The Los Angeles Lakers started their post-All-Star-break lives just the way they wanted, in blowing out the Boston Celtics at home 113-99.
The Lakers led for much of the game, using a dominant third quarter to expand their lead deep into the double digits. After trailing by nine at halftime, the Celtics really never put up much of a fight in the second half.
Dwight Howard arrived in a big way to start the second part of his first Lakers season. Boston simply had no match for his strength, allowing him to rack up 24 points and 12 rebounds when all was said and done.
Howard wasn't alone though, as Los Angeles put seven players in double figures. They also tallied 54 points in the paint.
Paul Pierce had a sublime first half, scoring 23 points with relative ease. After the intermission, he found it a lot tougher to get going. Pierce finished with a game-high 26 points, but got little help elsewhere.
The win pushed the Lakers to the verge of a playoff picture, now at 26-29. They are in the No. 9 spot in the Western Conference. For the Celtics, this was their second loss since the break, dropping them to 28-26 overall.
Let's hit the Bleacher Report classroom and see how everyone graded out.