The Lakers ended their three-game road trip with a stop in Boston against their longtime rival Celtics. Both teams are in the midst of a rebuilding phase and their records reflect that.
The Lakers split the first two games on their trip, defeating the Detroit Pistons before falling to the Washington Wizards. Kobe continues to play at a high level, but Jeremy Lin will be looking to rebound from his terrible showing on Wednesday.
The Celtics won their most recent game, also against the Pistons, but had lost five straight before then. Point guard Rajon Rondo continues to be a leader on the team while Jeff Green and Jared Sullinger provide the scoring punch.
The Celtics came in with a 5-11 record while the Lakers stand at 5-14.
The Lakers came out sharp as early ball movement started the game with an and-one lay up by Jordan Hill, who was looking to get back to his double-double ways. Unfortunately, it didn’t continue for long as Jeremy Lin and Kobe Bryant threw the ball away on back-to-back possessions allowing the Celtics to go on a 9-0 run. Hill was able to stop the bleeding with another lay up off a nice set up by Bryant. Carlos Boozer sat early as he picked up an early second foul. The Lakers sloppy pay continued but Kobe was able to find himself near the basket for a left handed hook shot to cut the Celtics lead 15-9. Rajon Rondo’s aggressiveness rubbed off on the entire team as they took advantage of the poor Lakers play to take a ten point lead with a little over five minutes left in the first quarter. By the time Kobe made another basket the Lakers were already down 16. He came right back down and drained a deep three as he tried to put the team on his back. Nick Young and Wayne Ellington also stepped up as the Lakers went on a 9-2 run to finish the quarter down 30-20.
Ronnie Price scored for the Lakers first and set up Ed Davis up for a strong dunk the very next time down the floor. Davis scored another layup down low bringing the Lakers within seven. The second unit brought the spark into the game with another 8-0 run to continue cutting down the Boston lead. Another three from Nick Young brought the Lakers within three as the second unit continued to outwork the starters. As the starters trickled back into the game, they continued the offensive barrage but continued to struggle on defense as Rondo continued to dominate. The bad defense began to stall the offense as the Lakers found themselves in a funk falling right back down to 10 with a little over two minutes left in the half. Hopefully stealing some momentum, Lin was able to make a buzzer beating lay up to cut the Celtics halftime lead to 53-48.
The Lakers shooting woes continued as the Celtics were easily able to inflate their lead right back up to double digits. Luckily Jeremy Lin continued the momentum he built at the end of the first half to score back to back baskets. As hard as the Lakers continued to battle, they were their own worst enemy as the defense continued to be atrocious and the entire Boston team seemed to be able to score on the purple and gold. Add bad defense with unforced turnovers and the Lakers hole just continued to get bigger and bigger. With a little over two minutes remaining the Lakers continued to battle back from a 15 point deficit. Fortunately for the Lakers faithful, Young was able to get fouled on an outside shot allowing him to drain two of three free throws as the Lakers headed to the fourth down 86-70.
The Lakers had a huge mountain to climb and three straight Boston turnovers and a nice driving lay up by Young opened the door at the beginning of the fourth to get right back into the game. Ronnie Price and the second unit sparked another rally for the Lakers but the defense continued to disappoint as the Lakers couldn’t break the double digit deficit. Al though the Lakers gave up multiple offensive rebounds the Celtics could not capitalize leading to a fast break Nick Young and-one to finally cut the lead under 10. An 11-0 run by the Celtics all but put the dagger in the game for the Lakers as they fell by 20 midway through the fourth. Jordan Clarkson got his first Lakers action in weeks as the team ran down the final minutes, ultimately falling to the Celtics 113-96.
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