On this episode of the First to The Floor podcast, Ben, Jake and Joe break down the completely normal 20-point giveaway, 13-point comeback overtime thriller against the Lakers. Then they look back on the road trip and look ahead to the upcoming home stand.
Is Everyone OK?
I don’t think humans are supposed to endure the level of emotional turbulence that Boston Celtics fans experienced during their matchup against the Los Angeles Lakers. I hope everyone’s collective psyche has recovered by the time you are reading or listening to this.
Luke Kornet blocked a feeble layup attempt from Lonnie Walker, Smart picked up the loose ball and pushed the pace, he found Jaylen Brown in transition, who kicked it to Malcolm Brogdon in the corner, and swung it back to Marcus, who buried the three. Celtics up 84-65 with 5:40 to go in the third.
Celtics fans could finally breathe a sigh of relief, taking comfort in the fact that the best team in the league had returned. But just as we were all about to fire off our “see the Celtics are still awesome and you were all wrong” tweets, the Lakers proceeded to go on a 41-9 run that put them up 13 with 4:25 left in the 4th quarter. PTSD for everyone, yay.
Co-Host Joe - our New Zealand correspondent and founder of the Magic Number Theory - a formula designed to help Celtics fans figure out if a game has been put away (or been put out of reach). According to the formula, the Celtics had to play pretty much perfectly to pull off a comeback. Cue the 17-4 Celtics run, a run sparked by a Grant Williams wing three-pointer, followed by Marcus Smart stealing the inbounds pass from Lebron James — a play that was not only quintessential Marcus Smart but a play that not even the cameraman saw coming, because when I went to rewatch that clip, I couldn’t grab that play from NBA Stats. The 17-4 run was capped by a Kobe Bryant-esque mid-range pull up by Jayson Tatum, over Lebron James. Overtime.
The First to the Floor crew discuss how Marcus Smart thrives in the chaotic energy of a game like the one against the Lakers. While Smart was very much a key contributor to the brutal collapse in the third and fourth quarters, the Celtics don’t pull this off without their heart and soul. After Russell Westbrook got the Lakers off to a quick 4-0 start in overtime, Smart got the Celtics on the board with a beautiful floater, which he then followed up with a drive and kick to the Corner Office for three.
OT was capped by another majestic mid-range pull-up from Jayson Tatum and a deep three from Jaylen Brown (we will pretend like JB didn’t turn it over and miss two free throws to close the game). When you zoom out, it was just another night where the Jays put on a spectacular performance - combining for 69 points, 24 rebounds, and 11 assists between them, again showing why they are the best duo in the NBA.
Next, the First to the Floor fellas took a step back to take stock of the road trip. A road trip that was likely the hardest stretch of the Celtics schedule this season. A road trip that they had to get through without both Al Horford and Rob Williams. The road trip had it all: a gritty win in Toronto, a mollywhopping of the Phoenix Suns, a PTSD experience in Golden State, an end-to-end beat down from the Clippers, and I’m not sure what to call the game against the Lakers…but they beat LA, which is all that matters.
Last, they discuss the upcoming home stand, where the Celtics will have a great opportunity to build on their already impressive win-loss record, and of course, welcome back Robert Wiliams III.