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 LOS ANGELES (AP) - Lamar Odom hit his first seven shots from the field and scored 15 points as the Los Angeles Lakers took a 58-40 halftime lead over the Boston Celtics in Game 4 of the NBA finals Thursday night.
The Lakers led by a finals-record 21 points after the first quarter.
The Lakers were attempting to beat Boston for the second straight game and even the best-of-seven series. Odom scored 13 points in the first quarter to help Los Angeles open the 35-14 lead - the biggest first-quarter lead in the history of the NBA finals.
The Celtics won the first two games at home, and the Lakers were hoping to do the same in Los Angeles and force the series back to Boston. Game 5 is Sunday night in Los Angeles before the series would move back to Boston for games on Tuesday and Thursday, if necessary.
Coming off the Lakers' 87-81 victory in Game 3, the Staples Center was more lively and actually full by the national anthem as fans cheered ``MVP!'' for Kobe Bryant and waved their purple Lakers flags. With Dustin, Justin and Jack looking on from courtside, the Lakers jumped to a big lead.
Early in the first quarter, minutes after commissioner David Stern held a news conference to deny allegations from former referee Tim Donaghy that officials manipulate games, Celtics coach Doc Rivers was whistled for a technical for complaining about consecutive non-calls.
Derek Fisher missed the free throw, but the Lakers still went ahead 9-2. They led 16-6 after six minutes when Kevin Garnett left the game with two fouls; point guard Rajon Rondo, who missed practice on Wednesday with a bone bruise in his left ankle, followed him to the bench and the Lakers quickly made it a 19-point lead.
Boston missed nine consecutive shots, and Garnett and Paul Pierce started a combined 0-for-6 as they continued to struggle in L.A.
Bryant was 0-for-4 from the field but had six assists, and Odom and Pau Gasol showed signs of snapping out of their Game 3 problems for the Lakers. Odom had eight rebounds in the first half and Gasol scored 10 points.
Eddie House's runner in the lane in the final minute of the opening period helped the Celtics avoid posting the lowest-scoring first quarter in NBA finals history. The record remains 13, by the Fort Wayne Pistons in 1955.
But the 21-point first-quarter lead surpassed the 36-16 Los Angeles took after 12 minutes in Game 6 of the 1970 finals against the New York Knicks. The Lakers won that game 135-113, but in the finale of that series Willis Reed famously limped back onto the court to inspire his New York teammates to victory in Game 7.
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