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Page last updated at 07:29 GMT, Wednesday, 11 June 2008 08:29 UK

Lakers fight back in NBA finals

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NBA Highlights: LA Lakers v Boston

Kobe Bryant led the way with 36 points as the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Boston Celtics 87-81 to win game three of the NBA finals.

The Lakers now trail 2-1 in the best-of-seven series, but play the next two games on their home court.

Bryant was helped by Slovenia's Sasha Vujacic with 20 points, including a crucial late three-pointer.

Ray Allen scored 25 points for the Celtics but both Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce produced below-par performances.

Garnett grabbed 12 rebounds but made just six of 21 shots, while California native Pierce contributed just six points.

The Lakers went into the game knowing defeat would almost certainly end their hopes of a 15th NBA title, with no team ever having come back from a 3-0 deficit in the play-offs.

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But they responded with their ninth consecutive home win in this season's play-offs and they can now tie the series with victory at the Staples Center on Thursday.

Despite a poor shooting performance the Celtics, who had beaten the Lakers in all four previous meetings this season, led by two points going into the final quarter.

But they then missed nine of their first 11 field-goal attempts in the fourth quarter and regular season Most Valuable Player Bryant scored five points and centre Pau Gasol added another four in a 11-2 run.

The Celtics pulled back to within two points before Vujacic's three-pointer from the corner, two free throws from Derek Fisher and a pair of baskets from Bryant saw them home.

see also
Celtics win to extend finals lead
09 Jun 08 |  Basketball
Celtics see off Lakers in opener
06 Jun 08 |  Basketball
Bryant leads LA Lakers into final
30 May 08 |  Basketball
Boston edge Pistons to make final
31 May 08 |  Basketball
Basketball results
12 Oct 00 |  Basketball

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