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Lonzo Ball's Shooting Woes Continue as Lakers Fall to Kyrie Irving, Celtics

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistNovember 9, 2017

Boston Celtics' Kyrie Irving drives past Los Angeles Lakers' Lonzo Ball during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Boston on Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
Winslow Townson/Associated Press

The Boston Celtics overcame a sloppy offensive performance to defeat the Los Angeles Lakers 107-96 at TD Garden on Wednesday night and capture their 10th straight win. 

It wasn't a pretty effortthe C's were outscored 80-74 over the game's final three quarters—but 19 points from Kyrie Irving and a career-high-tying 21 from Aron Baynes helped Boston fend off a pesky Lakers team that steadily fought its way back from 20 points down.     

Irving was particularly big in the fourth quarter, when he scored four straight points to put the Celtics back up 10 with under six minutes remaining in regulation, as NBA TV documented on Twitter: 

NBA TV @NBATV

Just let Kyrie handle it. 😳 https://t.co/JPC60k6pWn

"I thought we made timely plays," Boston head coach Brad Stevens said, according to MassLive.com's Jay King. "I didn't think we necessarily played good basketball over the final 30 minutes."

As a team, the Celtics shot 38.8 percent from the field and 24.1 percent from three. 

Those numbers could be contributed, in part, to some solid defense from the Lakers.

However, the Celtics were working at a deficit in the personnel department with Al Horford out because of a concussion and Jayson Tatum sidelined in the second half because of right ankle soreness. 

According to The Ringer's Bill Simmons, Horford's absence was particularly glaring: 

Bill Simmons @BillSimmons

This is the worst the Celtics have looked all season. Horford cannot be replaced - he’s that important.

But even without the big man, Irving filled his highlight quota. 

Although he didn't have his favorite pick-and-pop partner at his disposal and shot an inefficient 7-of-21 from the floor, Irving found ways to carry the Celtics offense for spurts as he carved his way through the Lakers defense with his signature handles: 

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Kyrie cooked the whole team 🔥🔥🔥 https://t.co/E7dmHuz7Al

CBSSports.com's Matt Moore noted Irving has been putting on an isolation clinic since the season started: 

Marcus Morris (18 points) and Terry Rozier (14 points) also managed to crack double figures, but the Celtics offense was hardly sharp. 

The same couldn't be said of the defense, which continued to serve as Boston's calling card, as the team's official stats account pointed out: 

Celtics Stats @celtics_stats

Boston has now held its opponent to less than 100 points in nine of the last 10 games. The Celtics are limiting the opposition to 92.5 points during that stretch.

The Lakers were limited to 5-of-24 shooting from three in the loss, and their steadiest sources of offense came below the free-throw line as Julius Randle (16 points, 12 rebounds), Brandon Ingram (18 points) and Jordan Clarkson (18 points) spearheaded the Purple and Gold charge. 

Noticeably absent from the double-figure club was Lonzo Ball, who once again struggled with his jumper as he finished with nine points on 4-of-15 shooting, including 1-of-5 from three. 

He also received a rude awakening at the rim when he tried to finish over Marcus Smart: 

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

🗣 STAY IN YO LANE https://t.co/iA2li2dM1B

Ball has now gone four straight games without topping 10 points and is shooting 10-of-45 (22.2 percent) from the field this month. 

The 2017 No. 2 overall pick will attempt to remedy those woes Thursday on the road against John Wall and the Washington Wizards—who will undoubtedly be looking to exact revenge after the Lakers bested them 102-99 in overtime Oct. 25 at Staples Center. 

The Celtics, meanwhile, will eye their 11th consecutive win Friday when the Charlotte Hornets come to town. 

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