Boston Celtics

Boston Celtics

Boston Celtics

  • Well.

    That was something. 

    In a game that once seemed like it was a done deal and an easy win for the Celtics turned into anything but in the fourth quarter — and forced you to feel just about every emotion a December showdown can bring to the table, and in an extremely condensed window — and ultimately required overtime for the Celtics to snap their two-game slide.

    But snapped, it was, as the Celtics blitzed the Lakers late for a 122-118 win in Los Angeles.

    And this game had it all.

  • Out of the gate with 37 points in the first quarter after one of their worst shooting performances of the season Monday night against the Clippers, Jayson Tatum and the Celtics poured it on against LeBron James and Anthony Davis through three quarters, and to the point of a 20-point lead in the second half of action.

    But when the Lakers rattled off an almost impossible 31-5 run over the Celtics in the fourth quarter (no, seriously, they scored 31 of 36 points at one point in this game), it looked as if the C’s were about to truly piss their pants and hit their rock bottom in a 2022-23 season that’s been almost entirely theirs outside of the rare hiccup here and there.

    It was going to be the absolute worst way for the Green to close out a six-game road trip that began with three straight wins.

    The Celtics found life behind a Marcus Smart steal-and-score on a LeBron-to-Westbrook in-bound though, and they rode the momentum from there, culminating with a huge, game-tying bucket by Tatum over LeBron.

  • The overtime was all the Celtics needed for their talent to outshine the Lakers, too, as Jaylen Brown scored a Celtics-leading five points out of their 12-point run in the five-minute overtime, while the Lakers amassed just eight points, with all eight coming from James (two points) and Westbrook (six points).

    In fact, this was a full-on takeover by the C’s Big Three from the final four minutes of the fourth quarter through the conclusion of this contest, as the Brown-Tatum-Smart trifecta scored a combined 23 points on 8-of-12 shooting and collected 11 rebounds in total. Over that same stretch, the Lakers’ threesome of James-Davis-Westbrook shot 6-for-17.

    That’s exactly how C’s interim coach Joe Mazzulla drew it up, too.

  • Calling out his best players before the game, as confirmed by those exact players, Mazzulla got everything he could have hoped for by pressing that button.

    Tatum led the way for the C’s in this one from start to finish, and ended his night with 44 points with a 15-for-29 mark from the floor. It was a much-needed bounce-back performance for Tatum, who had struggled mightily over his last two outings, which were (to the surprise of no one) losses for Boston.

    “[Mazzulla] pointed me out, basically told me it starts with me,” Tatum admitted. “Last game, I played like shit, and he told me that. Told me [with] the way I play, the rest of the guys are gonna follow.

    “He went down the line. Went down to JB, went down to Smart. Said it was our responsibility and that if we want to be champions, if we want to get to that point, it’s a responsibility each and every night.”

    Brown, meanwhile, grabbed a career-high 15 rebounds in the victory.

    The victory salvaged the road trip and will bring the Celtics back to Boston with a solid 4-2 record during the six-game trek away from the paradise that has been TD Garden this season, and sets them up nicely for an extended home stretch against some so-so competition.

  • The Celtics kick off that homestand Friday night against the Magic.

    And the good news is that reinforcements are indeed on the way, as the Celtics expect to get Al Horford (personal) back in action, while Robert Williams (knee) is day-to-day and could rejoin the team and make his season debut in the coming days.

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