It’s very difficult to not get too high on the bigs after a win like this. The Boston Celtics didn’t just beat the #1 team in the West, they dominated the entire narrative of the game. While excuses like Anthony Davis was just retuning from injury and Lebron James didn’t give it his all are out there, the bottom line is the Boston out scored and out defended the LA Lakers to a final score of 139-107. This gave Kemba Walker his long awaited victory over LeBron, and reminded not only Celtics Nation, but the Celtics themselves, of what they are capable of. As the team revels the the glory of this victory, let’s all hope they notice the keys to their triumph.
Brad Stevens kept his bench short, which is a glimpse of what to expect during the postseason. Starters were in the majority of the fine with limited key bench players. There was more continuity and maximum effectiveness was achieved from those coming off the bench. Kanter once again didn’t disappoint. In his 24 minutes he provided 18 points and 11 rebounds. As usual, Marcus Smart impacted the game beyond the stat sheet with his energy and grit along with 9 points , 4 assists and 2 steals. Semi Ojeleye had extended minutes, most likely for size, and had a positive +/- rating while on the court. As fun as it is to see guys like Tacko, Edwards and Tremont, it’s clear that they aren’t quite ready to impact the game as needed.
Hearing Chris Webber the day after a bad pass by Marcus Smart that “there is such a thing as too much chemistry” is nothing but laughable. This victory is mainly because of the chemistry the Celtics have developed with each other this season. 31 assists provided enough ball movement to collapse the Lakers defense, and opened opportunities for open looks and shots falling for any of the Celtics on the floor. In addition, Boston displayed some of the finest defense they’ve played this year. They took full advantage of the 10 steals and 15 turnovers by scoring 25 fast break points. In addition, it was great to see the Celtics crash the boards and grab 48 rebounds! While Kanter led the way with 11, it was a a complete team effort. As Boston continues to increase this stat line, victories will become easier to come by.
After LA scored the first eight points of the game, one could hear the groans of Celtics fans everywhere. Everyone braces themselves for a deep first quarter hole, and another disappointing loss. Shots are being blocked by Lakers big men, and it appeared it was going to be a monumental blowout. A blowout it was, just not the one anyone predicted. It was the result of realizing adjustments needed to be made and making them sooner than later. Kemba knew he was not going to be able to shoot among LA trees planted in the paint, and quickly found ways around them. The defense caught on quickly to the pick and rolls and defended the three point line effectively, limiting the Lakers to 26.9% from behind the arc.
It’s always a great day in basketball when Boston beats their long time rivals, the LA Lakers. And as the Celtics keep up this level of play the Eastern Conference Title is well in reach, as is Banner 18. It’s an exciting time to be a Celtics fan as we enjoy this monumental victory.
And as always #bleedgreen
Featured photo by Brian Babineau