USA TODAY Sports
The Celts looked tired and listless, especially on defense, in a 14-point loss to the Lakers, their second in a row to open this road trip.
With the trade deadline looming, the Celtics continued their western swing against their ancient rivals the Los Angeles Lakers and were blown out. The Lakers used a dominant frontcourt performance that included Dwight Howard's best, most dynamic game in weeks to beat the Celts 113-99, their third loss in their last four games and their worst defensive showing in some time.
Paul Pierce led the Celts with 26 points but didn't make a shot after halftime. His 23 on 9-of-15 shooting (4-of-7 from deep) kept the Celts in the game in the first half, but for whatever reason, he took just two shots in the second. Courtney Lee had a nice game for the C's scoring 20 points on 9-of-16 shooting while Kevin Garnett added 12. Overall, the Celtics shot 47.6 percent from the floor and were outrebounded 49-34.
The Lakers, who scored 64 points in the first half and shot over 50 percent for the game, opened the third quarter with an 11-3 run to turn the game into a runaway. Howard played like the guy the Lakerd thought they were getting last summer, finishing with 24 points and 12 rebounds, seven of them on the offensive glass. Kobe Bryant scored 16 points and dished out seven assists while Steve Nash, who passed Magic Johnson for fourth on the all-time assists list added 14 and seven and Earl Clark posted a double-double with 14 points and a career high 15 boards.
The Celts were destroyed in the paint to the tune of 54-30. L.A. put seven players in double figures in its first game since the death of owner Dr. Jerry Buss. For more on the game from the Lakers' perspective, hit up Silver Screen and Roll.