Celtics miss their shot(s) against Lakers

Celtics miss their shot(s) against Lakers

LOS ANGELES --  Jayson Tatum missed a lay-up in the fourth quarter.

Marcus Smart goes off for 22 points, but comes up short on a potential game-winner.


And Jaylen Brown, one of the more athletic wings in the NBA who loves to play above the rim, missed a lob dunk that seemed to be the fourth-quarter spark the Lakers needed as they scored 9 of the next 11 points on their way towards a 108-10 win over their longtime East coast rival.

“We could have scored a lot more,” Brown told NBC Sports Boston. “I think that lob play was a small example of how the game went.”

He’s right.

It seemed every chance Boston had to take full control of the game was squandered due to a turnover or another missed assignment. 

And so now the Celtics (34-14) find themselves trying to gain some traction going forward after dropping four in a row.

Tuesday’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers was supposed to be the easy one on this four-game West coast trip for the Celtics; the one game that they could afford to be less than their best and still find a path towards success . . .  or so we thought.

Which makes Boston’s 108-107 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers even more of a head-scratcher.

The day began with the news that Al Horford was going to be an All-Star for the fifth time overall and first as a Boston Celtic. The positive vibes continued to flow when coach Brad Stevens revealed that Gordon Hayward, who is in Los Angeles now, might be traveling with the team full-time beginning in March.

From there, things went downhill in a hurry.

While Stevens and the players said all the right things after the loss, like how the Lakers are improving and they have lots of young talent , Boston still had no business losing this game.

And the Lakers did damn near everything they could to give Boston the game in the fourth quarter.

In the final 19.8 seconds of play, the Lakers missed four free throws – four free throws!

“I know we haven’t made them, but we have guys that I trust at the line that need to step up and knock those down,” said Lakers coach Luke Walton.

Boston has picked itself up after disappointing performances before, but this felt . . . different.

In the past, you could look at the losses and chalk them up to something like a key player out, or a tough schedule, or the other team having a player or two that has a career night.

Kyle Kuzma was good for the Lakers, but anyone who has seen this kid play this season should not be shocked to see him drop 28 points. And Jordan Clarkson has been an instant-offense kind of guard off the Lakers bench for years. Julius Randle can be a man-child in the paint, but a 14-point, 14-rebound game isn’t all that surprising to see him produce.

A game that was supposed to provide answers to Boston’s recent struggles only produced more questions about whether this team, as constructed, is as good as we thought it was.

“It was one of those nights, I guess,” Tatum told NBC Sports Boston after the loss.

Unfortunately, Tatum isn’t alone as many more of his teammates have also been in a bit of playing funk.


BEST OF BST PODCAST: Welcome back Celtics

NBC Sports Boston Photo

BEST OF BST PODCAST: Welcome back Celtics

0:41 - The Celtics returned from the All-Star Break in style with a 110-98 win over the Detroit Pistons thanks to a 65-point performance from their bench. A. Sherrod Blakely, Kayce Smith, DJ Bean and Tom Curran break down the victory.

5:52 - More details have been released about the FBI’s probe into NCAA basketball. Tom Curran, Kayce Smith, DJ Bean and Jim Murray discuss how the possible violations by multiple schools will affect the economy of college sports.

11:49 - After saying that the Patriots knew that Malcolm Butler would not be starting in Super Bowl LII, New England safety Devin McCourty amended his statement, adding that the team didn’t know Butler would sit out the entire game. The BST crew continue to discuss the biggest talking point to come out of the Super Bowl.

17:20 - Lou Merloni and Evan Drellich join DJ Bean to discuss the current state of Red Sox Spring Training camp, from the absence of J.D. Martinez to the status of certain bench players like Blake Swihart.



Smart helps Celtics end three-game losing skid

Smart helps Celtics end three-game losing skid

There were Boston Celtics who had more points, rebounds and assists than Marcus Smart. 

But make no mistake about it. 

The Boston Celtics are a better team with Smart’s return, evident by them cruising to a 110-98 win over Detroit. 


Smart was part of a strong second unit, tallying 12 points in his first game back after missing the previous 11 due to a laceration on his right hand that required 20 stitches to close after he punched a picture frame last month. 

“I felt great,” Smart told NBC Sports Boston following the game. “This training staff did a good job of making sure I was still in shape and ready come back when I did come back.”

Within minutes of entering the game, Smart drained a 3-pointer which was part of a Celtics’ 3-point barrage in which they were collectively 17-for-39 on 3’s.

Said Boston’s Daniel Theis: “He (Smart) was great for us today.”

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Boston’s 110-98 win over Detroit. 



Daniel Theis: The 25-year-old rookie came up with one big hustle play after another. And when all was said and done, he had a career-high 19 points on 8-for-10 shooting to go with seven rebounds.

Ish Smith: For most of the night, he was the best player on the floor for the Detroit Pistons. He would lead Detroit with 20 points on 9-for-11 shooting along with six assists. 

Celtics bench: This was one of the best games we’ve seen from Boston’s backups. Along with doing a solid job defensively, the Celtics’ bench absolutely dominated the game scoring the ball. For the night, they had a season-high 65 points scored.



Kyrie Irving: Irving did not have the monster game offensively, and the reason was clear: they didn’t need it. He had 18 points on 7-for-14 shooting which included four made 3’s, not to mention six assists.

Andre Drummond: He got off to a slow start, but Drummond’s play around the rim really picked up after the first quarter as he finished with a double-double of 15 points and 17 rebounds.



Blake Griffin: He had 17 points, but he was non-factor most of the game courtesy of some really strong play defensively by Al Horford. Griffin shot just 5-for-19 from the field and turned the ball over six times.