Austin Reaves had himself a game, scoring in bunches and ending the night with 32 points, two rebounds and three assists. D’Angelo Russell tallied a double-double on the night with a big 3-pointer later, finishing with 16 points and 14 assists as well as eight rebounds.
Max Christie got more run than usual and capitalized on it scoring nine points in his 22 minutes of play. Rui Hachimura stepped up off the bench with 15 points — 10 of those coming in the fourth quarter — and eight rebounds along with four assists.
Jaxson Hayes had his best game as a Laker, tallying 16 points and 10 rebounds with three steals in 33 minutes.
The Lakers had all starters in double figures and shot 52.8% from three to earn one of their best wins of the year.
Utilizing a starting lineup that had played zero minutes together this season against the team with the best record in the NBA isn’t a recipe for success, but the Lakers looked better than expected during the opening minutes. They had some defensive follies, but their defensive communication and effort were top-notch.
L.A. led 16-10 midway through the quarter, crashing the offensive glass while the Celtics started 1-6 from range. Boston settled down and went on an 8-0 run during the closing minutes and the Lakers lead was down to three after one.
In the second quarter, the Lakers started getting hot from deep, with Reaves, Christie and Jarred Vanderbilt all converting from 3-point land.
Boston tried to close out the quarter positively, but Christie hit a clutch three and then got back on defense to close out on a Jayson Tatum 3-point attempt as the Lakers won the quarter 32-21. They headed to the break up 60-46 thanks largely in part to their effort and 13-3 pointers in the half.
The biggest negative for the Lakers in the first half is the injury Jarred Vanderbilt suffered during the closing minutes of the second quarter. He didn’t start in the second half as he remained in the locker room getting evaluated and did not return.
Jarred Vanderbilt went straight back to the Lakers locker room before halftime with an apparent ankle injury.— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPoints) February 2, 2024
Prayers up for Vando pic.twitter.com/PBsFlqqtAY
Reaves continued his offensive tear in the third quarter, scoring six of the Lakers' first eight points, making it clear that the Lakers weren't going to go away. But Boston wasn’t going away either.
Tatum hit a three from the wing, then fought Rui Hachimura for a loose ball and the Celtics crowd started to get into it as the Lakers lead began to shrink. However, they weathered the storm and after a Reaves three and a Max Christie layup, the Lakers lead was back up to ten, entering the final frame.
The entire game was a total team effort by the visitors and the fourth was no different.
Taurean Prince opened up the scoring with a layup on a Russell assist and Hachimura scored five straight points to put the Lakers up by a dozen.
Midway through the quarter, Hachimura made it rain again and the Lakers stayed in the driver's seat. Russell hit a huge three over Derrick White to keep the lead in double-figures, keeping Boston at bay and with two minutes left in the game, the result was in hand and this one was in the refrigerator.
What an incredible win.
It defied all logic and common sense and isn’t that so 2023/24 Lakers? Underperforming against bad teams and surprising you with brilliance against the league’s best.
The Lakers need to be better as a group to get to where they want to go and today showed a blueprint of what they can accomplish when they give the necessary effort.
Hopefully, an injury update on Vanderbilt is a positive one and James and Davis make their return to play on Saturday when the Lakers play the Knicks in New York.
You can follow Edwin on Twitter at @ECreates88.