The Boston Celtics couldn’t have scripted a better start to their five-game west coast trip which began with a 115-95 pummeling of longtime rival, the Los Angeles Lakers.
Now it shouldn’t come as that big a shock considering the Celtics (40-22) are one of the better teams in the NBA while the Lakers (19-43) are poised for another playoff-less season.
But as we have seen in the past when these two have played, overall records have little value when the two most storied franchises in NBA history face off.
But Friday night went for the most part as expected.
The Lakers jumped out to a 7-2 lead, only for the Celtics to respond with a 12-3 run of their own.
The Celtics took their first double-digit lead in the first quarter, led by 25 at the half and pushed their lead past the 30-point plateau.
But the dominance seemed too good to last, as the Lakers closed out the third quarter with a 20-4 run that cut Boston’s lead to 93-78 going into the fourth quarter.
The Celtics controlled the action so much, the King of the Fourth – Isaiah Thomas – didn’t play a single minute in the final period of play. Ditto for Jae Crowder.
Thomas still managed to score 18 points along with eight assists while Crowder scored 10 of his 14 points in the first quarter. He also grabbed six rebounds. Meanwhile, Jordan Clarkson had 20 points for the Lakers with D’Angelo Russell chipping in with 17 points.
The Celtics executed at both ends of the floor at a fairly high rate, showing the kind of precision that you would come to expect if they’re facing one of the league’s cellar dwellers.
Aside from a poor finish in the third, the Celtics showed the kind of consistent, high level basketball that they’ll need to deliver going forward.
And in the midst of the dominant performance where a slew of highlight reel plays made by the youngsters; among them Jaylen Brown.
He finished with 16 points which included alley-oop dunks and lob finishes around the rim, one of which involved him catching the ball in mid-air and switching hands to finish off the play.
As Boston’s lead continued to blossom, the Celtics were able to rest their veterans, provide quality minutes to the young players like Brown and most important, they got the win.