A bit of historical perspective on the match between NBA heavyweights
As CelticsBlog writer flceltsfan alluded to in today’s game preview, the Celtics own an all-time regular-season home record of 82-50 against the Lakers. From the halcyon days of Bill Russell to the modern Big Three era, Boston has historically held the upper hand when in the friendly confines of the Boston (and TD) Garden.
Los Angeles Lakers at Boston Celtics Game #16 11/19/21 https://t.co/L9CHZJUb5o pic.twitter.com/TIJD1evhRQ— CelticsBlog (@celticsblog) November 19, 2021
I’m sure C’s faithful will appreciate this fun fact: the Lakers have lost more regular season games against Boston (162) than any other NBA franchise not named the Golden State Warriors (170). This stat is especially impressive considering Los Angeles has played the Warriors 427 times and the Celtics just 294.
Anthony Davis was on a mission out of the gate
Anthony Davis was destined for a bounce-back game after allowing Giannis Antetokounmpo to torch him for 49 points on Wednesday. His aggressiveness on both ends of the court buoyed a superb start for the Lakers in this one. On offense, Davis made his hay at the rim, accounting for nine of Los Angeles’ first 18 points on 3-for-5 shooting from the field and 3-for-4 from the line.
AD does it himself. pic.twitter.com/Ykxop7Foou— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) November 20, 2021
Defensively, Davis switched onto Jayson Tatum on several possessions early and forced misses by getting in his airspace. The Brow is one of a select group of bigs with the agility to stick with Tatum on the perimeter. It’ll be intriguing to see whether the Celtics adjust their game plan to limit the number of possessions Davis defends their best scorer.
Have to limit the Lakers in transition in the second half
Despite being the oldest team in the NBA with an average age of 30 years old, the Lakers love to get out and run. Los Angeles scores the second-most transition points per game in the league at 23.5. But the Celtics did a poor job of limiting their opponent’s open-court chances across the opening two quarters. At the half, the Lakers have 13 fastbreak points, on pace for above their season average.
I like their chances if the Celtics can limit Los Angeles to 23 or fewer fastbreak points (below their average). If not, it’s difficult to imagine Boston pulls this one out. To beat a great team like the Lakers, you have to limit what they do best; that means getting back on defense should be atop the Celtics’ priorities heading into the final two frames.