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Yet when it counted, nobody could produce. Allen missed a 3-pointer and a jumper. Kevin Garnett missed an open jumper. Brandon Bass missed one of his customary midrange jumpers after hitting seven of his previous eight shots. And, under pressure, Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo missed last-second 3-point attempts.
“The problem was we couldn’t get any stops,’’ Pierce said about the final three minutes. “Kobe made some tough shots. They went down to Bynum and [Pau] Gasol. I thought we probably fouled too much down the stretch. I thought we had great looks, though.’’
The Celtics had shot 64.7 percent (22 for 34) in the second half entering the final 2:41. Allen and Bass were making jumpers. Garnett’s stepback was falling, and Pierce, who was 2 of 11 in the first half, played distributor in the second.
“In the fourth...