June 19, 2024


If informal followers begin watching the NBA at Christmas, the Celtics gave them a present.

Celtics Lakers
Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown makes an attempt to dunk the ball previous Los Angeles Lakers ahead Rui Hachimura in the course of the first half of an NBA basketball sport, Monday, Dec. 25, 2023, in Los Angeles. AP Picture/Ryan Solar

The Celtics completed off their highway journey on a powerful notice, defeating the Los Angeles Lakers 126-115 on Christmas Day.

Listed below are the takeaways.

1. The Celtics didn’t shoot very nicely from 3-point vary. The truth is, the Lakers hit the identical variety of 3-pointers (13) on 10 fewer makes an attempt (32 for the Lakers, 42 for the Celtics). In the event you wanted any extra motive to roll your eyes at ABC/ESPN’s wearisome halftime evaluation concerning the Celtics’ shot choice, Monday’s sport hammered residence that they don’t truly shoot too many 3-pointers, regardless of the near-constant chorus from TV analysts.

The Celtics didn’t get an enormous scoring sport from Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown — they scored 25 and 19 factors respectively and shot 13-for-32 from the ground, 1-for-11 from behind the arc.

The Celtics allowed Anthony Davis to publish a monstrous 40-point, 13-rebound, four-assist gem on 15-for-26 capturing.

And nonetheless, the Celtics received by double-digits and had been too busy horsing round to keep away from a turnover on what ought to have been the ultimate possession of the sport.

The Celtics already had the eye of anybody who persistently watches the NBA. For anybody who simply began watching at Christmas, welcome. This yr’s crew appears like the actual deal.

2. No Celtics participant dominated individually, however Kristaps Porzingis led all Celtics scorers with 28 factors and as soon as once more regarded just like the fully new dynamic the Celtics have so badly wanted. The Lakers have the sort of cellular massive man who can truly do one thing about Porzingis in Davis, however Davis is way more worthwhile defensively when he can dangle across the paint. If he does that, Porzingis can hit threes. If the Lakers swap another person onto Porzingis, he can simply punish the smaller defender.

In the meantime, 22 of Porzingis’ 28 factors got here after the primary quarter, which meant the majority of his scoring got here when the Celtics cooled off after constructing an 18-point lead with a torrid begin.

3. Derrick White and Jrue Vacation had been each glorious as nicely. White made his All-Star case to a nationwide viewers, pouring in 18 factors to go together with 11 assists, two rebounds, two assists, and two steals, whereas Vacation notched 18 factors, seven rebounds, and 7 assists.

The factor about taking part in with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown (if you’re the remainder of the beginning lineup) is the protection merely can’t pay you as a lot consideration as you deserve. The factor about taking part in with Derrick White, Jrue Vacation and Kristaps Porzingis (if you’re Tatum or Brown) is, if the protection sells out to make you shoot 13-for-32 from the ground, you continue to have an actual likelihood to win.

4. Tatum, by the way, was glorious even and not using a good capturing evening; along with his 25 factors, he grabbed eight rebounds and dished out seven assists, and extra importantly, he accepted the way in which the Lakers had been taking part in and made the suitable performs accordingly. The Lakers clearly didn’t wish to get crushed by Tatum (he has given them a ton of factors earlier than), however he has discovered tips on how to beat groups with out being the focus, which finalizes his transformation into the best famous person possible to play with.

5. The Celtics weathered a scary second within the first half when LeBron James crashed into Jaylen Brown, and the 2 sprawled on the ground briefly — Brown holding his again and James holding his knee. James went to the bench however returned later within the interval. Brown got here again after halftime.

6. The Lakers had some robust problem luck within the first half, adopted by a very pointless problem that prompted a humorous second.

The primary problem was a reasonably apparent overturn: Rui Hachimura was whistled for a foul towards Jaylen Brown in transition that he objectively didn’t commit. The Lakers properly challenged and received, which price the Celtics two free throws.

The second, nevertheless, was a problem fully instigated by James. Tatum went up for a dunk in transition, however he began to fumble it and James blocked it away. James instantly got here away calling for a problem, and Lakers coach Darvin Ham rapidly acquiesced.

Even in a best-case state of affairs for the Lakers, the Celtics would have gotten the ball since James blocked it out of bounds (and the Lakers would have been out of challenges). The Lakers did win the problem, however the replay confirmed Taurean Prince hit Tatum’s arm initially to knock the ball free. The Celtics bought two free throws, and the Lakers had been and not using a problem for all the second half.

That led to Scott Foster inadvertently giving followers at Staples Heart false hope and being loudly booed once they realized that successful the problem didn’t truly quantity to a lot of a victory.

7. The Celtics completed an odd feat: They scored 4 and-ones that didn’t truly quantity to an and-one, as a result of they missed the free throw. Porzingis, whose skill to hit awkward floaters and hooks by way of contact is an actual asset, was the offender thrice.

8. Purple Scorching Chili Peppers bassist Flea is likely one of the Lakers’ highest-profile followers (which is saying one thing, after all), had a take on the Christmas Day sport that Celtics followers will most likely get pleasure from.

9. Doc Rivers was entertaining on the ABC broadcast and — appropriately, since he was masking a Celtics-Lakers sport — advised an enlightening story concerning the 2008 crew. Per Rivers, the 2008 Celtics had been toughened partly by their bench, which steadfastly refused to simply accept that it was a much less gifted group than the starters (which, after all, included three first-ballot Corridor of Famers).

Essentially the most ornery? James Posey, since, as Rivers famous, “he was the one particular person on that crew who had received a title.”

10. Coming into Monday’s sport, the Celtics had been tied for the league’s finest document, they usually had the hardest energy of schedule thus far. The Bucks and Sixers, who had been second and third within the Japanese Convention, had been thirtieth and twenty eighth respectively.

The Celtics adopted up a formidable 5-0 residence stand with an also-impressive 3-1 highway journey. Their solely loss featured Tatum hobbling across the flooring and gamers bricking 3-pointers at a historic tempo. They adopted that with three double-digit wins over Western Convention playoff opponents.

Subsequent up: Two days off earlier than they tackle the Pistons and Raptors on Thursday and Friday.