2.14.2008

86 Cs (41-9) Down Lakers at Forum without McHale

The Celtics spoiled Sunday brunch at the Forum Club yesterday. Larry Bird, Dennis Johnson and an impressive quintet of green pine brothers drove Boston to a 105-99 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.

This was no blowout, but neither was there much doubt about which team would win. Stretch limos burned little midday oil waiting for disgusted, high- rolling cargo to give up. The Lakers never led after the first quarter and the Forum was virtually empty when the final buzzer sounded.

Afterward, the Celtics and Lakers pledged to renew their private party this spring, but dismissed the future impact of Boston's 2-0 regular-season sweep.

"I don't think anyone will remember," insisted dry-cleaned Laker coach Pat Riley. "I swear, I won't pull out the box score in May or June, if we're there then."

"This is my seventh year, and winning the season series hasn't mattered yet," added Bird (22 points, a season-high 18 rebounds, 7 assists).

OK, never mind the future. What about now?

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar admitted, "It was an important game for us to have won. If we had, it would have proved we were on a par with them. Now there is no reason for anyone to perceive us as a favorite."

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