There’s no telling whether the Boston Celtics truly have turned a corner, but it’s hard to argue with results.
The Celtics began their four-game West Coast road trip with a blowout win over the Golden State Warriors and a thrilling win over the Sacramento Kings. And they continued their hot play Saturday night with a 120-107 win over the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center.
Kyrie Irving was flat-out disgusting, finishing with a team-high 30 points on 12-of-18 shooting. The star point guard also registered five assists and seven rebounds. Boston also got strong contributions from Marcus Smart and Marcus Morris, who each finished with 16 points. Al Horford chipped in with 10 points and eight rebounds, while Gordon Hayward continued his resurgence with 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting.
LeBron James finished with 30 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds for a ho-hum triple double. The Lakers were playing without Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram, both of whom are done for the season. Kyle Kuzma also sat out with an injured ankle.
With the win, the Celtics improved to 41-26, while the Lakers dropped to 30-26 with the loss.
Here’s how it all went down.
PG: Kyrie Irving
SG: Marcus Smart
SF: Jayson Tatum
PF: Marcus Morris Sr.
C: Al Horford
Horford had the hot hand early on for Boston, scoring the Celtics’ first six points. The Lakers kept the score close, but the Celtics really controlled play for much of the quarter, finishing the frame with a 25-24 lead.
Irving was his usual silky-smooth self, knocking down a pair of 3-pointers.
Boston also got great play from Morris, who scored five points in the quarter, and Jaylen Brown, who continued the aggressive play that’s enabled him to emerge from his early-season funk.
CELTICS START TO PULL AWAY
The Celtics widened their advantage in the second quarter — as they should have.
The Lakers took the lead at multiple points in the quarter, but the Celtics closed the frame with a 19-8 run over the final 5:42 to enter the locker room with a 57-47 lead.
Smart had a strong second quarter, scoring five points to finish the half with seven.
Irving continued to dazzle, finishing the half with 11 points and four assists, including this dime to Morris:
Boston’s bench had a big night, as well.
Brown and Hayward each finished the half with five points, while Aron Baynes and Terry Rozier finished with four points apiece.
James completed the first 24 minutes with nine points, five assists and two rebounds while playing in just 13 minutes.
THE KYRIE SHOW
Irving was doing Irving things in the third quarter.
It was Smart, though, who really came out firing to start the second half. The suddenly red-hot guard knocked down three 3-pointers in the first 2:13 of the frame to put the Celtics up 17.
The Lakers responded with a 12-0 run to make it 68-63 midway through the frame.
Then Irving took over with plays like this:
Irving scored 11 points in third, giving him 22 points through three quarters. Hayward also continued his hot play, scoring five points in the frame.
James did his best to keep the Lakers in the game, scoring nine points to finish with 18 through three.
The Celtics took a 93-76 lead into the fourth.
James exited the game with just under five minutes to play, and the Celtics cruised to victory from there.
Honestly, this is all you need to see:
It was that kind of night for Irving and the Celtics.
PLAY OF THE GAME
Yeah, let’s watch that again.
The Celtics will wrap up their West Coast road trip Monday night against the Los Angeles Clippers. Tip from Staples Center is set for 10:30 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports Images