LOS ANGELES — The six-month wait is over. The Los Angeles Lakers can put the anguish of losing the NBA Finals to the Boston Celtics and the embarrassment over the way the series ended behind them.
Kobe Bryant had 27 points, nine rebounds and five assists, Pau Gasol scored seven of his 20 points in the final three minutes, and the Lakers used a strong finish to beat Boston 92-83 Thursday, snapping the Celtics' franchise-record 19-game winning streak.
The game was the first between the teams since the Celtics romped to a 131-92 victory in Game 6 of the finals last June to win their first championship in 22 years. The Lakers blew a 24-point second-quarter lead in Game 4 at Staples Center to fall behind 3-1 — a deficit that's never been overcome in the finals.
The teams have been archrivals since the 1960s, having met 11 times in the finals, with the Celtics going 9-2.
"We've been waiting for that opportunity for a long time, and we won," said Lakers guard Sasha Vujacic, who scored 10 points. "I don't like them at all. A lot of people called us softies or whatever. It doesn't matter at all. We know what we can do.
"Last year, they won the championship. This year, it's our year, we want to take it all the way."
The victory was the 1,000th for Los Angeles' Phil Jackson, enabling him to become the sixth NBA coach to reach that milestone. The 63-year-old Jackson has a career record of 1,000-423 in 17-plus seasons as coach of the Chicago Bulls and Lakers. He became the fastest to win 1,000 games, surpassing Pat Riley, who did it in 1,434 games.
"It's amazing. I mean, he's one of the greatest coaches of all time," Celtics Coach Doc Rivers said. "I can guarantee you that I won't win 1,000 games because I won't be around that long. It's just an amazing number. When you throw up 1,000 wins, that says a lot."
The Celtics entered with a 27-2 record — the fastest start by a two-loss team. They were in pretty good shape when Kevin Garnett dunked off a feed from Rajon Rondo to put them ahead 81-79 with 3:57 remaining. But the Lakers went on a 13-2 run to finish the game.
"Give them all the credit," said Boston's Paul Pierce, who had 20 points and 10 rebounds but was scoreless in the fourth quarter. "We just have to play better down the stretch."
Gasol missed his first four shots, and showed frustration at times. But he made all three of his shots and all three of his free throws in the fourth quarter for nine of his team's 21 points.
"We were pretty physical," said Gasol, who had three rebounds, five assists and three blocked shots. "We were able to contain them, keep our poise and finish the game off. I had to make sure I took it to them, not settle for easy jumpers. I'm glad I was able to get over that hump of a slow start.
"It shows we can beat anybody. Hopefully, we'll build on it."
Jackson said the Lakers played excellent defense in the fourth quarter, when they held the Celtics to 16 points. Boston shot 8-for-19 and was 0-for-7 on three-pointers in the final period.
"I'm really happy with Pau," Jackson said. "He stepped up in that fourth quarter and we really needed him."
Lamar Odom had 10 points and seven rebounds for the Lakers (24-5), who won their 12th straight game at home, where they're 15-1. Andrew Bynum, who missed most of last season and the playoffs with an injured knee, had nine points and seven rebounds.
Garnett shot 11-for-14 in leading the Celtics (27-3) with 22 points and nine rebounds. Ray Allen scored 14, but went 2-for-11 after making his first three shots. Rondo was held to six points, shooting 3-for-11, but had 12 assists.
"They played great, give them credit," Rivers said. "For a team that has been phenomenal down a stretch of games, I didn't think we were very good tonight. We've been as composed as any team that I've seen in a long time, and I thought quite honestly that we lost it a little bit at the end."
A 15-foot jumper by Gasol with 2:48 left snapped an 81-all tie and put the Lakers ahead for good. Allen's three-pointer failed, and Gasol scored from close range off an assist from Bryant with two minutes left, putting Los Angeles up by four and sending the crowd of 18,997 into a frenzy.
Garnett answered with a jumper to draw the Celtics within two, but Gasol's three-point play with 1:28 left put the Lakers on top 88-83. Gasol then blocked a three-pointer by Allen, setting up Trevor Ariza for a dunk that gave Los Angeles a seven-point lead with 1:12 to go.