The stars were out Sunday night in Los Angeles, but not on the court at Staples Center.
Big names are few and far between on the current rosters of the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers, but the two longtime rivals still put together a highly entertaining basketball display in their latest meeting.
Avery Bradley drilled a game-tying 3-pointer at the buzzer to force overtime, but the Lakers held the Celtics scoreless for the first three minutes of the extra session and pulled away for a 118-111 win.
THE NEW GUYS
Two of Boston’s three new acquisitions made their Celtics debuts (Luigi Datome was the lone DNP), and Isaiah Thomas’ was particularly impressive. The diminutive point guard provided an immediate spark for the C’s when he first entered midway through the first quarter and played up to his billing as an aggressive point man who can put the ball in the basket. Thomas poured in 21 points in 25 minutes while also adding five assists, three rebounds and three steals.
Forward Jonas Jerebko played just four minutes in his first game in green, grabbing one rebound.
Thomas’ productive night came to an abrupt — and controversial — end when he was he was ejected with 5:03 to play. Referee Tony Brothers whistled the guard for an offensive foul, and when Thomas argued the call, slamming the ball to the floor in frustration, Brothers hit him with two technical fouls and sent him to the locker room.
The ejection was a game-changer, robbing Boston of its hottest scorer for the home stretch. The Lakers scored nine of the next 13 points and led by nine with 1:28 remaining, but Bradley scored eight points in the final 27 seconds of regulation to help pull the Celtics even.
Jeremy Lin has been a disappointment in L.A. this season, but he was everywhere for the Lakers on Sunday. The Harvard product scored 12 points in the second quarter, helping the Lakers take their first lead of the night, and was particularly unkind to Celtics point guard Marcus Smart. Lin blew by the rookie for a layup on one possession, then stripped Smart and drew a foul (and a glare) on the next.
Lin played just one minute in the third quarter but came up big again in crunch time, scoring nine points in the fourth and another four in overtime to finish with a game- and season-high 25. He was one of several productive reserves for the Lakers, who also got 22 points from Wesley Johnson and 19 from Young.
Up next: The Celtics take on Thomas’ old mates, the Phoenix Suns, on Monday before returning to Boston for a three-game homestand.
Thumbnail photo via Twitter/@NBA