The Boston Celtics came to Los Angeles and looked to end their three-game losing streak against their purple and gold rivals, but it was the Lakers who managed to walk away with a 108-107 victory.
During the first quarter, the Lakers looked at Brandon Ingram and Brook Lopez to carry the offensive load. Both Lopez and Ingram got good looks at the basket, but could not get the ball to the hoop.
The Celtics imposed a snail-like pace to the game and kept the Lakers out of transition as much as possible, and on the offensive end, they were able to get some three-point shots from Jaylen Brown. Both teams started the game shooting under 40 percent, and the Lakers ended the first quarter scoring a season-low 15 points.
During the second quarter, Jordan Clarkson and Kyle Kuzma forced a faster pace. Kuzma was not to be denied; he was either finding teammates with a timely pass or getting to the basket with his smooth moves. After Kuzma’s hot start to the quarter came to an end, Clarkson took over right where Kuzma left off.
The Lakers’ sixth man pulled down rebounds on both sides of the court and capitalized on every opportunity to get to the rim, finishing with 14 points and three rebounds by the end of the first half.
Still, the C’s were able to maintain their lead with both Kyrie Irving and Marcus Smart carrying their team.
Irving jump-started a stale offensive attack by making some difficult shots, breaking down the defense and finding an open teammate behind the three-point line. Smart was the man who found himself getting a lot of those open shot. Smart rewarded Irving by hitting three of his six attempts from three.
For a moment, it felt like Irving and Smart were going to single-handedly put the game away, but only escaped with a 53-45 lead going into halftime.
Lopez parked himself on the block instead of settling for long-range jumpers as the game progressed. The Hollywood native scored seven points in the quarter by using his arsenal of post moves: hook shot, floater and a rip through.
Julius Randle made his mark on the game starting with his effort in the third quarter. Randle impacted the game with a tenacious effort on both sides of the court. The 23-year-old power forward continually attacked the rim even with Horford being a constant presence in the paint.
The third quarter saw both teams trade blow for blow with the Lakers holding on to a 76-74 lead.
The final frame proved to be the most exciting part of the night. The Celtics continued to rely on Irving to provide their offensive punch, which was a hell of a punch. Irving showed a complete offensive repertoire, hitting threes off of screens, converting acrobatic layups and just breaking down his defender off the dribble.
Defying Irving’s excellence was Laker power forward Kyle Kuzma. The Lakers rookie opened the quarter shooting the basketball every time he touched the ball. Kuzma scored 17 points in the fourth quarter to bring his total to 28 points.
Unfortunately for the Celtics, the Kuzmania phenomenon proved to be too much for the Celtics, even with Smart getting off a last second shot that would’ve given the game to Boston.
The Lakers pushed their biggest rivals losing streak to four and extended their winning streak to three games, making for a glorious night for the franchise.