Jaylen Brown Drops 40 as Celtics Knock off Lakers for 5th Straight WinApril 16, 2021
The Boston Celtics are officially on a roll.
Boston defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 121-113 in the latest edition of the rivalry between the two historic franchises on Thursday at Staples Center. Jaylen Brown led the way for the victors, who extended their winning streak to five and improved to 30-26 on the season.
In addition to dominating throughout, Brown also made two critical baskets in the closing minutes after the Lakers' second unit came charging back from a 27-point deficit to add drama at the end.
Solid showings from Marc Gasol and Talen Horton-Tucker were not enough for the Lakers, who dropped to 34-22 as they continue to struggle with consistency without LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Notable Player Stats
- Jaylen Brown, G, BOS: 40 PTS, 9 REB, 3 AST, 17-of-20 FG
- Jayson Tatum, F, BOS: 14 PTS, 5 REB, 5 AST
- Marcus Smart, G, BOS: 15 PTS, 6 REB, 4 AST
- Marc Gasol, C, LAL: 18 PTS, 4 REB, 3 AST
- Talen Horton-Tucker, G, LAL: 19 PTS, 7 AST, 7 REB, 3 STL
Jaylen Brown Leads Balanced Boston Attack
The Celtics have dealt with inconsistency throughout much of the season, but the Jayson Tatum and Brown show came just in time.
Tatum entered Thursday's game against the Lakers with 20 or more points in 11 straight contests. He went over 30 in four of those contests, including when he torched the Minnesota Timberwolves for 53 points in an overtime victory. Brown had 20 or more in his previous four games.
Tatum was solid again as Boston built a commanding 13-point halftime lead while Brown poured in 21 points on 9-of-10 shooting by intermission. He threw down a monster dunk, hit multiple threes and flashed his shooting touch from the mid-range all against a Lakers team that is No. 1 in the league in defensive rating.
Throw in Tristan Thompson scoring on the block, and it was clear which team had more firepower in this matchup from the start.
All five Celtics were in double figures by the end of the third quarter, as Marcus Smart and Kemba Walker found their stroke from deep. Walker also facilitated when the defense collapsed on him, while Smart battled for boards and provided his typically strong defense.
The balance made Boston all the more difficult to stop, but it was Brown leading the way.
He all but put the game on ice in the opening stretch of the fourth quarter with a triple and drive into the lane as the visitors pushed the advantage to 20 points. It was a reminder that Tatum is far from the only star on the Celtics, which makes them a legitimate threat to the Eastern Conference's top teams if they continue to play like they have of late.
Shorthanded Lakers Missing Firepower to Keep Up
It has been a game of guess the primary offensive threat for the Lakers ever since James and Davis suffered their injuries.
In fact, the Purple and Gold featured a different leading scorer in each of their previous six contests. It was Kyle Kuzma who spearheaded the effort in Tuesday's win over the Charlotte Hornets, which was a much-needed showing for him after he posted a plus-minus rating of minus-26 in Monday's loss to the New York Knicks.
There were even fewer candidates to spearhead the offense Thursday with Andre Drummond and Markieff Morris sidelined and the Lakers offense was largely missing in the early going.
Gasol was the only starter with more than three points at halftime, although Talen Horton-Tucker and Montrezl Harrell provided a spark off the bench to keep Los Angeles within striking distance.
The offense temporarily arrived in the form of Gasol and Kuzma after halftime.
The pair combined for five triples in the third quarter alone, which was the only thing that prevented the Celtics from fully pulling away.
Still, it wasn't nearly enough with Brown going off at the other end. The Lakers didn't have their stars who could have countered Brown with their own head-turning performances, and the lack of consistent production from the starting lineup outside of Gasol and Kuzma proved to be their undoing even though the second unit made an impressive charge at the end.
Both teams are home Saturday when the Lakers face the Utah Jazz and the Celtics play the Golden State Warriors.