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LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, Lakers Cruise Past Jayson Tatum, Celtics

Doric SamDecember 8, 2021

AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

The Los Angeles Lakers bounced back from Friday's loss to the Los Angeles Clippers with a 117-102 win over the Boston Celtics at Staples Center on Tuesday night to improve to 13-12.

NBA @NBA

AD outlet pass.<br>LeBron in the open court.<br><br>You know what happens next... <a href="https://twitter.com/Lakers?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Lakers</a> lead in Q3 on TNT! <a href="https://t.co/vuh4EKNW4y">pic.twitter.com/vuh4EKNW4y</a>

The Celtics, who were without Jaylen Brown for a third straight game because of a hamstring injury, fell to 13-12. The Lakers led by as many as 20 points in the second half.


Notable Player Stats

F LeBron James, LAL: 30 points (13-of-19 FG)

Russell Westbrook, LAL: 24 points, 11 assists (9-of-16 FG)

F Anthony Davis, LAL: 17 points, 16 rebounds (7-of-13 FG)

F Jayson Tatum, BOS: 34 points, eight rebounds (13-of-22 FG, 5-of-7 3PT)


Lakers Pick Up Defense

Los Angeles has struggled defensively this season, giving up 113.4 points per game entering Tuesday (29th in the NBA). Against the Celtics, the Lakers played the stifling defense head coach Frank Vogel has been looking for all season.

Things looked shaky to start when Tatum opened up with 14 points in the first quarter, but Los Angeles locked in quickly, and Boston was held to 8-of-22 shooting in the second quarter.

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The halftime break didn't help matters as the Celtics opened the third quarter missing seven straight shots. The Lakers, meanwhile, were able to get out in transition and went on a 15-7 run to take a 75-62 lead.

Greg Beacham @gregbeacham

The Lakers have held Boston to 9-of-31 shooting since the 1st quarter, and that's a big reason LA just stretched its lead to a game-high 13 in the 3rd quarter. LeBron is up to 22, and Russ has 13.

Los Angeles continued to play with great energy defensively and forced the Celtics into 12 turnovers through three quarters, and the lead eventually grew to 19 after this emphatic dunk from Westbrook:

NBA @NBA

RUSS 😳<br><br>The BIG jam gives him 15 PTS for the quarter as the <a href="https://twitter.com/Lakers?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Lakers</a> lead on TNT! <a href="https://t.co/CrtU9Xst4P">pic.twitter.com/CrtU9Xst4P</a>

Los Angeles has taken some surprising losses this year thanks in large part to its defensive struggles, notably falling to the Oklahoma City Thunder twice.

However, that wasn't a problem versus the Celtics, as their activity and hustle were on full display.


Celtics Fail to Take Advantage of Tatum's Big Night

Tatum was outstanding, opening the game with 14 straight points:

Celtics on NBC Sports Boston @NBCSCeltics

Enjoy Jayson Tatum going off with 14 straight points to start the game ☘️ <a href="https://t.co/LTYwbcoNQ4">pic.twitter.com/LTYwbcoNQ4</a>

He attacked on the inside, from the mid-range and beyond the three-point line. However, he didn't have much help, with Robert Williams III second on the team in scoring with just 13 points.

Jay King @ByJayKing

Celtics have lost their composure. Just some bad possessions throughout the first half of this third quarter.

Boston's defense was porous, allowing Los Angeles to score 66 points in the paint, and the Celtics couldn't match the Lakers' energy at times. Perhaps it would have been a different story with Brown available, but they looked out of sorts versus a beatable Lakers squad.


What's Next?

The Lakers will hit the road to face the Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday. The Celtics will remain in Los Angeles to take on the Clippers on Wednesday.

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