The stage was set for an epic Martin Luther King Jr. Day showdown between the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics. Anthony Davis was given the okay to play for the first time in five games, while Kemba Walker and Jaylen Brown made their respective returns for Boston. Only one name was on each team’s injury reports.
With the exception of the first quarter, which ended 33-30 in the Celtics’ favor, it wasn’t much of a contest — or should I say, it wasn’t much of a contest for Boston.
The Celtics ran the Lakers out of TD Garden, 139-107, in their first meeting of the season. Three different Celtics finished with at least 20 points, including Jayson Tatum, who scored 27 points on 10-18 shooting from the field, including 5-8 shooting form the behind the arc.
The Celtics also killed the Lakers on the boards 48-36, led by Enes Kanter, who grabbed a game-high six offensive rebounds. The 36 rebounds the Lakers grabbed is a season-low for them. The 139 they conceded was also a season-high.
While it’s possible that Brad Stevens orchestrated a game plan to keep the Lakers’ big men off of the boards, these types of performances can usually be traced back to effort, and Los Angeles just didn’t want is as bad as Boston did. In a game with as much as eyes this one had because of the rivalry, that’s disappointing.
The Lakers will look to bounce back against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday — the first game of their New York back-to-back. The last time the Lakers beat the Knicks, it was the Lakers who were on the right side of the blowout, winning 1117-87. Following a disappointing loss to their bitter rivals, they’ll be hoping to do that again.