"He has to find ways to free me up and therefore, I am going to find ways to free him up," Nash said. "It is still a work in progress, but the last two games before the break he really committed into running pick-and-rolls, setting good screens, rolling hard and you saw either me free for jump shots or him going down the paint for fouls or finishes."
The Lakers shot 51 percent in the first half and had four players in double figures, helping them to a 64-55 lead. Howard was energetic in scoring 15 points and setting screens reminiscent of his days with Orlando. Bryant had 14 points, Nash 12 and World Peace 10.
"I thought he was playing through emotion," Garnett said about Bryant. "You could hear the emotion in his voice."
Pierce carried the Celtics with 23 points on 9-of-15 shooting in the half, when they shot 49 percent. He said he hadn't talked to general manager Danny Ainge about the trade rumors involving him.
"I'm sure if something comes up, he'll probably call me," Pierce said. "I can't worry about that. I've got a job to do and they've got to do what's best for the franchise. I've always understood that this is just a business."
Buss was remembered in a pregame video tribute featuring photos of him as a child all the way through him hoisting trophies marking the team's 10 NBA championships won under his ownership. Bryant fittingly spoke on behalf of the Lakers' players, having been acquired by the Lakers as a 17-year-old.
"He was a brilliant, incredible owner but an even better person," Bryant said. "His innovation transcended the game and we are all, all spoiled by his vision and his drive to win year after year after year."
There was a moment of silence in the darkened arena before the crowd broke up the quiet with chants of "Jerry, Jerry."
"It was very emotional and very nice," Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said, noting the crowd's energy. "You couldn't help but feel it and I think the players felt it, also."
A memorial service for invited guests will be held Thursday at Nokia Theatre across the street from Staples Center. Buss will be buried in a private service on Friday.
NOTES: Lakers F Pau Gasol said he hopes to get off his crutches soon and return before the end of the regular season. He had surgery on his right foot after injuring it on Feb. 5. ... The Celtics signed free agent G-F Terrence Williams to a 10-day contract on Wednesday. He had been playing with Guangdong in the Chinese league, averaging 17.9 points, 3.4 rebounds and 4.1 assists in 29 games. ... Jeanie Buss accepted condolences on her father's passing from numerous well-wishers stopping by her seat before the game. ... Jack Nicholson and Dyan Cannon, longtime Lakers fans dating to the team's days at the Forum in Inglewood, were on hand.