Lakers Rally in 4th Quarter to Win Game 3 at Home, 87-81

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(LOS ANGELES) - In front of a constellation of Hollywood stars which included Jack Nicholson, Matt Damon, and Sylvester Stallone, the desperate Los Angeles Lakers struggled to keep up in Game 3 of the NBA Finals before they rallied in the 4th quarter to subdue the Boston Celtics for an 87-81 victory.

Ray Allen scored 25 points for the Celtics, but Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett were a combined 8-for-35 from the floor.

Pierce, an LA native playing his first playoff game before a hometown crowd, fell into foul trouble early and missed his first five shots on the way to 2-for-14 shooting.

Garnett missed his first seven shots but still had a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds, while making a few key shots to give the Celtics a short-lived lead in the 3rd quarter.

But no one could stop Sasha Vujacic and Kobe Bryant, who carried the Lakers.

Vujacic shot 70% from the floor and had a post-season high 20 points. Backcourt teammate Bryant bucketed 36 points, leading all scorers, including a twisting floater with :38 left.

Los Angeles avoided the near-impossible roadblock of needing four consecutive triumphs. No NBA team has overcome a 3-0 lead in any playoff series (0-for-85).

The Lakers, 9-0 at the Staples Center this postseason, trail the Celtics 2-1 in the best-of-seven series. Boston is only 2-8 on the road this post-season.

Game 4 is Thursday night.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)