—The New York Daily News’ Frank Isola reports Kobe Bryant may return to Italy if he doesn’t agree with the terms of a new collective bargaining agreement. Isola quotes an unnamed teammate who said that Bryant recently threatened, “I’ll play in Europe” when they were discussing the potential of an NBA lockout this summer and the ramifications of a new agreement.
—The Times’ Mike Bresnahan calls the Lakers’ 92-86 victory over the Boston Celtics the most important win of the season.
—The Boston Globe’s Julian Benbow explains how the Celtics folded down the stretch.
—The Orange County Register’s Kevin Ding argues that the Lakers passed a huge test by beating the Celtics.
—The Times’ Bresnahan reports that Lakers Coach Phil Jackson asked longtime friend and sports psychologist George Mumford to talk to the players several hours before the Lakers-Celtics game.
—The Orange County Register’s Ding talks about the eight stitches Lamar Odom had to the head.
—The Boston Herald’s Mark Murphy provides a timetable for Delonte West’s return.
—The Daily News’ Teaford looks at Jackson’s reaction to Jerry Sloan’s decision to step down as Utah’s head coach.
—The Associated Press reports that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s recent tweet that he’s “cancer free” is a misstatement and that it’s at a “minimum.”
—The Boston Herald’s Steve Bulpett talks about Ray Allen breaking Reggie Miller’s record for the most three-pointers in NBA history.
—Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix focuses on Allen’s work ethic.
—ESPN Boston’s Peter May highlights Allen’s career.
—The Times’ Bill Plaschke expresses giddiness over the Lakers’ win over Boston.
—The Times’ Mark Heisler looks at Sloan’s departure.
—NBA.com’s Steve Aschburner spotlights the Lakers’ toughness against Boston.
—The Daily News’ Vincent Bonsignore points out why the supposed trade talk involving Carmelo Anthony and the Lakers is ridiculous.
—The Boston Herald’s Ron Borges praises Allen’s longevity.
—ESPN Boston’s Chris Forsberg argues that the Celtics shouldn’t worry too much about their loss to the Lakers.
—ESPN Los Angeles’ Dave McMenamin notes Bryant’s second-half dominance against Boston.
—ESPN Los Angeles’ Ramona Shelburne says the Lakers’ patience during adverse moments finally paid off.
—Sports Illustrated’s Ian Thomsen argues that the Lakers took advantage of Boston’s depleted lineup.
—Fox Sports’ Billy Witz says Andrew Bynum’s effort showed why the Lakers need him.
—Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski maintains that Bryant has set out to prove his critics wrong once again.
—The Boston Globe’s Gary Dzen highlights Allen’s record-setting night.
—ESPN Los Angeles’ Brian Kamenetzky breaks down the Lakers’ victory over the Celtics.
—Celtics Blog’s Jeff Clark says he feared that Boston would lose.
—Lakers.com’s Mike Trudell offers a running diary.
—Forum Blue and Gold’s Darius Soriano argues that the Lakers played smarter than the Celtics.
—Silver Screen and Roll’s Dexter Fishmore likes how the Lakers worked the ball on offense.
Tweet of the Day: “That @Lakers performance tells me that the players don’t want Melo and definitely want Bynum to stay” — landondonovan (Galaxy and U.S. forward Landon Donovan)
Reader Comment of the Day:“How awesome is it that the 100th win of the Lucky Barstool was against the Celtics on their home court? Pretty … awesome. I treated the bar to a shot of Jameson with the win and we toasted to the Lucky Barstool (now 100-18). Awesome. ” — Jon K.
— Mark Medina
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Photo: Kobe Bryant works in the post against the Celtics’ Ray Allen in the second half Thursday night in Boston. Credit: Elise Amendola / Associated Press