When this season is over, there will be a lot of low points to break down. But few of them will suck more than going 0-2 vs. the hated Boston Celtics. The last time these two teams played, it was a blowout from the start, but tonight they were equals for most of the game until the Lakers came up just short in the overtime, unable to recover from an awful non-call in the final seconds of regulation before eventually losing 125-121 after five extra minutes.
With this loss, the Lakers are 23-27 overall, still only a higher seed than the tanking Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs in the West, and the only key player still missing from the roster is Austin Reaves.
Despite the loss, LeBron James was once again sensational with 41 points his fifth 40-plus game this season. Anthony Davis continues to look good he had a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
Things looked better for the Lakers to start the game. LeBron hit multiple deep threes to lead the team with 10 points in the opening frame, and AD came off the bench and showed that such an arrangement won’t need to last much longer, as he had six points in seven minutes. Ham utilized nine players in the first, with the only two rotation players absent being Max Christie and Wenyen Gabriel.
Russell Westbrook in 8 minutes: 0 points, 0-5 FG, 5 assists, 3 turnovers, -9.— Michael Corvo (@michaelcorvoNBA) January 29, 2023
There were plenty of bright spots for the purple and gold, but one negative was Russell Westbrook. He just couldn’t get anything going. He was 0-6 from the field in the first, but even worst was the fact that he started avoiding open shots. I know he’s shooting 28% from three, but if he is wide-open, he has to keep shooting or else opponents will only leave him more open, further clogging up the paint. He has to take those shots and keep the defense honest.
The Celtics built as large as a nine-point lead during the second quarter, but the Lakers closed the half off well with LeBron hitting more deep threes, AD competing hard and making buckets despite already having three fouls, and Walker started cooking in his first game back from missing the last 14 with left knee tendinitis, making four of his five shots in the period to give the Lakers a 54-48 lead at halftime.
L.A. was up 75-68 with 3:21 left in the third when LeBron took his quarter rest. Boston took advantage and went on a 13-6 run. James is amazing and still the best player in year 20, but the Lakers have to find a way to better survive these non-LeBron minutes. Thanks to a late Rui dunk, I’m not sure if they survived, but they did enter the fourth all tied up at 81.
In the last quarter, with Bron back the Lakers started off rolling. They started off on an 8-2 run and Dennis Schröder was a big reason why the Celtics only had two points. He was sensational, pressuring the ball and forcing the Celtics into tough shots and difficult passes.
His offense was a bit more mixed, as he shot 50% on the night, but his misses were awful. There was one 18-foot jumper he missed at the 7:26 mark that might have put a crack in the backboard’s glass.
With four minutes left, it was a one-point game, and L.A. had to either step up and win or lose another close game. And in the closing minutes, it was the Patrick Beverley show. He hit a three-pointer to give the Lakers a lead then had a putback dunk so unbelievable that LeBron’s head nearly exploded, and followed it up with a defensive rebound and converting on a pair of free throws.
It takes a lot to amaze LeBron James. He was officially amazed by that Patrick Beverley offensive rebound putback. AK pic.twitter.com/YkKFkNsoRD— Kamenetzky Brothers (@KamBrothers) January 29, 2023
However, Pat Bev giveth, and Pat Bev taketh away. He fouled Jaylen Brown on his runner and put him on the line to tie the game. Brown converted both freebies and we went into the last play tied at 105 Laker ball. In the final play of regulation, LeBron was clearly fouled on his drive by Jayson Tatum, but the refs let it go as the game headed to overtime.
In response, LeBron was about as animated as you’ll ever see him in response to a call (and that’s saying something). He was screaming, flailing his legs, clenching his fists and eventually laying down on the floor in a fetal position like a child who was just emotionally scarred. Normally this would be considered an overreaction, but given how egregious the call was. It felt justified.
We go to overtime in Boston and LeBron James is very upset he didn’t get a call on his last second shot. pic.twitter.com/jppe3tOTku— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) January 29, 2023
In overtime, the Lakers struggled to get over the awful missed call. Pat Bev earned a tech because he literally showed the ref the foul on a camera he took from a photographer.
No, seriously, he actually did that:
Pat Bev got the most legendary tech in NBA history! pic.twitter.com/jwZCEn9H7q— Josiah Johnson (@KingJosiah54) January 29, 2023
Admittedly hilarious, but not actually helpful.
Boston was pulling away when L.A. finally caught a break when Russ was fouled and it was ruled a flagrant one. After the foul, it was a three-point game.
Russ had an open jumper in the corner and opted not to shoot it and instead took a highly contested layup which he missed. This reminded me of those jumpers he refused to take at the beginning of the game. He ended the night shooting 4-14 and I know Russ already gets killed on social media, but he was really bad today.
Still, the story has to be that awful foul call.
Not complaining about Darvin Ham or Russell Westbrook when this happened at the end of regulation. pic.twitter.com/CCgFqTGOKm— Colb (@___Colb___) January 29, 2023
The NBA and the referees involved have already both admitted to the Lakers that they blew it.
A Brown jumper gave Boston a five-point lead with under a minute to go and that was all she wrote. The loss will be all about the missed call and that Last Two Minute Report will likely go viral tomorrow, however Darvin Ham could care less.
Ham adds: "I don't want to see another Last Two Minute Report. They can save that." https://t.co/KEeU0UskyS— Kyle Goon (@kylegoon) January 29, 2023
Given that no matter what it says, the Lakers are stuck with a loss, it’s hard to argue with that sentiment.
You can follow Edwin on Twitter at @ECreates88.