The familiar ''Beat LA!'' chant started in the third quarter.
It's easier to do that now than it was during most of the Lakers-Celtics rivalry. But there's still something special when the teams who have met in a record 12 NBA Finals face each other, even if they've been struggling just to reach the playoffs.
''No matter what direction these teams are going, it'll always be a rivalry,'' Paul Pierce said. ''Everybody's always going to watch.''
On Thursday night, they saw a 116-95 rout by Boston, its biggest win of the season and Los Angeles' worst loss.
The Lakers got Dwight Howard back after he missed three games with a sore right shoulder. He had nine points and nine rebounds in 28 minutes before fouling out with 5:07 left.
''There were a couple times where I felt'' pain in the shoulder, he said. ''I just tried not to think about it.''
But they were without Pau Gasol for the first time since he was diagnosed with a torn plantar fascia in his right foot that will sideline him ...