The 1990s were a transition period for the Los Angeles Lakers as they moved on from the ‘Showtime’ era and searched for the next set of franchise players to lead them to the promise land.
Entering the 1994-95 season, the Lakers roster was assembled with players both on the rise and decline, mixing in two eras. Head coach Del Harris was a recognized presence around the NBA, with Eddie Jones and Nick Van Exel leading his backcourt.
At the same time, a frontline of Cedric Ceballos, Elden Campbell, and Vlade Divac was rather physical and often imposed their will on their opponents.
On Jan. 20, 1995, the Lakers were on the road playing long-time rival, the Boston Celtics. Whether during the championship eras or a transition, these two teams always brought the competitive juices when facing one another.
The clash at the Boston Garden started off in favor of the Lakers, as they held a 30-27 lead after the first quarter. L.A. extended that to a 14-point lead at halftime. The Celtics dominated the third quarter, to set the stage for a close game down the stretch.
The Lakers were able to hold on for a 120-118 win behind a dominant performance from the starting lineup, with three of the five starters combining for a total of 90 points.
Van Exel led the charge with 29 points, 10 assists and six rebounds, facilitating precisely on a night when his shots weren’t consistently dropping. Perhaps the X-factor in the game was the play of Campbell and Ceballos, as their presence in the paint helped solidify the win.
Ceballos scored a team-high 31 points on 11-for-16 shooting, to go along with seven rebounds, two assists and a steal. Campbell had 30 points, nine rebounds and two blocks.
While the franchise was in this transition phase, before the days of Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal, they were still able to put quality performances on the court on the way to a 48-34 record that season.
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