In the most impressive win so far this season, the Boston Celtics get their six straight victory over the Los Angeles Lakers 116-95. A game that should have been more competitive, turned into a blowout quickly once Boston started playing with an up-tempo offense and shared the basketball. Kevin Garnett passed the 25,000 career point market tonight, and what better team to do it against than the Los Angeles Lakers.
Boston started out the game very passive and stagnant on the offensive end tonight. They didn’t move the ball, and rarely took the ball to the hoop. The Lakers at first capitalized on the Celtics inability to get into the paint early, and Los Angeles kept the game close until the second quarter.
In the second quarter, Boston finally started to push the tempo, taking advantage of the Lakers lack of height. The Celtics stopped taking bad jump shots and worked the ball around to find the open man. Their defensive intensity picked up, making the Lakers take highly contested shots, and making Kobe Bryant try beating them by himself. The Celtics went into the half up by 14 points, but in the third quarter, Boston went on an offensive explosion.
The third quarter was without a doubt the best Boston has played in years. The Celtics offense was too much for the Lakers to handle and Paul Pierce was the main reason for the defense’s headaches. Pierce scored 12 points in the third, looking like he went into the hot tub time machine. He could get anywhere he wanted to go offensively, drawing fouls, and taking it aggressively to the rim. But Pierce can’t take all the credit, Jeff Green and Courtney Lee came up big on both sides of the court.
Courtney Lee’s defense on Kobe Bryant was impeccable, but the greatest player in the NBA today still made highly contested shots. Lee was a major factor making Kobe work for every shot. Jeff Green still never ceases to amaze me. After a fast break dunk, Green ran back on defense to make a great chase down block which lead to a Paul Pierce pull-up three pointer to put the Celtics up by 26 points with a minute remaining in the third. From that point on Boston never looked back, and got the 21 point victory.
After observing this game, the Lakers defense is absolutely horrible. All night they were horrid at best, and clearly, the injuries have taken a toll on this team. There was no inside presence whatsoever, and Boston got into the paint at will. The Lakers offense wasn’t any better, as Kobe had to do most of the scoring. If it wasn’t for him, Los Angeles would have lost by a lot more.
For Boston, the up-tempo offense continues to work. When the Celtics started running, easier shots became available, there was more spacing on the floor, and lanes to the basket opened up which allowed Boston to draw fouls or get the easy layup.
Tonight was a team victory. Everyone had to step up tonight, and even Fab Melo saw some time getting his first career points. As Boston continues to win, the confidence from both the players and fans builds. The Celtics look to extend their win streak to seven games when they take on the Denver Nuggets at home on Sunday.