Danny Ainge scored 15 points in the first quarter to set the tone, but backup forward Scott Wedman was the hero in this one, going a perfect 11-for-11 from the floor to score 26 points off the bench.
As for the Lakers? Star big man Kareem Abdul-Jabbar scored just 12 points and actually apologized to his teammates after the 34-point rout, which at the time was the most lopsided result in Celtics-Lakers history.
Jayson Tatum has received plenty of praise during the 2019-20 NBA season for raising his game to an All-Star level, and one NBA legend is confident the Boston Celtics forward is capable of taking his talents even higher.
For the Celtics to make the Finals and contend for the franchise's 18th championship, Tatum likely will have to carry the team as its best player and go-to scorer. Chicago Bulls legend and current ESPN NBA analyst Scottie Pippen thinks Tatum is ready to take on that challenge.
Here's what Pippen said on ESPN's "The Jump".
Rachel Nichols: "Do you think Jayson Tatum is already, now, capable of carrying that best player on a championship team title?"
Pippen: "Rachel, I really do. I think this has been a breakout season for Tatum. He started out this season sort of on a mission to separate himself from the other players who've grown and developed, as well as really showing some leadership by becoming an All-Star this season. His scoring was really starting to peak right there (before the season was paused) -- he again separated himself a little bit from the other players to show he was going to be the go-to guy, the offensive leader for that team. I think if this team is to make a run, it has to rely on Tatum's ability to carry them offensively, and I feel like he's totally ready."
It's impressive when a six-time NBA champion and Hall of Famer gives you this kind of praise. It's deserved, too.
Tatum, particularly during his dominant month of February, was going to toe-to-toe with some of the league's best players and putting up crazy stats. One of the games that stands out is the Celtics' thrilling double-overtime victory over the Los Angeles Clippers right before the All-Star break. Tatum scored 39 points and outdueled reigning Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard.
The 22-year-old forward has shown he's capable of being the best player on a title contender, but he won't have to do it alone. The Celtics are the only team with three players (Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Kemba Walker) averaging 20-plus points per game, and Gordon Hayward isn't far behind with 17.3 points scored per game. Boston has great scoring depth, and with Tatum and Walker able to create their shot in any situation during crunch time, C's head coach Brad Stevens has plenty of options late in games when his team needs a bucket.
The C's were the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference when the 2019-20 season halted in mid-March, but it many ways all bets are off entering an unprecedented playoff format that will be played in a neutral location without fans.
NBA teams are set to travel to Orlando this week to begin ramping up for the "seeding round" in late July. The Celtics' entire team is on board at the moment, and now the squad has some extra motivation as it gets set to enter the bubble.