Unfortunately for the Celtics, old school meant same old problems.
Boston left behind a three game losing streak at home, all losses coming at TD Garden after trotting out to London to face the 76ers. During that stretch, they were dead last in the league in OffRtg, but still first in D. Tonight, that wide spectrum on both sides of the ball flipped and the Celtics lost a nailbiter by 1.
Offensively, they were fine. They were 42-of-90 from the field, but nearly half of them coming from behind the arc (15-of-44). Kyrie Irving was Kyrie Irving with 33 points and 4 assists. Marcus Smart heatchecked his way to 22 and a missed 3 to win the game. Marcus Morris and Al Horford chipped in with 13 each.
Defense was another story. The Lakers pounded the Celtics in the paint for 58 points and 14 offensive rebounds—many of them coming late with the game in the balance—and a free throw attempts difference of 10 to 36. When Brad Stevens went small, the Lakers went big with Kyle Kuzma beating smaller defenders for 28 points. Boston just couldn’t finish defensive stops with defensive rebounds, losing the battle of the boards 51 to 42 and giving up a 23 to 7 edge on second chance points.
At the end of the game, Irving banged knees, but walked off a limp. However, Horford took an elbow to the head and say out the final seconds. Stevens said he’s OK, but with his history of concussions, it’s possible he misses some time if he enters the protocol.