You would have imagined that the Boston Celtics, who had a league-best home record of 22-2 heading into their game against the Los Angeles Lakers, would have an easy time. Their eternal rivals were coming to town without the services of All-Stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis and were a massive underdog.
Well, the NBA certainly likes to throw curveballs our way, and this was one of them.
The Lakers didn’t just beat the Celtics. They controlled the game almost the entire way, building their lead up to as many as 16 points, before finishing the game with a 114-105 win. The Celtic’s biggest lead was four points, achieved when the scoreline was 8-4. After that, the Lakers took the reins and never let up.
Austin Reaves was the big hero for the purple and gold with a stunning performance as the game’s leading scorer. His 32 points set the tone for the rest of the Lakers and he shot the lights out, making 10 of 18 overall and 7 of 10 three-pointers.
Five other Lakers also scored in double figures. D’Angelo Russell, who is certainly ramping up his value as trade rumors continue to swirl around him, came close to a triple-double with 16 points, eight rebounds and 14 assists. Jaxson Hayes also had a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds, while Rui Hachimura had an effective game off the bench with 15 points, eight rebounds, four assists and a block.
The loss will be a tough pill to swallow for the Celtics, who saw Jayson Tatum struggle from the field, shooting 8 of 21 overall while finishing with 23 points, seven rebounds, three assists, a steal and a block. Kristaps Porzingis was the only other starter to score in double figures with 17 points, while Jrue Holiday, Derrick White and Jaylen Brown combined for a measly 25 points between the three of them as the trio shot 12 of 32 from the field.
As always, the memes were on point following the loss.
The Lakers still sit in the ninth seed with a 25-25 record, but the surprise win will give them momentum in the final push heading into the All-Star break. They’re only four games behind the Sacramento Kings and Phoenix Suns for the fifth and sixth seeds, so making it to the guaranteed playoff seeds is more than possible. They’ll need more of these types of wins, though, as the Western Conference is a bloodbath this season.