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FSM Essential Recap: Lakers vs Celtics – Game 27

Franchise Sports Media

Los Angeles Lakers (11-16) | Boston Celtics (22-7)

 

The Lake Show fought to get back into this one but found a way to lose in overtime 122-118 to the Boston Celtics

 

Lakers vs Celtics
Photo Credit: Jae C. Hong/AP

Lakers forward Juan Toscano-Anderson was still out with a right ankle sprain, as was Wenyen Gabriel with a left shoulder sprain. As expected, Anthony Davis played through his low back tightness, and LeBron James played through his left ankle soreness vs. Boston.

Boston ultimately ruled out Robert Williams due to his left knee against the Lakers.

Darvin Ham told reporters before the game that he “definitely” viewed this one vs. the Celtics as a “barometer” for the Lake Show, as the Lakers rolled out their usual starters vs. Boston with Dennis Schroder, Patrick Beverley, Lonnie Walker IV, LeBron James, and Anthony Davis.

Blake Griffin got the game started with a dunk in transition, and Jayson Tatum found Jaylen Brown cutting inside for a quick 4-0 start. Not exactly how we planned it, but we knew going into this game that it would be tough for the full 48 minutes.

However, it was a sinking ship early as the Lakers found themselves down 15-5 to the Celtics after Tatum made a three. AD needed to step up, and he did so with a defensive stop on Tatum and then scoring a bucket on the other end.

After the first quarter, the Celtics started the game hot and were already up 37-24. Davis led LA with 13 points and five rebounds; all the while, the Lake Show was 5 for 15 overall and 1 of 5 from three. No other Laker had more than three points. 

The Celtics torched the Lakers with quality shots shooting 53.8% and making seven threes. The size difference on the perimeter was apparent on both sides of the ball, as we’re not going to win with Kendrick Nunn guarding Tatum.

To begin the second, the Lakers got a steal and score. Austin Reaves took a blow straight in the chops as he drew a charge, but several strong plays from Reaves on both ends of the floor helped LA trim a 16-point deficit down to just nine. Then, after Beverley surprisingly made a shot from downtown, the Lakers were only down seven as the Celtics called timeout.

James was the primary catalyst that led a Lakers run to trim Boston’s lead to seven, but when he checked out, the Celtics went on a 6-0 run, 8-0 total when including the bucket before James checked out. It also didn’t help that Beverley smoked consecutive layups, and Tatum got an and-1 on one of the ensuing plays.

 

At halftime, the score read Celtics 65, Lakers 50. The Lake Show made it a competitive game a couple of times in the second only for Boston to pull away. Davis had 17 points and 7 rebounds. James had 11 points, 4 rebounds, and 5 assists. Tatum was scorching hot with 24 points.

 

Lakers vs Celtics
Photo Credit: Robert Gauthier/LA Times

To begin the second half, Brown drained a three right in Schroder’s face. There’s not much you can do there, but that’s what happens when you have small guards guarding larger forwards. Yes, Brown is a shooting guard, but he’s 6’6 compared to Schroder, who is 6’1. You do the math.

The Lake Show either wasn’t prepared or was just outclassed, as the first nine points of the third quarter were all AD and Bron, with the two combining for 37 of the Lakers’ 59 points so far.

After Tatum drilled another three, Ham was forced to call a timeout, as the Lake Show was now down by 20 at 79-59 with 7:48 remaining in the third quarter.

But somehow, the Lakers trimmed the lead to 14 after Walker IV made a three. Then Ham subbed James out for Troy Brown Jr., which makes sense because the king needs his rest, but it may have squandered the little run we were going on.

Despite that, the Lake Show stayed in it and continued to fight as Walker IV got the and-1 layup to fall, cutting the lead to 12. There was a glimmer of hope with 2:45 left in the third. If they could have a solid ending to this quarter, they could eventually take that momentum to make it a very competitive fourth quarter.

The Lakers hung around, but they got that giant swing of momentum when James and Davis got back-to-back dunks, closing the third on a 17-4 run, and we had ourselves a game. LA trimmed Boston’s 14-point lead at the 2:22 mark down to six points as we headed into the fourth. At the end of the third, the score read, Celtics 88, Lakers 82.

Davis, who played the entire third quarter, remained in to start the fourth. He was at 29 minutes so far, and we needed every minute from him. It paid off as the Lake Show, who trailed by as many as 20, rallied to take an 89-88 lead, with Ham extending James and AD’s minutes. Boston cooled off considerably after a hot shooting start on the sixth of their six-game road trip and the second night of a back-to-back.

It was a massive 10-0 run to start the fourth for the Lakers and an 18-0 run (their longest of the season) going back to the third quarter. James and AD led the way, with some help from Russell Westbrook. The Lakers defended like their lives depended on it and held all the momentum as they took a 92-88 lead over Boston.

The peak of an insane late third/fourth quarter run came at the 4:25 mark when LA went up 13. However, they let their foot off the pedal, as Grant Williams hit an open transition three, and Marcus Smart intercepted an inbound pass for a layup resulting in a quick 5-0 run for Boston. The Lake Show was still up 106-98 with 3:38 left.

But, of course, Boston got back into it and eventually tied the game. James was the one who got the ball for the final shot and missed what would’ve been the game-winning three-point attempt. It was an awkward shot when we could’ve driven into the paint, drew the foul, or at least taken a shot within the arc. Instead, the Lakers and the Celtics headed to overtime.

Westbrook got the Lakers started with a tough drive in overtime. Both teams were gassed, and it showed the Celtics just had more left in the tank as they led at 117-114 with 2:01 left in overtime. Somehow, the offense crumbled as it entailed Westbrook jacking up jumpers in the final two minutes. The Lakers found a way to lose this one, similar to how they lost to the 76ers. Boston kept it going in overtime and ultimately won 122-118.

Key Takeaways

 

Lakers vs Celtics
Photo Credit: Robert Gauthier/LA Times

It was such a tough loss for the Lakers to stomach, up 13 with 4:25 to go before a Celtics run got them within eight. Then up five with 59 seconds to play, and two misses from Davis at the free throw line up 2 with 28 seconds left.

Davis pretty much played the whole game with 46 minutes and finished with 37 points and 12 rebounds. James played 43 minutes and had 33 points on a terrible 3-11 from three, nine rebounds, and nine assists. Westbrook put up 20 points on a horrible 7-19 from the field and 1-6 from three, 14 rebounds, five assists, and four blocks. Walker IV was a team-worst -18, while Brown Jr. was a team-best +12.

Tatum was elite with 44 points on 5-10 from three, nine rebounds, and six assists. Brown chipped in 25 points, 15 rebounds, five assists, and three steals. Smart contributed 18 points, five rebounds, six assists, and two steals.

It was the second time the Lakers blew a double-digit lead with five minutes to go in the fourth quarter this season; the rest of the NBA has done that twice combined this season, per StatsWilliams.They just didn’t have enough at the end,” James Worthy said after the game.

Ham told reporters after the game, “It sucks, man. I’m so disappointed that we didn’t close that out. But we’ll get better from it. You got to go through the bad to get to the good and I’m up for it, we’re not gonna stop fighting.”

 

The Lakers will now stay at home to take on the Denver Nuggets. They’ll face off Friday, December 16th, at 7:00 p.m. at the Crypto.com Arena. The game will be available on Altitude, ESPN, ESPN Deportes, ESPN2, and Spectrum SportsNet.

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– Jake Ideguchi-Furukawa – Franchise Sports Media

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