By Agence France-Presse LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Lakers snapped the Boston Celtics' franchise-record, 19-game winning streak as Kobe Bryant scored a game-high 27 points in a 92-83 victory on Thursday at Staples Center arena. Pau Gasol added 20 for the Lakers, who finished the game on a 13-2 run to give coach Phil Jackson his 1,000th career win. "They had just won 19 straight games so they were due for one," Bryant said. "It was a challenge to stop the streak because they were playing so well." Entering the game, Boston (27-3) had engineered the best 29-game start to a season in history and matched the league's fourth-longest winning streak. The Celtics also are trying to defend their record 17th title, which they won in six games over the Lakers last June -- capping it all with a convincing 131-92 romp in game six. In this one, Los Angeles exacted a small measure of revenge thanks to Gasol who scored seven points during the decisive fourth-quarter run. "It was a nice playoff atmosphere. A little deja vu-ish," Gasol said. Boston took a two-point lead -- its only advantage in the fourth -- with 3:57 left, when Rajon Rondo found Kevin Garnett for a dunk. Bryant then nailed a tough fadeaway jumper as the Lakers never looked back. Bryant and Gasol then went to work for the Lakers' next three buckets. The reigning league MVP Brant found the Spanish centre for a jumper, passed to him out a double-team for a nifty floater and set up his scoop-shot, three-point play that made it 88-83 with 1:28 remaining. Gasol stepped out to help on Celtics sharpshooter Ray Allen, blocking his three-point attempt and igniting a one-man fast break that Trevor Ariza finished with a fancy reverse jam that made it 90-83. Bryant added a layup to provide the final margin with 26 seconds left. The Lakers also preserved an all-time record held by their 1972 club, which won 33 in a row en route to an NBA championship. Ironically, Boston shares the fourth-best streak with 2000 Lakers, who went on to win their first of three straight championships later that season. They also were guided by Jackson who becomes the sixth coach to hit the 1,000-win plateau. He now is 1,000-473 in 17-plus seasons with the Lakers and Chicago Bulls. "It was a good win," Jackson said. "We knew we wanted to win and we had the ability to do it." The first half was played with a championship intensity and palpable vigor from both teams. There were nine lead changes and three ties in the first two quarters. Things picked up where they left off in third thanks to Paul Pierce, who scored 12 points in the period and capped the Celtics' key 15-5 run with a fadeaway jumper with 3:30 remaining. The shot gave Boston its first lead 64-62 since the midway through the second. The Lakers provided an immediate response with their heralded bench on the floor, finishing the third on a 9-3 run to take a 71-67 lead after three. Jackson said at one point he had to take Bryant out of game because he was taking bad shots. "Kobe was taking shots that weren't there," Jackson said. "He had to sit a bit and come back rejuvenated and help us win." They improved to 14-0 at home when leading heading into the fourth quarter. Sasha Vujacic and Lamar Odom each added 10 points for the Los Angeles, which was dominated in the paint but received 22 points from its bench. Garnett scored 22 points and Pierce added all 20 of his points in the first three quarters for Boston, which will continue its road trip at the Golden State Warriors on Friday.
December 2008 Archives
Agence France-Presse BOSTON -- The Boston Celtics added another chapter to their storied history by setting a franchise record with their 19th consecutive victory on Tuesday. Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo each scored 18 points in a 110-91 win over the Philadelphia 76ers. The Celtics, who surpassed the club mark set by the 1981-1982 team, now are 27-2, the best 29-game start in National Basketball Association history. "We just want to keep playing, and we want to keep winning, and we want to try to keep getting better," coach Doc Rivers said. Their next game is on Christmas Day in Los Angeles in an NBA Finals rematch with the Los Angeles Lakers, who hold the all-time record with 33 straight wins in 1972 - the longest winning streak in the history of pro sports. The sellout crowd chanted "Beat L.A." in the closing moments as Boston prepared for a red-eye, cross-country flight to Los Angeles. "If you don't win the championship, all that goes out the window," Garnett said. "If you don't win it at the end, then it's pretty much meaningless. Our ultimate goal is to win this thing again and get better as we go." Said Rivers, "Yeah, that (cheer) was nice. That was really cool, yeah. Well, we are now, because that's our next opponent. They started and it was still a 14-point game with five minutes left. "To me, I was like, 'Wait two or three more minutes, please.' And then, it was nice. Our crowd is a very smart basketball crowd, so they're looking forward to it." Louis Williams and Marreese Speights scored 16 apiece for the 76ers, who showed early on they were not going to be intimidated by the streak or the record. Miller scored 10 in the opening quarter as the visitors led by as many as four. But trailing 22-18 Boston scored the next six points, taking the lead for good 23-22 when Garnett sank an 18-foot straight-away jumper with 2:02 remaining in the first. As they have many times in their historic run, the Celtics took control in the third quarter, outscoring the Sixers 16-8 to open a 74-52 lead. But unlike many teams, Philadelphia countered and drew to within 12 at 78-66 heading into the final quarter. The Sixers could get no closer in the fourth quarter as the Celtics won their final contest before heading out on a four-game West Coast swing against the Lakers, Golden State Warriors, Sacramento Kings and Portland Trail Blazers. Philadelphia lost its second straight after winning its first three under interim coach Tony DiLeo. Maurice Cheeks was Philadelphia's coach when the 76ers were blown out by the Celtics, 102-78, on November 28 - win No. 7 in the streak. Boston's only two losses are to Indiana on November 1 - the third game of the season - and to Denver at home on November 14. The loss to the Nuggets was the last before the streak began at Milwaukee in overtime on November 15.
