Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - In their first game since the death of
Jerry Buss, it was only appropriate that the Los Angeles Lakers took the floor
against a storied rival.
And it was only fitting that the Lakers walked off the court Wednesday with a
113-99 win over the Boston Celtics.
Buss, who was 80 years old, passed away Monday due to kidney failure.
According to a statement released by the family through the Lakers, Buss had
been hospitalized much of the past 18 months.
A video tribute of the former charismatic and beloved owner was shown and Kobe
Bryant addressed the crowd prior to the contest. A memorial service for Buss
will be held Thursday at Nokia Theatre across the Staples Center. The players
will wear a circular purple patch with the gold initials "JB" on their jerseys
for the remainder of the season.
Buss purchased the Lakers, as well as the NHL's Kings and the Forum, in 1979
from Jack Kent Cooke for a reported $67 million. The Lakers have won 10 of
their 16 NBA titles under Buss' stewardship, but are still one championship
behind the Celtics. The two combatants have matched up five times in the
Finals since 1980, with Los Angeles prevailing in three of those series, most
recently in 2010.
Buss was more than just a figurehead of the Lakers and leaves behind a winning
legacy. He was a pioneer to the Lakers' 1980s' "Showtime" days under the likes
of Magic Johnson, James Worthy and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Buss' latest eye-popping move was acquiring center Dwight Howard from the
Orlando Magic in a four-team deal that sent two-time NBA champion big man
Andrew Bynum to the Philadelphia 76ers. So far Howard hasn't meshed with
Bryant, although the big man came through with a 24-point, 12-rebound effort
Bryant added 16 points and seven assists for Los Angeles, which has won 10 of
the last 15 meetings in this series. Earl Clark had 14 points and 16 boards in
The Celtics have lost back-to-back tilts to begin a five-game western trek.
Boston, which had won eight of its last nine prior to the road trip, fell to
0-7 on the road against Western Conference opponents this season.
Paul Pierce netted 26 points in defeat.
The Lakers led 36-27 after a quarter of play and took a 64-55 advantage into
the break before blowing the game open with a 10-2 run to begin the third.
Clark capped the burst with a dunk to make it 75-57. The Lakers took a 90-76
edge after three and their margin reached its apex at 22 in the final frame.
The Lakers' Steve Nash surpassed Johnson for fourth place on the all-time
assists list ... Los Angeles is 9-4 over its last 13 games ... The Lakers held
a 54-30 points in the paint advantage.
The Sports Network