The greatest rivalry in NBA history continued as the Los Angeles Lakers ended their three-game road trip in Boston against the hated Celtics.
This would mark Kobe Bryant’s final game in Boston and he would hope to make it a memorable one, while also giving the next generation of Lakers a good memory in their first trip to Boston.
They would have a tough task against an improved Celtics team led by Isaiah Thomas. The 18-13 Celtics came in on a four-game winning streak while the Lakers have dropped four straight.
Larry Nance Jr. got the Lakers on the board, forcing a steal and finishing the fast break on an alley-oop from Kobe Bryant. Lou Williams would hit a three and Roy Hibbert found Jordan Clarkson for a short floater as the Lakers lead 7-4 early. Jae Crowder finished a tough three-point play, but a pair of free throws from Williams followed by a dunk from Clarkson kept the Lakers ahead 13-9. The Lakers struggled with fouls as both Kobe and Nance picked up a pair, but Julius Randle checked in and immediately got a bucket to keep the Lakers ahead by a basket. The Celtics would then respond with 10 straight points to go ahead 23-15. The Lakers would come back with seven straight of their own, capped off by a three-point play from Brandon Bass to close the deficit to a point. The Lakers would end the quarter down by three, 27-24.
The Lakers got off to a quick start with six straight points. Avery Bradley scored five straight points, but Russell responded with five of his own to give the Lakers a one-point lead. Russell would keep his hot streak going with two more baskets and Williams would get himself a dunk in transition after a steal, but David Lee hit a jumper to bring the Celtics within four 43-39. Randle got a nice basket with his right hand and Kobe finally got on the board with two straight layups as the Lakers pulled ahead by seven. The Celtics would not go down easy as seven straight points tied the game at 53 with one minute remaining. A Clarkson jumper and three from Randle give the Lakers a five-point cushion, but Crowder hit a three of his own as the Lakers went into the half ahead by two, 58-56.
Williams and Clarkson got the Lakers started in the second half, but the Celtics went on a 7-0 run to take a three-point lead. The Lakers would quickly answer with eight straight points of their own, capped off by a Kobe dunk and Lou steal and floater. Clarkson would finish an amazing reverse layup and follow that with a three and a pair of free throws as the Lakers suddenly found themselves ahead by double-digits, 78-67. Nick Young got in the act with five points, but Evan Turner finished a three-point play to keep Boston within 11. Marcus Smart had a ridiculous tip-jam over Randle, but Russell answered with a three in Smart’s face as the Lakers went to the fourth ahead by 11, 89-78.
Clarkson hit a jumper to start the quarter and Russell would add one as well to keep the Lakers ahead by double-digits. Both teams struggled to get baskets, but Turner would finally get going, scoring six straight points to cut the Lakers lead in half, 93-87 with seven minutes remaining. A pair of free throws from Kobe finally ended the Celtics run. Kobe would hit another three and Randle would finish a fast break with an easy layup as the Lakers pushed back ahead by 11. The Celtics would continue to battle back and cut the lead to four with four minutes left. A putback dunk from Bradley cut the lead to two, but Clarkson responded with a huge jumper. Thomas made a tough layup, but Clarkson responded with one of his own as the Lakers clung to a four point lead with 2:26 remaining. A Clarkson turnover gave Bradley an easy dunk, but Kobe answered with a huge three-pointer to put the Lakers up by five. Free throws from Bass and Kobe iced the game as the Lakers would snap their four game losing streak with a win over the Celtics, 112-104.