The moment Lonzo Ball first touched the ball against the Boston Celtics, the TD Garden serenaded him with boos, ceremoniously introducing him to the Los Angeles Lakers vs. Celtics rivalry. This set the tone for a night monikered as “The Rivalry Renewed,” and for one game, it sure felt like it. The Celtics would go on to prevail 107-96 in the first meeting between the storied franchises this season.
The Lakers came out the gates sloppy against a Celtics team looking for their 10th win a row. After getting on the scoreboard first, Boston went on to manhandle the purple and gold behind a stifling defense which held the Lakers to only 16 points. The Celtics’ defense also caused nine turnovers in the first quarter alone.
Kyrie Irving added early insult to injury by putting on a dribbling exhibition in and out of the Lakers’ defense. LA did a much better job containing the talented point-guard, though, as Irving ended the night with a modest 19 points on 7-21 shooting.
After trailing by as much as 21, the Lakers showed life battling back behind the passionate play of Julius Randle to cut the deficit into single digits at halftime. The Lakers’ 36 points in the second quarter was the most the Celtics had given up in any quarter this season. Randle, who was the only Laker with a positive +/- on the night, questionably only played 21 minutes on the night.
The Lakers’ second quarter run carried over into the 3rd as the team came out with the same energy needed to claw back into it. Brandon Ingram showcased his Inspector Gadget arms, ending with 18 points, and Jordan Clarkson continued his solid play off the bench with 18 as well. Lonzo Ball once again did not shoot well from the field (4-of-15), but helped the team in nearly every other facet finishing with six assists, five rebounds, and four blocks in his rivalry debut.
Unfortunately, the Lakers were unable to complete the comeback in the fourth as they could not match the energy of Aron Baynes (who matched his career high with 21 points and eight rebounds, five of which were offensive). The team’s inability to maintain possessions, turning it over 21 times, and giving up 16 offensive rebounds made an already difficult game harder.
The Lakers will try and bounce back tomorrow in Washington, when they take on John Wall and the Wizards.