Video Credit: NBA

FSM Essential Recap: Lakers vs. Celtics – Game 56


The first home game with fans at Staples Center did not go according to plan for the Los Angeles Lakers as despite a late run, they came up short in a 121-113 loss to the Boston Celtics


Lakers vs Celtics
Photo Credit: NBA

The Lakers defense struggled out of the gates as they failed to contain Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, who scored the Celtics’ first 14 points. Offensively it was just as bad as Los Angeles missed eight of their first nine shots and found themselves behind 18-4. It also didn’t help that one of the Lakers’ best perimeter defenders, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, picked up a pair of fouls in the first minute of the game.

Talen Horton-Tucker and Alex Caruso came in and gave the Lakers some much-needed scoring, but defensively the team was unable to earn many stops. The bench did a solid job keeping the game within reach, but Los Angeles found themselves trailing 31-23 after the first.

The Lakers were in a much better offensive rhythm atop the second, with Montrezl Harrell finding success attacking the basket in isolation. However, Brown re-entered the game and picked up where he left off, nailing a pair of floaters that kept the Celtics slightly ahead.


Marc Gasol started to find his shooting stroke, nailing a couple of jumpers including a 3-pointer, but Boston continued to shoot well from the field. The Lakers had no answer for the wing duo of Brown and Tatum and they went into the locker room down 61-48 after another half in which they also greatly struggled offensively.


Lakers vs Celtics
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Much like the first half, the Purple and Gold had issues with their half-court offense to start the third until they saw back-to-back threes from Kyle Kuzma and Gasol. Gasol dislocated his pinky diving for a loose ball but was able to pop it back in himself and stayed in the game, proceeding to hit two more triples.

Although Gasol caught fire from the field, Boston responded nearly every time down to stay up by double digits. The Lakers’ competitive spirit was impressive, but they went into the fourth, staring at a 91-79 hole.

It was a nightmare start to the fourth for the Lakers as they gave up a quick 10-0 run led by Brown that put them down by 22. L.A.’s defense was unable to slow down Boston, who had no problems executing their sets and getting good looks.

Credit to the Lakers’ bench as they made a late run to make it close, which forced the Celtics to bring back in their starters with the lead being cut all the way down to five. Brown made some clutch buckets to close it out, though, so the comeback was all for naught.

Brown was the star of the night as the Lakers had no answer for him. He finished with 40 points and eight rebounds on an impressive 17-of-20 shooting.

In a night that the Lakers struggled offensively, Gasol actually had his best night of the season on that end, finishing with a season-high 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting and 4-of-6 from deep.


Lakers News and Notes:


Lakers vs Cavs
Photo Credit: CBS Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers have done well-treading water in recent weeks, evidenced by their solid 4-3 record during their recent seven-game road trip.

The Lakers are currently sitting in fifth in the Western Conference standings, which is impressive considering they have been without LeBron James and Anthony Davis for a long period of time. Los Angeles has mainly gotten by on their defense, while a different set of guys has stepped up offensively on a nightly basis.

However, reinforcements are finally on the way as head coach Frank Vogel announced that Davis is nearing a return after being re-evaluated when the team got back to L.A.

“Good news,” Vogel said before the Lakers’ game against the Boston Celtics on Thursday. “He was evaluated again upon return of this trip, and he has been cleared for full on-court activity, full practice, and anything we want to do with him to begin his real ramp-up and return to play.

“All the court work he’s been doing to this point has been to get him to be fully cleared to participate in full practice, so obviously he’s not playing tonight, it’s unlikely in the two Utah [Jazz] games, but not out of the question. We’ll see the next few days, and hopefully, he’s available after that.”

Vogel added that Davis is itching to get back on the court and play again. “He’s eager to get back out,” Vogel said. “That’s the biggest thing. He’s tired of being a patient and ready to be a player again. He’s eager to get to work in real practice the next few days. Live work and more eager to get back on the floor, and obviously that’s going to give our whole group a big lift.”


Lakers offseason 2020
Photo Credit: USA Today

Even though the Lakers have been learning how to win without Davis or James, getting someone like Davis back is a massive boost. The big man has been out for over two months, but the extended time off presumably means he is well-rested for the stretch run.

It will take some time for Davis to get back to his elite level of play, but his looming return could not be coming at a better time for the Purple and Gold.

Davis to be on minutes restriction upon returning.

Even though Davis is slated to return soon, Vogel noted that the star would expectedly not be playing heavy minutes right away. “That’s the thing, whenever it is that he returns, it’s not going to be a full return to playing 37 minutes a night, especially with the nature of practice and how shorthanded we are,” Vogel said.

“He’s going to have to use some games to try to get himself back in shape, so first few games he’s back will likely be short-minute performances. Probably like 15-minute minutes restriction and build up from there.”

That comes as no surprise, though, and any contributions he can give will be greatly appreciated.


The Lakers will once again be at Staples Center Saturday afternoon when they host the Utah Jazz. Tip-off is at 1:30 pm and the game can be seen on ESPN and on Spectrum SportsNet.

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-Joe Arrigo – Franchise Sports Media

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