An undefeated run seemed like wishful thinking for the Boston Celtics as they embarked on a three-game Westcoast trip. But after beating the Los Angeles Lakers 121-113, the Celtics head back to Beantown with their heads held high.
It was the Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown to open the game. The All-Star duo scored the first 14 points as the Celtics built a lead as high as 14. Though the Lakers shot just 1-of-9 from beyond the arc in the opening frame, 10 points from Talen Horton-Tucker off the bench shrunk Boston’s lead to eight.
LA got as close as five in the second quarter but the Celtics managed to push the lead back up to double figures to enter the half up 13. The offense was humming with 16 assists while shooting 55.6 percent from the field. After scoring 10 in the first, Brown continued his stellar play with 11 in the second to cross the 20-point mark in less than 16 minutes of action by missing just one of his 10 shots. Tristan Thompson finished the half with 10 points and five rebounds also in less than 16 minutes.
The third quarter offered more of what the Celtics saw in the first half. Thompson made his presence felt in the paint. Brown barely missed. Boston maintained a double-digit lead.
As the Celtics’ lead ballooned to 27 and garbage time commenced, a win seemed all but in hand. But 24-4 run Lakers forced the starters back into the game. The Lakers got as close as five but consecutive buckets by Brown closed out the victory.
All five Celtics starters finished in double figures, paced by Brown’s 40 points. It was his third 40-point outing of the season, coming on an absurd 17-of-20 shooting from the field. Payton Pritchard chipped in 15 off the bench.
Boston has now won five straight games and heads home to indulge in a battle of winning streaks when they take on the Golden State Warriors — winners of four straight — on Saturday Primetime.