A Lonzo Ball-less Los Angeles Lakers hold off a late Boston Celtics run to win, 108-107, tonight at the Staples Center.
Coming into tonight’s game, the Lakers have won six of their last eight, while the Celtics have lost three straight.
The Lakers were without Lonzo Ball (knee sprain) and Guerschon Yabusele was a scratch for the Celtics. With Yabusele out, guard Jarell Eddie was on the active roster for the first time since signing a 10-day contract on January, 20.
Despite shooting 3-of-12 from three, the Celtics held a 21-15 lead at the end of the first.
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To open the second, Eddie found himself on the floor, and ended up finishing the game with zero points and one rebound over four minutes in his debut.
During the second quarter, the Celtics stepped up their ball movement, helping to propel them to 53-45 lead heading into halftime.
Marcus Smart and Daniel Theis pulled off a great pick and roll alley-oop play that you watch again in the film room.
In the first half, the Lakers bench outscored their starters 31-to-14. And Marcus Smart was the C’s leading scorer with 15 points (3-6 3PT).
The Celtics struggled coming out the half, scoring zero points in the first 2:30 minutes. And it wasn’t until Al Horford knocked a three from the top of the key that the C’s scored their first points of the quarter.
Following a Lakers 12-3 run to start third, they took a 57-56 lead into the fourth quarter.
Aron Baynes found himself riding the bench late in the game, after committing five fouls about halfway through the third. Fouls were an issue for the Celtics, committing 25 fouls, leading to a whopping 36 free throws for the Lakers.
It wasn’t until a minute into the fourth, that Jayson Tatum (1-6 FG/1-3 3PT) made his first field goal of the game.
Even though the Celtics struggled through the first half of the fourth quarter, they found a way to buckle down on the defensive end and create opportunities on the offensive side of the ball.
Terry Rozer III nails a three with 23 seconds to play in the game, bringing the C’s within three. Then he scores again, with a strong finish at the rim, to bring the Celtics within one with 7.3 seconds and Lakers ball.
The Lakers’ Kentavious Caldwell-Pope ends up at the line, shooting two, and ends up missing both, with Marcus Smart grabbing the defensive rebound.
Smart pushes the ball up the court, and of all players, he ends up taking the final shot, just to miss from three.
Marcus Smart was THIS CLOSE to a game winner. pic.twitter.com/xoV1WFnFsJ— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) January 24, 2018
Kyrie Irving led all scorers with 33 points (13-24 FG). Smart finished with 22 points (4-10 3PT) off the bench. And the Lakers’ bench ended up out-scoring their own starters 65-to-43.
The Celtics will look to snap their first four game losing streak since March 2016, Wednesday night in the second of a back-to-back against the Los Angeles Clippers.
UP NEXT: The Celtics (34-14) continue their West coast trip Wednesday night against the Clippers (23-23) at the Staples Center. Catch the call of the game with Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell live on 98.5 The Sports Hub. Pre-game coverage begins at 10:00 p.m., with tip-off set for 10:30 p.m.
— By John ‘The Dude’ Hardiman, 985TheSportsHub.com