The Lakers didn't do much defensively against the Boston Celtics on Friday night at TD Garden, until the final 3 minutes and 12 seconds when they finally clamped down and rallied for a 107-104 victory.
A Gerald Wallace layup gave the Celtics a 104-96 advantage in what looked like another defeat for the Lakers, who had lost 12 of their last 13 games.
The Celtics struggled to score but forced a jump ball with 18.3 seconds left. With two athletic players going for the ball in Wallace and Johnson, the initial tip went directly out of bounds. The officials originally rules it Lakers' ball but upon review of the replay called for a re-jump.
Ryan Kelly, who had a career night with 20 points, collected the tip and was intentionally fouled by the Celtics.
Kelly, who started the second half in place of Jordan Hill, calmly sank two free throws to finish the scoring for the night. Rajon Rondo, making his season debut after a knee injury last January, missed a three-point attempt as time expired.
Celtics rookie Kelly Olynyk had a hug night, scoring 25 points with seven assists and five rebounds.
Pau Gasol gave the Lakers 24 points, 13 rebounds and six assists. Kendall Marshall scored 19 points with 14 assists, but seven turnovers.
After only a single miscue in the first quarter, the Lakers finished the game with 20 turnovers -- nearly 21 until Kelly collected that late jump ball.
Meeks finished with 17 points while Johnson contributed 11 points and 11 rebounds. The Lakers shot 50% from the field and 60% from three-point range (12-20).
Boston shot 44.4% from the field, collected 13 offensive rebounds compared to the Lakers' eight, and turned the ball over only eight times. They Lakers took 28 free throws, making 21, to the Celtics' 11 attempts.
Rondo finished with eight points and four assists in just less than 20 minutes. Six Celtics scored in double figures: Wallace (14), Avery Bradley (12), Jeff Green (12), Jared Sullinger (11), Brandon Bass (11) and Olynyk.
The Lakers (15-25) continue their seven-game road trip on Sunday, visiting the Toronto Raptors (20-18) for a game at 10 a.m. Pacific time.
The Celtics (14-27) travel to Orlando to face the Magic (10-30) on Sunday.
Pau Gasol dominated the Celtics through three quarters with 22 points, nine rebounds and six assists, but the Lakers enter the fourth quarter down six points in Boston.
Rookie forward Kelly Olynyk leads the Celtics with 13 points off the bench. Boston also got 22 combined points from reserve forwards Gerald Wallace (12) and Brandon Bass (10) as the team is shooting 44.7% from the field.
The Lakers are shooting 48.3% but have turned the ball over 14 times.
After falling behind by 13 points, the Lakers rallied to score nine in a row until Celtics forward Jeff Green hit a hook shot with 3.3 seconds left.
Eight second-quarter turnovers shifted the game in favor of Boston, which was led by forward Gerald Wallace's 12 points off the bench.
Point guard Rajon Rondo, playing his first game since sustaining a knee injury last January, and Green both scored eight points for the Cletics, who shot 45.5% from the field.
Boston turned the ball over just twice in the first half, once each quarter.
Guard Manny Harris scored four points in his debut with the Lakers, who shot 50% from the field.
Rajon Rondo made his season debut, going scoreless in five minutes against the Lakers.
The Celtics scored 23 points despite making only 34.6% of their shots from the field.
Pau Gasol had eight points, six rebounds and three assists in a strong first quarter for the Lakers, who shot 50% from the field and committed only one turnover.
Jeff Green led the Celtics with six points. Boston kept close to the Lakers by pounding the offensive glass, with a 4-1 advantage.
Recently signed Manny Harris didn't score in almost six minutes of play.
The Lakers (14-25) play their second game of a seven-game road trip, visiting the Boston Celtics (14-26) at TD Garden on Friday night.
Rajon Rondo is expected to make his return after sitting out almost a year with a knee injury.
The Lakers have a long list of players out of action: Kobe Bryant (knee), Steve Nash (back), Steve Blake (elbow), Jordan Farmar (hamstring) and Xavier Henry (knee). They will also be without swingman Nick Young, who is suspended for throwing a punch in a game Wednesday against the Phoenix Suns.
Newcomer Manny Harris, freshly signed by the Lakers from the NBA Development League, could make his debut.
For a more in-depth breakdown, check out Preview: Lakers vs. Boston Celtics.
ALSO:Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun