Lakers Catch Fire in Second Half, Down Rival Celtics

Andre Khatchaturian —  January 17, 2014

BOSTON — The Los Angeles Lakers drained 11 of their 15 second half three pointers and scored 11 unanswered points to finish the game to defeat the Boston Celtics at TD Garden, 107-104, on Friday night in Rajon Rondo’s long awaited return.

Kendall Marshall’s three with 1:09 remaining in the game put the Lakers on top, 105-104, and they hung on to win. Prior to his triple, Jodie Meeks and Wesley Johnson added threes of their own to close the gap.

After Marshall made his three, the Lakers were winding the clock down when the Celtics forced Wes Johnson to a jump ball. During the jump ball, both players appeared to tap the ball out of bounds simultaneously. The ball was awarded to the Lakers. However, after a video review, the officials called for a re-jump. Johnson won the re-jump and Ryan Kelly sank two free throws to seal the victory.

Marshall scored 19 points, 14 assists and was 4-for-5 from downtown in the victory. The Lakers also got solid production from Kelly, who scored 20 points on 6-of-12 shooting. Pau Gasol led the team in points and rebounds with 24 and 13, respectively.

Rajon Rondo made his season debut and was introduced as the team’s captain during the pre-game introductions. He showed his leadership in the second quarter by making three consecutive lay-ups and giving a Celtics an early cushion. Rondo was limited to 19 minutes of action, though, and wasn’t very impactful after the first half. Rondo finished with eight points and four assists.

Kelly Olynyk put on a clinic for the C’s, scoring 25 points and dishing seven assists in the loss. Phil Pressey also added nine assists as the Celtics had 34 assists on 44 field goals made. They came into the game ranked 28th in the category with just 19.8 assists per game. Their solid ball movement was a big reason why they were leading throughout most of the game.

The Lakers, however, exemplified great ball movement as well. They recorded 27 assists on 37 field goals made. Whenever the ball was moving, they were efficient. That said, after only turning the ball over once in the first quarter, the team had coughed it up 19 times when the final buzzer sounded. The Celtics, on the other hand, only turned it over seven times.

Because of the turnover disparity, the Celtics took 25 more shots than the Lakers did in the game. However, because of the Lakers impressive three point shooting, especially in the second half, the Celtics couldn’t muster a W. After shooting near 30 percent throughout the last 13 games, the Lakers exploded from downtown and made 60 percent of their threes.

Whether it was luck, impressive ball movement, or both, the Lakers will take it. It’s been awhile since they’ve gotten a break like the one’s they got tonight (the re-jump) and it was good to see the team not falter in the second half.

One thing also rang true in this game: when these two teams play, the records must be thrown away because more often than not it’s going to be a classic and tonight’s game had the fans buzzing and reminiscing of the 2008 and 2010.

The Lakers will now continue their Grammy Road Trip on Sunday as they play a matinee in Toronto.

Andre Khatchaturian

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29 responses to Lakers Catch Fire in Second Half, Down Rival Celtics

  1. I never doubted them!

  2. I would not say we caught fire exactly, the Celts are just that bad.

  3. Does one game constitute a win streak?

  4. This year it’s a dynasty!

  5. I love that comment KO! Hahaha

  6. Ko,
    Can’t top that. You’re the one.

  7. Thank you Lakers… my assistant coach is a die hard Celtics fan. It kills me to listen to him when they win.

    I still have some faith in Marshall. I know he had a lot of turnovers, but he is getting a chance to play and learn on the job, he clearly has great passing instincts, his shot mecanics look alright and hopefully he is learning from Steve Nash.

  8. As much as we all here dispise the Celtics, they will be a force again in the near future. 17 drafts picks in the next 5 years. Getting a pick for doc was brilliant. They are tanking, they are doing all the right moves. Come on Mitch and Jim get a clue!

  9. Azzemoto,
    Yup, they get 17picks in 5 yrs – instead of the usual 10picks in 5 yrs. It is a chance to improve. However, as has been pointed out here, it is only a chance, and draft picks are only a crapshoot – not a sure thing. Most of them will be busts. There is a reason the draft was cut back to only two rounds. It costs money to draft players and sign them, often as a defensive measure against other clubs.

    The most likely scenario is that Danny Ainge will trade many of them for a known body or two, perhaps to enhance any Rondo trade. The draft is a tool, not a panacea. The odds are long, no matter the method. I don’t poo-poo their picks, but those who look at them as the magic answer.

  10. Going back to the Game Thread –

    Craig W. January 17, 2014 at 8:19 pm

    Tra,
    Don’t you think that was one reason the front office got rid of S. Williams? To force Kelly to play more? It also forced some more time for Kaman ..

    Definitely so Craig W., and I mentioned as much within my post. I just happen to feel that there’s a certain segment of Laker fans who believe that the sole purpose of Williams being waived was due to finances. Not recognizing that the move gives the organization an opportunity to see what they have in Kelly. A nice, under the radar move by your beloved Front Office. :-)

    As far as your thoughts on Kaman, since D’Antoni is the coach, I guess we’ll have to wait and see. I would hope that he receives more playing time – like I have all season – but it’s become quite obvious that 1, he and D’Antoni don’t see eye to eye and 2, D’Antoni just doesn’t know how to handle/deal with ‘traditional’ big men (not as if we need any references, but we can look back on how he treated Pau last season and how he’s treated the aforementioned Kaman, along with Hill throughout their tenure together and even Sacre this season). So, like I mentioned earlier, I’ll take the wait and see approach in regards to The Caveman’s minutes.

    On another note, although both teams are currently in rebuilding mode, after all these years, it still feels good beating them kats from Boston.

  11. The draft is a tool, not a panacea. The odds are long, no matter the method. I don’t poo-poo their picks, but those who look at them as the magic answer.
    ___
    superbly succinct
    ___
    Pau showed his Laker pride,IMO -
    & Kelly´s footwork when double teamed at the end of the 4th impressed me.

  12. At least they have a plan. Explain to me ours?

  13. Game: Great win. Love beating the C’s. The Celtics are the Lakers second biggest rival of the century, and by a good margin. Hard place to play – it used to be cigar smoke and holes in the floor. Those are gone, but you do have to put up with the smell of moth balls from the rafters.

    Craig W.: You and I are in full agreement that the draft is a crapshoot and can’t be depended on as an end all solution (unless there is a Shaq, or you get very lucky). That said, if we get a top 3 pick, it would be a probable “star”. Not a super star, but a star (probably). The thing about Boston is that they have increased their odds with the volume of picks. Of course some/most will be busts, but they have better odds now. Azzemoto is correct about the clarity of their plan.

  14. We went after Chris Paul, then Steve Nash and Dwight Howard. We used picks to facilitate those moves, as we have done in the past to great success. Our efforts didn’t work out (The Veto, injuries, and psychological predilections). As a result we are left without many draft picks for the next 3 or so years.

    Our plan is, apparently, to sign a number of young 1st round draft picks who haven’t worked out, to see if a system designed to show their talents to best effect could either enhance their obvious talent or trade value. Then we judiciously sign more veteran free agents (Kobe and others) to provide some leadership for these talented ‘so far busts’.

    We have a few draft picks and have to be very careful whom we pick, as we can’t really afford much in the way of ‘busts’ – see Kelly as an apparent success here.

    How, exactly, does this not count as a plan?

    I suspect the answer is that it isn’t ‘your’ plan, whoever you is.

    We are in the middle of a very difficult time, made more difficult by a 2-std-deviation run of injuries. Incidentally, professional sports is going through an incredible time for injuries. Perhaps 1) man is reaching his limit, as far as his body is concerned, 2) medicine has pushed us so far beyond normal, other internal systems are breaking down in reaction to stress, 3) our sports practices and lack of cross-training are making us much more susceptible to injury.

  15. One good thing about an 82-game season: there will always be a few nice moments, no matter how bad the big picture is.

    As to Boston’s massive number of draft picks, people are leaving out a very key point: picks can 1st-round picks can also be, and often are, traded as part of deals not just to get “known bodies” but to get stars. Ainge used picks in the deals to get Allen and Garnett.

    The Lakers OTOH have already played that hand–and lost it.

    And Kevin McHale is still in Minnesota.

  16. Azzemoto,

    Well, the thing is, the Lakers are now on Plan E.

    A-Paul and Howard
    B-Nash and Howard
    C-Pray Howard stays
    D-Try for a low seed and keep cap space open
    E-Keep Kobe and try to move forward with the rest of the cap space around him, while hoping for a score in the draft.

    And, if you are on Plan E, that means A-D didn’t work, so you’re in trouble.

  17. McHale is obviously in Houston, and I apologize for misstating such a simple fact. I can only attribute it to the mental trauma of thinking about the 2008 Celtics.

    The rest of the post holds, though–if it looks like Love is leaving Minnesota, I expect Ainge to go hard after Love at next year’s deadline.

  18. Incidentally, professional sports is going through an incredible time for injuries.

    Data? Football concussions, perhaps. I have not see data about other sports.

  19. Personal thoughts on the players today.

    Great matchups in college basketball today. Parker has some fire in his belly, I like that. Couple that with his basketball skills and ability to refine those skills, any team that gets him in the draft will have made a good pick.

    Randle has an NBA body, I’ve seen too little of him to determine if his skill set will transfer to the NBA in an appreciable level.

    The matchup of the day will be when Smart’s team plays Wiggins team, this should be an epic college game to remember.

    Smart has a will to win, that is unparalleled in college basketball, so we’ll see which team follows their leader.

    I’m not sure about Wiggins will to win, I’ll be looking for him to be a fire breathing dragon.

  20. C.Hearn,

    You might add the following to your list of draft possibilities:

    1) Joel Embiid–kinda reminds one of Roy Hibbert but somewhat more fluid. He’s a decent rebounder and a dynamite shot-blocker. For any team going after a rim protector (Hello, Lakers?), he could be an excellent choice. (But he’ll be gone early, 1-3 IMO.)

    2) Aaron Gordon of Arizona–reminiscent, somewhat, of Blake Griffin. He’s less NBA-ready than Julius Randle or Jabari Parker. But he’s strong, can jump out of the building, and is a double-double waiting to happen. I think he should stay in college another year. But he won’t. He’ll go 6-9.

    It truly is a strong draft. And I didn’t even mention Dante Exum, the 6-6 pg from Australia.

  21. Watching OK vs Kansas

    Embid would help Lakers.

  22. Mid-Wilshire:

    I like Embiid’s defensive presence and rebounding. He’s unrefined offensively, he’s no Shaq. He’s young enough that if he had Olajuwom or Kareem work with him he could be a beast on offense, too. Embiid definitely wouldn’t be a bad pick.

    Aaron Gordon is an interesting player that has will have to show more than athleticism. I like him, though.

    In the Oklahoma State-Kansas game, neither Wiggins or Smart are playing a Blue Chip game.

    The Lakers are bleeding profusely in areas of need.

  23. Considering how raw Embiid is, the guy has game. He gets better every time I see him. I don’t see the Hibbert comparison. This kid gets up off the ground better than Hibbert did in college and is much more coordinated. His gait is athletic. Hibbert was always a fundamentally sound, well coached player. He needed to work on his body coming into the NBA and obviously has improved his skill set. IMO, Embiid has a much higher ceiling than Hibbert. Embiid is going to be a franchise changer. His frame can take some more muscle and he’s only been playing the game since he was 16.

    Man, Smart is good at drawing in the D and kicking out.

    I just want to say, I’ve been reading this blog since 2007 or ’08 I think and I think it’s pretty cool that we’ve only now had a reason to pay any attention to the top kids coming in from college. It’s been a good run.

  24. I had a long post about the college guys last week. I am not a draft expert by any means, but I said then that I think Embiid is the guy, and nothing I have seen today has made me think otherwise.

    This is not to say that Embiid will have no learning curve, or that the other guys will be busts. But I think Embiid has a great chance to be a really good two-way big and those are tough to find.

  25. rr-I remember your post. Embiid has risen to the top of the heap with his play during the past few games.

  26. “I just want to say, I’ve been reading this blog since 2007 or ’08 I think and I think it’s pretty cool that we’ve only now had a reason to pay any attention to the top kids coming in from college. It’s been a good run.”

    I’ve been paying attention to these guys since 2009. Its nice to see other Laker fans take a closer attention to college basketball even if its because of the nba draft. Sometimes I felt like the only one who cared.

  27. It’s so fun listening to the Clippers announcers try to explain why the team is getting their lunch taken from them by the Pacers.

    The Clippes are playing back to back…. Wait until the playoffs when the teams ae in a seven game series…. Blah, blah, blah!

    BTW, that dunk by George was sick.

    IDK, the Clippers signed Hedo. Where have I been? He looks fat and out of shape, and of course he would seeing as how he hasn’t played the game in a few years.

  28. C.Hearn, that’s interesting. I was listening to the Pacers radio broadcast of the same game. Their announcers are very impressed with this team and don’t foresee anyone else knocking them off on the way to the Larry O trophy in June. They very well may be the best in the East, but I think several teams in the West (OKC, Spurs, Blazers) are capable of beating them in a 7-game series.

  29. Sure, Embiid is raw, but he’s visibly improving from week to week. No other college player I’ve seen is making such rapid strides. One thing to watch out for: his tendency to get into foul trouble. Part of this stems from being so new to basketball, but whoever drafts him will have to deal with it.