The Boston Celtics defeated the short-handed Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night, claiming their fifth consecutive win with a 121-113 verdict.
Boston now has won seven of their last eight games, and swept their three-game trip against the heavy hitters in the Western Conference heavy hitters.
Jaylen Brown led the way against the Lakers, who were without superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis with newcomer Andre Drummond also inactive.
Brown scored a game-high 40 points on an incredibly efficient 17-for-20 from the floor and 3-for-4 from beyond the arc. He added nine rebounds and three assists in the effort, too.
All five Celtics starters finished with double figures despite not playing much of the fourth quarter. Jayson Tatum and Tristan Thompson (6-for-8 from the field) scored 14 points while Marcus Smart (13 points, six rebounds, four assists) and Kemba Walker (12 points, seven assists) were impactful.
The Celtics improve to 30-26 with Thursday’s win while the Lakers fell to 34-22.
Here’s how it went down:
PG: Kemba Walker
SG: Marcus Smart
SF: Jaylen Brown
PF: Jayson Tatum
C: Tristan Thompson
JUMPING OUT TO LEAD
The Celtics got off to an strong start scoring 11 of the game’s first 13 points and taking a 21-7 lead just six minutes into the game.
Boston, who started 11-for-14 from the field, did so behind a scoring effort led by Brown. Brown scored 10 early points while Tatum and Thompson each had four during Boston’s start.
The Celtics also benefitted from making each of their first three shots from long range. Boston assisted on eight of their 12 first-quarters baskets.
The Celtics shot 52 percent (12-for-23) in the quarter while LA shot 40 percent (10-for-25).
Brown led the C’s in scoring with 10 points while Thompson, Walker and Smart each scored five points in the opening quarter.
The Lakers, though, cut Boston’s lead to 31-23 after the first quarter.
PLAYING GREAT D
Boston started off the second quarter much slower on the offensive end and some early turnovers helped the Lakers close their deficit to just 38-34 five minutes into the period.
Fortunately for the Celtics, even though their offense turned the ball over 11 times in the first half, their defensive picked up the slack. They limited LA into just 39 percent from the field and 18 percent from long range in the half.
It helped Boston take a 61-48 lead at the break.
Boston went to the intermission after shooting 56 percent from the floor (25-for-45) and 47 percent (7-for-15) from beyond the arc. The C’s recorded 16 assists on their 25 first-half baskets with an edge on the glass, too.
Brown scored 21 first-half points while Tatum and Thompson each added 10.
JAYLEN CAN’T MISS
Thompson came out and scored four early points for the Celtics before Brown continued his takeover.
Brown made 10 consecutive shots stretching from the second to the third quarter as he was, at one point, 12-for-13 from the floor.
The contributions from those two, along with a 3-pointer from Tatum, a 3-pointer from Smart and a 3-pointer from Walker helped the C’s maintain a 80-69 lead eight minutes into the quarter.
Brown scored the final six points in the quarter as Boston took a 91-79 lead into the fourth. He had 31 points on 13-for-15 shooting heading into the final frame.
All five Celtics starters went into the fourth with double figures, too.
WHO BUT JAYLEN?
Brown led a mini 8-0 scoring stretch over the opening 1:18 to help the Celtics extended their lead to 99-79.
Peyton Pritchard scored eight points in the opening three minutes of the fourth quarter to further extend Boston’s lead to 106-81.
The Celtics took out their starters and, much to the dismay of head coach Brad Stevens, the bench players couldn’t keep it much of a separation.
The Lakers answered with a 19-2 run during a four-minute stretch and cut the deficit to just 115-108 with 1:50 left.
Brown, however, checked in off the bench after sitting a majority of the fourth and finished on a pair of baskets in the paint to push the C’s lead back to seven (twice).
The Celtics will return to TD Garden to host the Golden State Warriors on Saturday with tip scheduled for 8:30 p.m. ET.