The Boston Celtics absolutely pummeled the Lebron James and Anthony Davis led Los Angeles Lakers last night. The game was in Boston, so a Celtics victory is not super shocking, but winning by 32 points has everyone’s jaw still on the floor. Before Lakers fans begin making excuses, both Lebron James and Anthony Davis were active giving them no reason to have been beaten so terribly. At the same time, Celtics fans should not start raising that 18th banner just yet. I am going dive into what happened in this game and what it means moving forward.
Lakers: What Went Wrong?
Anthony Davis returned to the Lakers after sitting out 5 games with a shoulder injury. Davis ended the night with 9 points and 4 rebounds. This season, the Brow is averaging 26.6 ppg and 9.3rpg. The reason for his lackluster performance may be rust after a few games off but could also be a result of his shoulder injury lingering. Davis is a top 5 talent in the NBA when fully healthy, so we will have to see if he can improve his game in the coming games.
Lebron put up a nice game of 15 points, 13 assists, and 7 rebounds. However, this is still a huge letdown from what is expected of him. This season, he is averaging 25.2ppg, 11apg, and 7.6rpg. On gameday, Lebron drove to and from Springfield to watch his son Bronny James’ basketball game. Many blame the gameday traveling for his poor performance, but Lebron knows he has no excuses for any game. Lebron will be fine and I believe the Celtics did a good job being aggressive with him and forcing passes (reasoning for his low scoring total but high assist total).
Celtics: What Went Well?
Enes Kanter receives a lot of criticism for his inability to play good defense for the Celtics. One thing nobody can criticize is his ability with the ball around the rim on offense. Kanter can best be described as a crafty finisher around the rim. I don’t think I have seen such a monster at snatching offensive rebounds. His devotion to winning against LA resulted in him scoring 18 points and gathering 11 rebounds. 6 of the 11 rebounds were offensive rebounds. Enes Kanter is the definition of second-chance points. His scoring off offensive rebounds made it much more difficult for the Lakers to ever catch up.
Tatum is really starting to look like a natural scorer. He put up 27 points last night and it seemed like a breeze for him. His scoring averages are growing and that is going to be so essential in future matchups especially in the playoffs. His +/- was +32 and the game ended with the Celtics winning by 32. When Tatum is on the court, good things will happen for Boston. His hesitation move allowed him to beat the defender off the dribble almost every time. Tatum is really beginning to look like that number 2 scorer behind Kemba.
Everyone is finally beginning to realize that Jaylen deserved that contract from Boston before the season began, and probably deserves more! Brown put up 20 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists in the victory against Los Angeles Lakers. Funny enough, all of those numbers are right at his average per game performance with 2 more assists than normal. What stands out are his 3 steals that deflated LA as well as the ferocious dunk over Lebron James. Dunking on Lebron James sends a message that you are not intimidated by him. When one player shows fearlessness, it becomes contagious and everyone will play a little ballsier. Jaylen’s aggression on both defense and offense is the primary contributor for the victory.
NBA Finals Preview?
The Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers are the two most successful franchises in NBA history. On top of success, Boston and LA also hold the most notable historical rivalry the NBA has ever seen. They have met 12 times in the NBA Finals with Boston winning 9 of the matchups. Celtics vs. Lakers would be the best headline for an NBA Finals, but I still believe the LA Clippers will defeat the Milwaukee Bucks for the Larry O’Brien Trophy come June. However, I do believe the Celtics and Lakers will both make their respective Conference Championship rounds in the playoffs. If the ball bounces the right way, maybe we’ll be lucky enough to once again witness a Celtics-Lakers NBA Finals.
Brandon Black (Follow @bhblack02)