Celtics Beat Lakers To Clinch Playoff Spot

By GREG BEACHAM
AP Sports Writer

       LOS ANGELES (AP) – Isaiah Thomas scored 26 points and the Boston Celtics clinched a playoff berth while besting Kobe Bryant for the final time with a 107-100 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday night.

        Jae Crowder added 22 points for the Celtics, who blew an early 17-point lead and survived a tense fourth quarter in their first game since snapping the Golden State Warriors’ NBA-record 54-game home winning streak.

        Bryant scored 34 points in his final showdown with the Lakers’ historic rivals, putting up the second highest-scoring performance of his farewell season.

        He hit a jumper with 56 seconds left, and Julius Randle’s three-point play moments later trimmed Boston’s lead to four points. But Bryant missed two late jumpers, and the Celtics secured their eighth playoff berth in nine years.

        AP-WF-04-04-16 0406GMT