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Celtics Outlast Lakers, Renewing a Historic Rivalry in the Process

Photo Credit: Twitter/@celtics

In true Boston fashion, the Celtics fans booed Lonzo Ball every time he touched the ball in the first half, and for the first time since the Big 3 v. Kobe Bryant era, it felt like the Celtics-Lakers rivalry found new life.

Complete with new faces, but perfuse with the same animosity and vitriol that has fueled the historic rivalry for decades. And, even without Al Horford and Jayson Tatum, who exited the game in the second quarter due to an ankle injury, the Celtics fought off the upstart Lakers for a 107-96 win. Extending their win streak to ten games.

The Celtics led big early on, leading by as much 20 points with a little more than 6 minutes left in the second quarter. Slowly though, Luke Walton’s young Lakers team battled back, closing the lead to just 9 points.

After losing Tatum in the second quarter, the Celtics struggled coming out of the half, shooting just 22.7 percent (5-22) from the field in the third quarter. Finally though, after opening the fourth quarter with a lineup largely consisting of Marcus Smart, Terry Rozier, Shane Larkin, Semi Ojeleye and Daniel Theis – Stevens had his starters return. Kyrie Irving hit two huge shots, the latter of which was remarkable turnaround fall away from the elbow.

Ultimately though, it was Aron Baynes, not Kyrie Irving, who led the Celtics to victory behind 21 points on 8 of 12 shooting. In true, classically trained big-man fashion, Baynes was brilliant at establishing post position, and capitalizing on the Lakers lack of true interior defense. Whether that be finishing around the rim with a bevy of savvy hook shots with his left or right hand, or attacking the basket after executing a beautiful two-man game with Kyrie Irving.

While the Celtics streak was extended to ten straight victories, the Lakers did accentuate some of the C’s more worrisome flaws. Even if they’re potentially small, pedestrian injuries, the losses are only piling up. Tatum and Horford are highly valued cogs in the grand scheme of Brad Stevens’ machine, and having to start the fourth quarter with a lineup of Smart, Rozier, Ojeleye, Larkin, and Theis isn’t exactly ideal for a team trying to contend with the likes of the Cavaliers, Bucks, and Wizards. Furthermore, Irving’s consistency is still something that has yet to be addressed. Rewinding clips like Irving’s crossover and dish down to Baynes, or his ability to evade nearly every Lakers player before eventually making a layup is exciting and fun, but shooting 33 percent and wasting possession after possession on bad, contest three-pointers in the third quarter isn’t.

The Celtics will look to continue their streak to eleven games this Friday at home, where they’ll square off with the Charlotte Hornets at 7:30 p.m.

About Ray Petree (27 Articles)
I'm a young college student who just wants to share his love for the game with the world.

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