By Agence France-Presse BOSTON -- The Boston Celtics equaled a franchise record Sunday with their 18th straight National Basketball Association victory, a 124-105 thrashing of the New York Knicks. Rajon Rondo scored 18 of his career-high 26 points in the third period, finishing an impressive 12-of-14 from the floor. The Celtics shot a season-high 66 percent from the floor in matching the best 28-game start in NBA history. With a win on Tuesday at home against Philadelphia the Celtics could become the first team to open a season 27-2. Ray Allen scored 18 for the Celtics, whose winning streak tied the 18-game streak set by the club in 1981-82. Boston's two 18-game streaks and one built by the 1969-70 Knicks are tied for fifth-longest in NBA history. It's all the more remarkable since while the Celtics are the reigning NBA champions, they are just two years removed from a franchise-worst 18-game losing streak. The Celtics dropped 18 in a row during a woeful 2006-07 campaign that came months before it assembled last season's championship squad. Paul Pierce scored 17 points, Kendrick Perkins added 12 with 12 rebounds. The Celtics had a double-digit lead less than four minutes into the contest and led 40-21 at the end of the first quarter. New York's Nate Robinson scored 17 of his 23 points in the second quarter as the Knicks pulled within eight points at halftime. They cut their deficit to six on two occasions in the third, but the Celtics always had an answer.
FOR the first time, a team of Filipinos have completed the longest race in North America, the NASA 25 Hours of Thunderhill presented by the U.S. Air Force. Gaby Dela Merced, Robbie Montinola and Angelo Barretto co-drove the Team Castrol-STR BMW M3 to a 6th place finish in class and a 12th place finish overall, out of 68 racecars. After qualifying 3rd place in class, the team started the race off strong and developed a solid pace to keep the car intact for the 25-hour race. Driver changes went flawless, pit stops were excellent and the Team Castrol-STR strategy was working well. Only one unscheduled pit stop was made during the first half of the race and all the drivers drove great stints. As the race reached darkness, thick fog began to roll in and the race was stopped due to the dangerous conditions. The race resumed around 5 a.m. and it became an all out sprint to the finish. "The fog was unfortunate, we had a strong car at night with very capable drivers and I felt we would pull away during the dark," said Montinola. "Overall, the car was great and the Team Castrol-STR crew did an amazing job. It was a close race to the finish and I believe we can win next year." During the morning stints, a few unscheduled pit stops had to be made due to a flat tire and a change of brake pads. After that, the drivers were given the go-ahead to run flat out until the finish. Running a very fast pace, the Team Castrol-STR M3 was making up time and gaining positions but fell short of time and crossed the line in 6th place. "Just finishing is an amazing feat and a Top 10 finish is a great place to build off of for next year," said Montinola. "We know what we need to do for 2009 and have a whole year to prepare for this race. We'll go for the win." Dela Merced, who not only was participating in her first long-distance race, but also racing at Thunderhill for the first time, added, "...things were so different from what I am used to. I have a new respect for the challenges of endurance racing." She also stressed teamwork was involved, adding, "...Robbie coached me over the radio and Angelo helped me to prepare mentally for driver changes and passing slower traffic." Barretto assessed the race as a success in terms of the Team Philippines Racing program saying, "...the first race that we've run together has demonstrated that the talent is there and that it is worth developing." He also complimented them adding that, "Robbie used his intimate track knowledge to gain time on our rivals and push the pace after passing them, while Gaby adapted quickly to the additional elements of an endurance race such as speedy driver changes, and negotiating through traffic and drivers of different levels." "I was particularly impressed with the dynamic of the Team," Barretto stressed. "They shared their knowledge and resources openly with us and gave us a great opportunity to go for a win out there." Officially the 2008 racing season is now over and our drivers will prepare for the 2009 season. Dela Merced hopes to be able to do sprint events in the USA, Montinola is working on an Indy Lights or ALMS program and Barretto will return to America to race in sports cars again. The Filipinos are making waves in international motor sports and hope to bring home many more championships. The NASA 25 Hours of Thunderhill is the longest endurance race in the United States. Sanctioned by NASA, the National Auto Sport Association, The 25 Hours of Thunderhill features a large field nonstop action and prestige of the event attract top teams and drivers from across the country to compete in this race. It takes place at Thunderhill Raceway Park, a few hours north of the San Francisco Bay Area. Castrol Philippines, Speed Trapp Racing, Edge Motorworks, Sennheiser, Skip Barber Racing School, Puma, Tag Heuer Sportvision, TPR Magazine and Xenon Bulbs supported the Castrol Team STR.
