LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Boston Celtics were happy to be involved on Christmas Day, and it propelled them to a historic breakout win against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Led by Kristaps Porzingis, who scored 28 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, all five starters scored at least 18 points for the Celtics in a 126-115 win over the Lakers on Monday.
Jayson Tatum added 25 points, Jaylen Brown 19 points, and Derrick White 18 points and 11 assists for Boston, which has won three straight games and 12 of its last 14 games.
“Honestly, we all know that if we keep the pace going, one of us is going to get a shot. I feel like when we have that energy, and you know if I run to my place and I run to my lanes I'm going to get the ball, it makes everyone do it and do it hard,” Jrue Holiday said. Akbar,” who scored 18 points and seven assists.
Anthony Davis scored a game-high 40 points with 13 rebounds, and LeBron James had 16 points, nine rebounds and eight assists, but the Lakers have lost six of eight since winning their season-opening championship.
“I don't think we're healthy right now. I don't think we're where we want to be to compete against the top teams so we keep getting better, keep working on the habits,” James said. “For us, we're still trying to figure out where we stand as much as we want to.” “Continuing to attack every game, but we will get better.”
This was the third game on Christmas Day between the two most popular teams in the league. The Minneapolis Lakers won in Boston in 1951, and Los Angeles won in 2008.
The Celtics ran right over the Lakers' starting lineup, scored the first 12 points capped by a 3-pointer from Brown, and would lead by as much as 18 in the first quarter.
After trailing for the only time in the game early in the third quarter when Jared Vanderbilt knocked down a dunk, Boston reeled off seven straight points to regain the lead.
Boston managed to keep Los Angeles at arm's length in the fourth quarter, despite Davis reaching the 40-point mark for the 40th time in a regular season game.
Every Boston starter had at least four points in the first quarter and did so again in the fourth. As Porzingis pointed out, with some better shots from 3, the victory could have been more certain. The Celtics finished 13 of 42 (31%) from 3.
“Very happy with the game we played as a team,” Porzingis said. “And honestly, we played really good basketball. We didn't make or shoot what we normally shoot from the outside. But other than that, I thought we played really well.”
For the Lakers, there were too many misses elsewhere to take advantage of a rare instance where they were the better team from distance, shooting 40.6% from 3 (13 of 32).
Coach Darvin Ham made a list of errors nearly as long as Santa's, details that he said Los Angeles cannot afford to get bored of if it wants to compete for a championship at the end of the season. They ranged from transition defense to rebounding to turnovers.
Davis pointed to one of his missed free throws in the crucial third quarter as small mistakes that made a big difference.
“You always think about the shots you could have made, the defensive plays you could have made, the rebounds you could have made, the free throws you could have made, things like that that could have changed the game,” Davis said. “. “I missed a free throw in the third quarter and they ended up getting a quick 3, and all I was thinking was, if I make the free throw, it's not going to happen.”
Both teams got scared when Brown and James were rocked in a collision with 4:02 left in the second period. Brown was cutting the ball off when he made a bad move and pulled up, leading to James kneeing him in the back. Every player was taken care of on the field, as Brown returned to the locker room before returning to start the third quarter.
Celtics: Host Detroit on Thursday.
Lakers: Host Charlotte on Thursday.
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