LeBron James said that this game wouldn’t be the same without the fans, and while that may have been true, Saturday night’s showdown between the Lakers and Celtics still managed to live up to the storied rivalry. In a chippy, back-and-forth affair, the Lakers barely hung on to escape Boston with a 96-95 win and snap their two-game losing streak.
The game was mostly even at halftime, but the Celtics started to pull away in the third quarter, capitalizing on sloppy Lakers passes to force turnovers and get out on the break. But the Lakers rallied back, going on a mini run to start of the fourth quarter. Not long after, Jaylen Brown caught Anthony Davis in... a place a guy does not want to get hit, and while he went down, doubled over in pain, Davis stayed in the game, and that Lakers responded to the the literal to Davis’ nether regions with a figurative shot to the Celtics’, going on a 10-2 run to take and extend the lead down the stretch.
The Lakers weren’t out of the woods yet, however, but a huge And-1 from Dennis Schröder in the closing minutes was enough to help them survive despite James’ and Davis’ turnovers with less than a minute remaining and the team clinging to a two-point lead. After Kemba Walker (4 points, 1-12 shooting) missed a late shot on the break and Daniel Theis came up short on his tip-in attempt, the Lakers survived, bringing James to 30-1 all-time vs. Walker’s teams over the course of their careers.
James’ 5 turnovers on the night were a big part in the Lakers’ overall sloppiness, and the team finished with 14 giveaways. But like James has done for Davis so many times, this time it was his co-star there to help him. Davis was huge for the Lakers early in this one, scoring 12 points in the first quarter to get the team going and very much looking like himself again after a game off. More importantly, after Frank Vogel challenged him to “kill” the Celtics on the glass, Davis grabbed 14 boards to go with his 27 points. James still managed 21 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists, and while this wasn’t his best game ever, a win against Boston is always worth celebrating in Laker Land.
Frank Vogel really liked how Anthony Davis approached tonight's game.— Harrison Faigen (@hmfaigen) January 31, 2021
"When he's assertive on both sides of the ball, we're difficult to beat."
With that said, in addition to their turnovers, the Lakers will have to be better all around to beat teams like this in the future. This was the second-worst shooting game of Walker’s career, the Celtics scored four points for the Lakers on accidental put-backs, and they only won by one point. There is plenty of room for them to grow, even after this win.
But those are concerns for the future. For now, the Lakers are 15-6, and will get Sunday off to travel to Atlanta for the final game of their current seven-game road trip. But no matter what happens in that one, at least they beat the Celtics, and with that, I’ll leave you with this:
Disneyworld Champions win tonight https://t.co/f4GQiTkmaU— Silver Screen & Roll (@LakersSBN) January 31, 2021
Have a good night everyone.