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Los Angeles Lakers play a flat against Boston Celtics; final score: 116-95

The Los Angeles Lakers lost Pau Gasol for at least 6-8 weeks, but were able to bring Dwight Howard back into the starting lineup. Unfortunately it mattered little as the Boston Celtics had their way with an exasperated squad.

Jared Wickerham

The Los Angeles Lakers showed up in to play the Boston Celtics tonight, but play they didn't. They Celtics dominated the Lakers pathetic showing of that thing called "defense". The Lakers played about as flat as they have all season just a game removed from a big win against the Brooklyn Nets, and looked like a team that was running on empty. Final score tonight: 116-95.

Yes, Dwight Howard made his "return", but looked nothing like Dwight Howard.

To be fair, he looked like the Dwight Howard we've come to know in Los Angeles. Half, if that, the three time defensive player of the year and a hollow shell carrying the soul of a player of the past. Howard has been hurt, he's been out three games, and he put on the uniform and played 28 minutes. In his return he had 9 points (4-8 fg), 9 rebounds, 4 turnovers, and he fouled out. He looked disinterested in the game as a whole, and there was no defensive force to be seen.

The Lakers couldn't get anything going and Kobe Bryant did the majority of the ludicrously heavy lifting on offense. 27 points on 9-15 shooting and 7 rebounds to show, along with going 9-9 from the line. He made a handful of tough shots in his futile attempt to give the Lakers something-- anything-- on offense, but it wasn't enough for Kobe who joked his elbow tendinitis was from "passing too much" pregame.

Three point shooting? Yeah, the Lakers didn't bother bringing that with them to Boston, looking hauntingly similar to the disgusting performance from deep they put on against Minnesota after they cooled off. 5-23 from deep. 5-23. That's 21% from deep. Nope. Not going to cut it. Leading the charge for the Lakers' terrible shooting from deep was Metta World Peace who went 0-5 from beyond the arc. On the night World Peace had 5 points on 2-13 shooting and 5 boards.

Don't worry, though. I have the solution. I did some research during the game and found the answer to the Lakers shooting problem. Now, hold on. There's no quick and easy fix, but I have something for the future. You know, when the Lakers actually have picks again. I found it.

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There aren't necessarily words to go with this because it's another disgusting stat of a night filled with disgusting stats, but here goes. The Lakers had 4 fast break points to the Celtics' 22. They also had 36 points in the paint to the C's 58. Yeah, there's that.

The Celtics could have likely just drawn names out of a hat and given the chosen player a play in order to score. Every player in green was lighting up the purple and gold. Jeff Green had 19 off the bench and repeatedly abused Antawn Jamison and the paint. Paul Pierce was dominant, hitting shot after shot, and finished with 24 points on 10-17 shooting. Kevin Garnett reached the 25,000 point milestone with a jumper over Earl Clark and had 16 points (6-10) and 5 rebounds.

The Lakers played a special kind of awful tonight and have another game of basketball play tomorrow against the always troublesome Charlotte Bobcats. They played their 5th straight game on the road after an exhausting day of "gossip" regarding Dwight Howard, and just a couple of days after losing Pau Gasol for at least 6-8 weeks, and played every bit like it. On the flip side, the Celtics have now won six straight.

This needs to be a game the Lakers never look back at. The distaste from an ugly loss like this, if carried into Charlotte, could send this otherwise successful road trip (thus far) into a steep nosedive. Prior to this loss the Lakers had gone 3-1 on the road trip, and now have just two games left on the slate: the Charlotte Bobcats and Miami Heat. Now 3-2, there's still a chance that the Lakers end the road trip, at the very least, on the positive end with a win tomorrow.

Rinse, but don't repeat, Lakers. More in the morning.

- Drew

- Follow this author on Twitter @DrewGarrisonSBN

- is the SB Nation Celtics blog. That is all.

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