By Tristan Deschenes, 98.5 The Sports Hub
After a three-game losing streak, many Celtics fans could not have expected Monday’s tilt between the C’s and visiting Los Angeles Lakers to go the way it did. But Boston finally got off to a good start, busted out of their shooting slump, and blew out Lebron James and the West-best Lakers, 139-107.
Out to a three-point lead through the first 12 minutes of action at TD Garden, the Celtics’ 33 points in the quarter marked the first time the C’s had scored 30 or more points in the first quarter since Jan. 9 against the 76ers.
And after holding an early lead, Boston took control in the second quarter, and Jayson Tatum knocked down a three with 10:38 to go to increase the Green’s lead to 40-32. The Celtics continued to pour the pressure on the Lakers, as Enes Kanter, who had a monster first half, gave the Celtics a 57-45 lead after a putback layup with 3:48 to go in the half.
Kanter would score another putback with 1:40 to go to get the C’s lead up to 14, and Kanter would score yet another putback with 1:09 left to give the Celtics a 69-53 lead, and carried a 14-point edge into halftime. The C’s were led by big first-half performances from Tatum (15 points) and Kanter (18 points and eight rebounds, including six offensive boards).
The Green continued to dominate and put the game away in the third quarter, and with no play bigger than Jaylen Brown’s Garden-buzzing dunk over James with 8:29 in the third to give the Celtics an 81-63 advantage.
Boston continued to pour it on after a Tatum And-1 put the C’s up by 32 with 9:12 to go in the game. The got the lead up to 34 at one point and the Lakers tapped out with 8:40 to go in the fourth to the sound of “Beat LA” chants.
Finally playing with effort and urgency, the Celtics’ successes undeniably showed up in the stat sheet, too, as Boston shot 55.9 percent from the field, including an impressive 16-for-34 (47 percent) from beyond the arc.
The C’s also out-rebounded the Lakers 48-36, and early offensive rebounds certainly helped Boston build their lead.
Tatum finished with a team-best 27 points on 10-for-18 shooting, while Kemba Walker and Brown each added 20, while Hayward scored 16. Kanter added 18 points and grabbed 11 rebounds (six offensive rebounds) off the bench.
The Lakers did not have a single player score over 20 points and they struggled from three-point range, shooting only 26.9 percent. James only scored 15 points while Javale McGee led the Lakers in scoring with 18. Anthony Davis, meanwhile, scored only nine points while on a minutes restriction. Rajon Rondo and Kyle Kuzma each added 13 points off the bench.
Up Next: The Celtics will face rookie sensation Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night.