For all the drama, frustration, and disappointment that has plagued this Lakers season, they pushed those issues to the periphery Wednesday night, playing their first game since the death of iconic owner Jerry Buss.

“The best way to pay tribute to him is to go out and perform at the highest level you can,” coach Mike D’Antoni said before the game.

Performing at the highest level is a phrase rarely associated with these Lakers, but for a night, that line described them best.

And Buss would have been proud, as that effort came against Celtics, a franchise that he always measured his own against.

After being embarrassed by their bitter rivals in Boston nearly two weeks ago, the Lakers, behind big performances from Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant and contributions from several others, routed the Celtics, 113-99, before a sold-out crowd at Staples Center.

Celtics captain Paul Pierce carried his team, with 26 points on 9-of-17 shooting, but few others on the roster stepped up with any kind of help.

Howard, the supposed center of this Lakers’ future if he decides to stick around, had his first 20-point game in nearly a month, with 24.

He added 12 rebounds and there wasn’t much the Celtics could do to stop him around the rim.

As for Bryant, he scored 16 points, helping extend the Lakers’ lead back to double digits whenever the Celtics threatened to make the game competitive.