By Izah Morales IT was not yet Friday but many have gathered at the Black Nazarene Church in Quiapo not to hear mass. They were there to catch a glimpse of the victorious Manny Pacquiao. At around 8:00 in the morning, the siren went off in Plaza Miranda as Pacquiao and his entourage arrived. The once solemn atmosphere in the Church was quickly filled with cheers as Pacquiao entered. People who were seated in the Church silently, stood up. Others even forgot they were inside the Church as they climbed on top of pews to have a better view of the boxing champion. The police took about 30 minutes to settle the rowdy crowd inside the Church. After priest gave his final blessings, Pacquiao was asked to give a message to the people. During his message, Pacquiao thanked the people and attributed his success to God. He talked about the criticisms he got from some sportswriters before his bout with Oscar de la Hoya. But he said he did not lose hope as he kept his faith in God. Pacquiao told the crowd, “Don’t tell God that [you] have a big problem. [B]ut tell your problem [that you] have a big God.” As he went out of the Church, people brought out their phone cameras and took photographs. They followed him until he got into his land cruiser. One man screamed, “Idol kita, Manny!” as if saying that Pacquiao has always been their champion.
(Video courtesy of Solar Sports) IT was a lopsided fight with Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao dominating every round. At the end of the eight round, Oscar "The Golden Boy" De La Hoya threw in the towel, and the fight was over. Pacquiao won via technical knockout over De La Hoya. Pacquiao proved to be the better fighter. His straight left proved an efficient weapon against De La Hoya who was unable to shake off Pacquiao. The Filipino fighter who was landing punches at will was just too fast for De La Hoya. You can read the round-per-round updates of the fight from here. +++ The following are notes from INQUIRER.net US Sales Director Esther Misa-Chavez who was in the US to witness the fight. Manny Pacquiao not only did himself proud Sunday (Saturday night in Las Vegas) but carried the country on his shoulders to victory. Thanking his kababayans, he spoke in Tagalog to extend his appreciation to everyone who has supported him. From post-fight press conference at the MGM Grand Media Room: A lot of experts had to eat crow tonight for doubting the mighty pound-for-pound king of the world. Of the three major fights he had this year, the victor spoke to the media right after the fight wearing a blue suit and necktie, looked every bit a CEO announcing his latest acquisition. And so he did with finesse.He showed very little bruising on his face, smiling as always and graciously acknowledged his opponent, De La Hoya, who was a no show for medical reasons. Manny Pacquiao's exhaustive training has paid off, the coveted dream was his. *** Pacquiao fans from all over the world came wearing his colors and unabashedly showed them off. Latino celebrities notwithstanding, from Mark Anthony, Jennifer Lopez, Eva Longoria, Mario Lopez, George Lopez and others who came to see the fight and cheer the " "Golden Boy" De La Hoya could not squash the fighting spirit of the man of the hour and his loyal supporters. This time, they were no match.
MANNY Pacquiao and Freddie Roach were swarmed by journalists for closer personal shots and interview right after the final media presentation of both fighters at the Hollywood Theater, inside the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. "The Dream Match: Dela Hoya vs. Pacquiao" is slated December 6 (morning of December 7 in the Philippines) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Here are more pre-fight videos on the upcoming Pacquiao-Oscar De La Hoya fight. Three days before the Dream Match, oddsmakers still favor Oscar dela Hoya over Manny Pacquiao but Richard Stern, President and COO of MGM, Mirage Entertainment and Sports, says the difference between the two fighters is getting slimmer and that other factors might reveal themselves on fight night itself. Top Rank CEO Bob Arum presents Team Pacquiao to the media on December 3. Manny "The Pacman" Pacquiao is joined by, among others, trainer Freddie Roach, Wakee Salud and Luis "Chavit" Singson. Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao who is going up against Oscar "Golden Boy" dela Hoya in a match the world is anxiously anticipating, is clad in a dark suit and tie during a press briefing. Pacquiao says that the fight is "nothing personal," that he is "just doing his job," and will do his best to give the viewers a good show. We also asked our fellow Filipino fans about the upcoming fight, and guess who they favor ;-) You can find the latest stories, video, running account and updates from the The Pacquiao Files. Photo and video taken by INQUIRER.net US Sales Director Esther Misa-Chavez.