   Game Notes
 
 The  Celtics won both  games of a back-to-back for the second time this season
 ...  Garnett  passed Elvin Hayes  for 12th place  on the all-time games played
 list  and  sits three  behind Buck  Williams (1,307) for  11th. With his sixth
 point,  he  also reached the  25,000-point plateau  ... The Lakers are winless
 this  season  on the  front end  of road/road  back-to-backs (0-6) ... Celtics
 rookie Fab Melo recorded his first career field goal in the fourth quarter ...
 Lakers forward Metta World Peace, who was suspended for Tuesday's win over the
 Nets, scored five points on 2-of-13 shooting ... The Lakers took both meetings
 in last season's series and had won four straight in Boston.
 
 
 
 02/08 01:27:12 ET

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