Los Angeles Lakers defeat Boston Celtics, 103-98

Lakers beat Celtics to avoid elimination LOS ANGELES - The champagne was taken off ice.

The championship hats and T-shirts were kept in boxes and sent back to Boston. And after being in position to win a championship for the first time in 22 years late last night, the Larry O'Brien Trophy slipped out of the Celtics' hands and left them hoping to celebrate back in Boston now.

Despite a 38-point effort from Paul Pierce, the Celtics lost, 103-98, to the Lakers in Game 5...

LOS ANGELES - Not so fast, my friend.

If the Celtics are to win championship No. 17, it will have to be in TD Banknorth Garden. But be advised that it could very easily have taken place here at Staples Center last night.

The Lakers are alive, thanks to a 103-98 victory over the Celtics in Game 5 of the NBA Finals. But they have very little to be proud of. Yes, they pulled out a home-court victory. But once again they squandered leads that should have made life simple...

LOS ANGELES - Celtics fans who've waited 22 years for another banner will have to wait a little longer.

The 62d NBA championship will be won in the New Boston Garden. The Lakers made this a certainty last night with a 103-98 victory over the Celtics at Staples Center.

Tomorrow night, the Celtics will be playing a record 26th playoff game and have all the numbers on their side. No NBA team has blown a 3-1 lead in the Finals. No road team has won Games 6 and 7 in the F...