By Gethin Coolbaugh
BOSTON – When Lakers coach Phil Jackson was asked about his thoughts about Celtics captain Paul Pierce’s comments about not returning to L.A., he simply smiled and uttered two words.
“We’re ready,” Jackson said.
Kobe Bryant scored a game-high 29 points and had 7 rebounds and four assists as Los Angeles cruised to a 91-84 victory over Boston in Game 3 of the NBA Finals at TD Garden on Tuesday night.
Bryant was aided by four-time champion Derek Fisher, who totaled 16 points and three rebounds in 40 minutes.
After the Celtics jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead, the Lakers fought their way back into the game and took a 26-17 lead into the second quarter.
Los Angeles outscored Boston 26-23 in the second quarter to take a 52-40 lead at the break.
The Celtics outscored the Lakers 21-15 in the third quarter but were outscored 24-23 in the fourth.
Pau Gasol put in another strong performance, amassing 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Andrew Bynum scored nine points and had 10 points and Ron Artest added two points and three rebounds in 23 minutes.
Lamar Odom paced the Lakers bench with 12 points in nearly 28 minutes. Shannon Brown scored four points and Luke Walton, Jordan Farmar and Sasha Vujacic each scored two points.
After a pedestrian performance in Game 2, Kevin Garnett turned out a solid effort in Game 3, totaling a team-high 25 points and six rebounds.
Ray Allen, who set an NBA Finals record with eight three-pointers in Game 2, missed all 13 shots from the field and finished with a dismal two points and four rebounds in 42 minutes.
Paul Pierce added 15 points and Rajon Rondo scored 11 points and had eight assists.
Kendrick Perkins totaled five points and 11 rebounds in 21 minutes for Boston.
Glen Davis scored 12 points in 23 minutes off the bench for the Celtics.
Tony Allen had seven points, Nate Robinson scored five points and Rasheed Wallace added two points.
Boston made 32-of-73 shots to shoot 43.8% and connected on 4-of-18 three pointers (22.2%) and 16-of-24 free throws (66.7%).
Los Angeles hit 34-of-76 shots to shoot 44.7% and made 2-of-15 three pointers (13.3%) and 21-of-24 free throws (87.5%).
The Celtics collected 35 rebounds, 20 assists 10 turnovers, four steals and two blocks.
The Lakers amassed 43 rebounds, 13 assists, eight turnovers, two steals and seven blocks.
In addition, Boston had 27 team fouls while the Lakers had 20.
The victory gave Los Angeles a 2-1 lead in the best of seven series.
The Celtics will host the Lakers twice more before the series returns to Staples center for games six and seven if necessary.
Boston hosts Los Angeles in Game 4 of the NBA Finals at TD Garden on Thursday night at 9 p.m. EST (TV/Radio: ABC, TSN/WEEI).
Gethin Coolbaugh is the Associate Editor of Boston Sports U18. He can be reached at 774-279-1995 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit Gethin Coolbaugh’s official website and follow Gethin Coolbaugh on Twitter.